There are basically two ways to learn the Olympic lifts, bottom-up learning, and top-down learning, the terms are fairly straightforward.
In bottom-up learning, the athlete progressively learns the movements from the ground. For example, they will learn in the following order; start position, pull to the knee, high hip, etc., all the way up to the over head positions.
In top-down learning, the athlete learns starting with the overhead position. For example, in this model the athlete will learn first how to overhead squat, high hang snatch second, then low hang, and eventually from the ground.
In both models, you can see a clear learning progression to get the athletes in the position you want.
At Lift Lab Co we teach all athletes how to lift from the ground up. We feel that is the best way for athletes to learn based on our coaching model. However, that does not mean that on occasion we will not use a top-down drill to help an athlete learn the Olympic lifts.
Whether you are learning the snatch from the ground up, or the top down you are probably going to want to learn a few drills to help you learn the proper position or to feel a position that is foreign to you.
Here are a few drills to get you comfortable with the snatch.
The snatch pop-pop is one of the first drills we use to teach the movement. For this drill you wont need the bar. We are teaching the athlete to push through the top of the lift and make contact with the hips. The hands smacking the hips is the first “pop”. As soon as the athlete makes hand/hip contact they are going to jump down to the receiving position by aggressively sliding their feet out. The feet sliding out and hitting the platform make the second “pop” Check out this quick video to get a visual. Also, this is an extremely effective warm-up drill, we use it before every session.
This is single-handedly the most boring ass drill you will ever do. I joke that people pay us a lot of money to learn how to get the bar to the knee. We know that passing the knee is crucial for success in the lift. This drill is designed to focus on that first 1/3 of the lift, IE pulling it to your knee. The drill itself is extremely simple. Think snatch set up, lift to the knee and pause, then repeat. It is simple, yet brilliant. Check out the quick demo below.
I love the snatch balance. I also love that it is hated by so many people. I think weightlifting purists hate the snatch balance because CrossFiters started doing it under heavy load and counting it as a PR of something.
However, if you are using the snatch balance to learn and feel the overhead position in a dynamic fashion there is no better drill.
When doing the drill, you are going to start with the bar on your back and hands and snatch grip.
From there you are going to just drop under the bar and simultaneously press up on the bar. If done properly you should look like you just hit a successful snatch. One caveat is that you may want to do a “heaving” version of the lift in which you pop the bar up like a jerk before you drop under.
We prefer the athletes do the snatch balance without the “heaving” part. Check out the demo video and shoot me any questions you have.
If these videos helped please check out our youtube channel for more 30-second videos to help you get better right away! Also if you have any questions about any of the drills or lifts, please email me Dan@liftlabco.com