I was watching people snatch today and I noticed that the limiting factor on a good percentage of the people was not strength and not technique, but their mobility. Inability to get into a proper setup position and the inability to lock the bar out overhead while the hips are at any real depth, the two most common problem areas, are both symptoms of lack of mobility. Other problem areas are the knees caving in and the heels rising due to ankle/calf tightness in the bottom position and an overly narrow grip because of wrist soreness.
Very similar problems can be seen in other lifts–wrist and shoulder tightness forcing a low rack position and thus a much lighter weight on cleans and front squats. Hamstring tightness forcing an improper deadlift setup position. Shoulder tightness putting undue strain on the lower back in the jerk or often causing the lift to be missed forward, for example.
Missed lifts and/or light weight due to all these problem areas can be extremely frustrating, as evidenced by frustrations during snatching today. The athlete knows that the weight is within his or her ability, but something is keeping it out of their grasp. That something is flexibility or mobility. This is doubly frustrating when it is the same problem areas as a year or six months ago. It can give the feeling of standing still and not progressing.
Mobility needs to be worked. An athlete will very rarely have a problem doing strength work–witness all the athletes who come to Open Gym to make up that week’s back squats. Athletes do sprints or other wind work on their own after class in order to work on their cardio-pulmonary endurance. But, while athletes do work their mobility, it’s fewer and a lot less. I hear all the excuses: it’s hard to find the time, always forget about it, never seems to improve, yada yada yada (as my sister would say).
Mobility and flexibility don’t give you something measurable, something noticeable. Touching your toes in a bar doesn’t get you digits. But, increased mobility will vastly improve your lifts, which will allow you to lift heavier, which will make you stronger, which will allow you to lift heavier and faster, which will make you leaner and more muscled, which…well you get the picture.
Work on your mobility. Stretch your problem areas. No matter what your schedule, commit to 5-10 minutes a day. Every day. You will be astounded at the results a couple months, even one month, of dedicated stretching and mobility work will do you.
What are your problem areas? Please post to Comments.
Your moment of power.
Regional Update: On Friday, the team is in Heat 2, at 11:10am. The Opening Ceremony is at 10am. The Thruster Ladder (team women, women, team men, men-in that order) will start at 3:20. Saturday’s heats will be determined by Friday’s results. Please keep in mind that these times are unconfirmed. We should have full confirmation on Thursday.
All athletes need to register by 8:30, with a briefing at 9:00.