1

votes

Overhead Squat Vs. Snatch.....Which should I learn first?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Hey everyone,I've been doing crossfit for about 6 months now and have been teaching myself many functional movements like pistols, handstand walks, HSPU's and etc... But i've been lacking in one department the Overhead Squat Vs. the Sntach. My ultimate question is which one should I learn first, the Overhead Squat or the Snatch? I feel like it's the overhead squat but i've been still having trouble on them consistently and seem to be making a little more progress on the Snatch, but I feel like I can't snatch without that crucial overhead position.....Any Input would be great...

A1a7413b99e03bc77f02d95c4170ea43

(2393)

on July 18, 2012
at 07:18 PM

Snatches and Cleans by definition involve a squat. I think you're saying to only learn the power clean and power snatch?

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:26 PM

THank you, neal. I think it looks everyone is misunderstanding what I wrote. I am not recommending to do squats (overhead or not) with a rounded back, I am saying that they are less "functional" than a snatch, a clean, an overhead press, etc. When HGs crouch down, they do so with a rounded spine- precisely because that is natural and functional. Just watch them crouched around a fire eating grilled pork.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 18, 2012
at 04:27 PM

alligator, I see your point of view, but in an athletic preference it can help promote strength, speed, balance and tighten the core up.

B12561b04f6ea052f198915c2017fd8b

(138)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:13 PM

I would also add that you should try the 1 arm Dumbbell snatch or kettlebell snatch too, as they are the easiest variants of the snatch to learn. These movements will help you develop your power and introduce you to the technique.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 18, 2012
at 01:15 AM

You show me someone who lifts any kind of weight with a rounded back and I'll show you someone who will be visiting a chiropractor soon. Telling people to lift with a rounded back is dangerous, maybe even liable, advice on your part. Squats might not be your thing but that is no excuse for giving advice that leads to injury.

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7 Answers

3
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 17, 2012
at 11:01 PM

I can see the reasoning why you might want to learn the OHS first because a Snatch is "just" a pull into an OHS and then standing up with it. Just like the clean is "just" a pull into a front squat and then standing up with it.

However, I tend to say that you should focus on the "power" variants of those two lifts first and then focus on the full versions. What I mean is that you can get a lot of great conditioning by first starting with the Power Snatch and Power Clean. Because you don't catch them in a full squat, you have to have a more explosive hip pop and generate power that way. The full squat versions require more than just strength, they require tons of coordination to be able to go from the hip pop, back down into a full squat, then be tense enough in that awkward position to catch a heavy weight, and finally be able to turn that back around and stand up with it.

With olympic lifts, most of the work is skill and coordination work rather than strength work. If you want to be an olympic lifter, then yes you need all of that. If you want to be a reasonably competent athlete, then spend more time on the power variants, and work in a little of the full lifts. For example (because of shoulder mobility problems), I can easily power snatch 175lbs, but I have trouble hitting 115lbs every time with a full squat snatch. That's because I just can't coordinate the catch into the OHS. I can OHS 165lbs, so IF I could coordinate that catch, then I could "just" stand up with it. So instead of getting a poor workout at 115 because it's too light, I'll spend most of my time up at the high end of my power snatch and then sometimes drop down for skill work. That's fine with me because I can do all the workouts that are thrown at me and I don't plan on being an olympic lifter.

Welbourne has a good article about this, I can't find it, but this is also a good one talking about strength versus power movements: http://talktomejohnnie.com/lifting-weights/ft-vs-st. Personally I train power over strength with the olympic lifts, and use my squats for strength.

To answer your question: work on both, they are complementary, OHS for strength, snatch for Power. If you have one thing you care about more (Strength vs Power) right now, then put the main focus there.

B12561b04f6ea052f198915c2017fd8b

(138)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:13 PM

I would also add that you should try the 1 arm Dumbbell snatch or kettlebell snatch too, as they are the easiest variants of the snatch to learn. These movements will help you develop your power and introduce you to the technique.

1
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:58 AM

How is your powerclean? that is a fundamental movement that begins all Olympic lifts.

How is your squat? That is the fundamental movement for any squat variant. OHS can be useless for a beginner because shoulder mobility and strength can limit the weight so much that it is useless for building strength.

I would focus on fundamentals and learning proper technique. Once you have gained adequate strength levels there, then move on to technical Oly lifts or front squats. Think squatting with a barbell your body weight 5 times and powercleaning 2/3 your body weight 3 times as adequate strength to move on to snatch.

Miked mentions some great stuff as well.

0
A1a7413b99e03bc77f02d95c4170ea43

on July 18, 2012
at 05:27 PM

Good responses here for the most part. miked had some very good points on this matter. Working on your power snatch will help you with overall power developement as well as the actual first and second pulls for the snatch. But without the OHS position, you will never be able to execute an actual snatch, because you NEED the ability to catch the bar in that squat position.

Snatching IS most certainly the most difficult movement in CrossFit. And until you have the mobility to actually achieve a solid catch position at the bottom of the OHS, don't stress yourself out over learning the movement. Keep working the snatch pull, the power snatch, and work in some snatch balances, dropping as low as you can. Become best friends with the pvc. Stretch and mobilize everyday before you lift.

I'm a CF coach, and I'm also a USAW certified coach that has been working with athletes for a couple of years, and I can tell you that getting the bottom position can take a LONG time, even if it's something that you work on often.

So I'll agree with miked's summation; work on both. Eventually you'll be able to put them tother and start to put some serious weight overhead.

0
91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 18, 2012
at 04:25 PM

I say go snatch as you could then use your newly learnt skill to get the bar over head to squat ;) also check youtube for videos really try to pick up the correct technique, as poor technique could lead to injuries not trying to patronize you, but most important watch your back. use a pvc pipe that is what my coach used to coach me with its great for feeling the movement. Crossfit all the way, it has really changed my life!

0
F3fc2e0a9577e7e481a387d917904d1e

(1070)

on July 18, 2012
at 02:55 PM

You can work on these things simultaneously using all sorts of drills. Work on the overhead squat and power snatch, while mixing in things like snatch balances and pressing snatch balances to work on stability and flexibility in the bottom position.

0
Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on July 18, 2012
at 01:33 AM

A Crossfit coach once told me that the snatch should be the last movement you learn, as it's the most technical and hardest to get right.

It depends a little where your mobility is, too. I'm personally focusing on OHS because my shoulder mobility and hip mobility need work. Pushing the OHS means I spend more time focusing on mobility exercises for these, which I totally should be doing anyway.

-3
3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

on July 17, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Snatch because on grounds of functionality, it is more so than overhead squat. Personally think all squats are overrated as a form of "functional exercise." No one bends down like that, ever! Hunger Gateherers bend down a lot to eat, build a fire, etc and they always go ass to grass with a rounded back.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 18, 2012
at 04:27 PM

alligator, I see your point of view, but in an athletic preference it can help promote strength, speed, balance and tighten the core up.

A1a7413b99e03bc77f02d95c4170ea43

(2393)

on July 18, 2012
at 07:18 PM

Snatches and Cleans by definition involve a squat. I think you're saying to only learn the power clean and power snatch?

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 18, 2012
at 01:15 AM

You show me someone who lifts any kind of weight with a rounded back and I'll show you someone who will be visiting a chiropractor soon. Telling people to lift with a rounded back is dangerous, maybe even liable, advice on your part. Squats might not be your thing but that is no excuse for giving advice that leads to injury.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:26 PM

THank you, neal. I think it looks everyone is misunderstanding what I wrote. I am not recommending to do squats (overhead or not) with a rounded back, I am saying that they are less "functional" than a snatch, a clean, an overhead press, etc. When HGs crouch down, they do so with a rounded spine- precisely because that is natural and functional. Just watch them crouched around a fire eating grilled pork.

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