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Running the Bars by Chad Vaughn - CrossFit Journal

Running the Bars

By Chad Vaughn

In CrossFit Games, Olympic Lifts

May 18, 2012

PDF Article

Aja Barto snatched every bar in Workout 5 of the South Central Regional. Olympian Chad Vaugh explains how he did it.

There are quite a few things Aja Barto did really, really right that significantly helped him not only complete the snatch ladder but also make 295 lb. look light!

The base of his success, of course, is technique. Barto was maintaining and creating all the right angles and positions as the bar traveled up the legs, where he then fully extended with hips open and arms straight before those arms pulled and pushed the body under the bar. All these positions help keep the bar closer to the body and the bar path in line, and they set the body up to exert the most possible power.

Barto was also consistent in his movement: he squat-snatched every rep from 155 to 295 lb. Most of these weights would have been easy power snatches for him, so some might wonder why he wasted his legs and didn’t choose the squat squat snatch only when necessary. Really, it’s all about preparation and insurance. The whole body is engaged differently in the two receiving positions. If you are trying to put the most weight overhead, you want the muscle memory to be wired into what you’ll be doing with the heaviest weights.

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7 Comments on “Running the Bars ”


wrote …

Chad...How well do you think Aja would do in a Weightlifting competition? His stats from the CF Games website are: 6'5", 102 kg BW with a 295/lb (134 kg) Snatch and 325lb (147kg) Clean and Jerk. This total of 281, while an unofficial total, is only 4 kg lower than the 2011 American Open qualifying total. Do you think that if he or some of the other notable Games competitors (ie, Froning) used the Games off-season to focus on weightlifting that they might be competitive?

I would like to commend you on your committment to providing quality coaching to the Crossfit community and furthering the sport of Weightlifting. I wish that you were at the Pan-ams this week and that you get to feeling better.



wrote …

Chad - am I understanding your article correctly that the full overhead lockout should be at about parallel in your squat, then sink to a full squat, rather than lockout at the bottom of the squat?


wrote …

This is a great article. Both illustrates great lifting form and teaches at the same time. I'm itching to get in my garage and try out your tips!


wrote …


It's hard to say without actually going through the experiment but I think they could do pretty well? Aja in particular has more potential than many competing on the National level at the moment with the leverage and flexibility that he has. Much thanks for the kind words!



wrote …


There is a pretty big range of give or take parallel in this regard. You will see some elites catch it right at rock bottom and do it well but I would call this "sneaking" under the weight and again there is just much less room for error. As a lifter getting under heavy weight, it feels as if you are right down to your lowest squat as it's happening so fast and many lifters may not even realize the higher meeting is actually happening. In either case, you will be fully locked out at the bottom but start the lockout and upward pressure at a higher position. Hope this helps?



wrote …


What would you recommend as teaching tools for trainers who are not as skilled in Oly lifts to pass on to his (my) clients. Oly lifts are where I struggle the most and I don't want to pass on any bad habits or mindsets to my clients, just because it's not something I'm great at. Any advice?



wrote …

Chad, thanks so much for the clarification. I know, personally, I lockout close to parallel and then sink to the bottom from there. I had been under the impression that I was "cheating" the movement by doing so, but now it seems that this is a viable approach to the snatch. I appreciate the help and love all your articles, keep'em comin'!

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