In Olympic Lifts

November 01, 2005

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In our August issue we explored the overhead squat, which we billed as "the ultimate core exercise, the heart of the snatch, and peerless in developing effective athletic movement." This month we introduce three skill-transfer exercises based on the overhead squat and commonly used by weightlifters to develop the snatch.

To learn to perform and coach these exercises correctly, we ventured to Mike's Gym, a CrossFit Affiliate, in Bonsall, California, to learn firsthand from Coach Mike Burgener and his 15-year-old daughter, Sage, how to perform these exercises correctly.

Mike is the current U.S. Pan American Games coach, and Sage is a nationally competing junior champion. The three exercises are known as the pressing snatch balance, the heaving snatch balance, and the snatch balance. Each essentially demands successively greater dynamics and athleticism to reach, hold, and control the catch position of the snatch--which is, in fact, the bottom of the overhead squat.

Each of the three snatch balance exercises begins with the bar in a racked position on the upper back, as for the back squat. Starting with bar on the back, rather than in the front rack position, gives the athlete greater control and easier access to a line of action that is truly upward and not derivative.

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