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Thread: Twisting during heavy snatches

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    Twisting during heavy snatches

    On heavy, 95%+, snatches I have started to twist when I receive the bar. The bar rotates with the left going forward and the right going back. It’s hard for me to explain, but it’s like when I receive the bar I twist/spin with it until I stand up. I’ve checked foot placement and there’s nothing different happening. I have noticed that my left knee (weaker leg) will start to travel forward when the twisting gets bad.

    I’m assuming it’s due to some weakness in my left side (either leg, obliques, or upper body), and I think that I should practice snatch balances with heavy weights to correct whatever it is that has started going wrong (this has been happening for several months now). Does anyone know what can cause this? Would doing heavy snatch balances correct it?

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    You're not alone. Alexander Kurlovich was known for this (see '96 OG) as well. There has to be some slight imbalance somewhere that manifests itself with top loads. The problem is finding it. I don't have much experience dealing with twisting. I did have a training partner with an elbow problem. With heavier weights, he would turn his arm in to take the stress off his inside/medial side elbow. That pulled the bar back a little, very slightly, and started the spin. Other than that, I have nothing, be interested in seeing what others have on this topic.

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    You wouldn't be able to fix it with heavy snatch balances. It sounds like lack of stability on one hip, not sure which unless someone is able to address it. It could also be due to dropping the arch on one foot.

    A combination of corrective exercises to address the specific problem (be it hip or ribcage rotation or foot strengthening) and then applying it under load with say tempo squats and tempo overhead squats I have found works best. Best to see a qualified PT who is used to addressing weightlifters.

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    I'm currently working with 3 lifters with this problem. 1 is a strength symmetry issue, 1 is a severe scoliosis and another a hip flexion and QL issue on one side. I have consulted several physiotherapists on the matter, including those involved and who understand weightlifting; it can be quite a 3D problem not easily resolved.

    I would suggest that you start filming a lot of reps in the frontal plane and consider including a lot of snatch reps where you halt and various stages of the pull. Halt @ knee snatch, Halt @ hip snatch, also carefully examine your squatting as b_degennaro alludes to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkpeter View Post
    I'm currently working with 3 lifters with this problem. 1 is a strength symmetry issue, 1 is a severe scoliosis and another a hip flexion and QL issue on one side. I have consulted several physiotherapists on the matter, including those involved and who understand weightlifting; it can be quite a 3D problem not easily resolved.

    I would suggest that you start filming a lot of reps in the frontal plane and consider including a lot of snatch reps where you halt and various stages of the pull. Halt @ knee snatch, Halt @ hip snatch, also carefully examine your squatting as b_degennaro alludes to.
    Thanks to everyone so far! It's great to have a resource like this where I can hear from numerous knowledgeable people.

    Hawkpeter and b_degennaro, what exactly should I be looking for in my videos (of snatch and squats)? Caving of my side/hip for example? Also, Hawkpeter, this might be a dumb question, but how can halting snatches help? (sorry for such a vague question also).

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    You are already aware that there is a symmetry problem, at this point in time you have described it as 'started to twist when I receive the bar'. You are going to have to do some detective work to figure out precisely when and why this is happening meaning you will need to film in the frontal/coronal plane.

    What I have seen is....
    * Leg strength asymmetry that can be corrected with single leg strength emphasis.
    * A previous strength pull symmetry issue that causes a receiving/squatting symmetry issue. Tight QL and hip flexion issue.
    * Leg length discrepancy which can be corrected with either shimming the heel (for tibia) or staggering the foot placement (for femur)
    * Scoliosis which creates a pull asymmetry leading to one side pulling high/earlier then landing first.
    * Scoliosis which has a symmetrical pull (functionally the bar is balanced) but when it turns over the body receives and squats it with an asymmetry.

    When you encounter a pull asymmetry (functionally the bar is unbalanced/tilted/up-down/for-aft) you might not know it and mistakenly think the receiving position is the culprit. The use of the snatch balance is a good one for determining whether it is the pull or the reception..... if you can snatch balance symmetrically then you know its the pull (film these and film your squatting)

    Do some snatch reps filming from the front and from the side. Note which side rises first, whether your set up is actually square or not, whether there is hip shift and bar shift laterally. Its quite likely that one foot is leaving the floor first, perhaps even one knee is falling inside as the bar passes the knee and up the thigh.

    The halting snatch reps are good for altering the pull at the precise point where the balance is becoming unbalanced. If you can snatch from blocks or hang or whilst halting well then you know its a problem with pull symmetry. I will say this however, you have likely 'taught' yourself to receive the bar twisted for enough reps that you have to re-learn how to turn receive it symmetrically. Getting enough snatch balance in to re-enforced good square overhead squatting ability will be a good staple whilst you tidy up the pulling.

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    BTW look at Shi Zhiyong as an example of some serious physical asymmetry but a square bar. Moradi is another one with one giant shoulder and trap but square pull and turnover..... it CAN be tidied up and/or functionally overcome.

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    Thank you for the information. I am excited to work on this and get it corrected.

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    Update: I did heavy (90%) heaving snatch balances and heavy power snatches from hang at knee (up to 85%) this morning. No twisting on snatch balances but I was twisting on power snatches at heavy weights. It felt like my left arm/shoulder/upper back was not pulling as strong/finishing as well as the right side. It just felt fatigued and weak and slow. Any ideas, if this is the culprit, to correct it?
    Last edited by jasebolden; 03-16-2018 at 01:13 PM.

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    You could try one arm swings with the weak side.

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