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Thread: Split snatches for sports training

  1. #1
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    Default Split snatches for sports training

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    Thanks for the split snatch video. It seems like a great movement for my sport, judo.

    I've seen some people recommend alternating which foot goes forward when training split-style lifts, particularly if training for a sport other than Olympic weightlifting. Presumably, this is meant to avoid strength imbalances. In your experience, is that a real concern here? I'd have thought regular squats would correct minor imbalances as they arise, especially if you squat more often than you snatch.

  2. #2
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    You're absolutely correct. An asymmetrical movement like the split snatch is no threat to strength balance unless you're not squatting or deadlifting heavy.

  3. #3
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    This has made me wonder about including split OLY movements too, now that I've been getting back into karate. Power cleans have been a great help, but I now wonder if the split movements would maybe assist kicking speed more, and help stretch hip flexors. More to the point, the OLY split stance has some similarities to a long front stance in my style of karate - which is the starting position for a lot of explosive kicking and other forward movements. Stronger stances usually means better performance.

    The big difference, though, is that karate teaches you to keep both feet flat on the floor in a forward stance. Unlike in OLY, the split isn't the movement's finishing position, but a starting position. You drive off the back foot to power your kicks etc., and keep your heel down to deliver more thrust. In OLY, the split was there to get you under the bar, and the back heel presumably comes up to allow greater depth. Very different objective.

    If I'm training to get sport-specific benefits though, what would be the down-side of using a karate-style front stance instead of the conventional OLY split stance (with the back heel up) as the landing position? Other than the obvious thing that I'd not be able to get into as low a split, so the weight would be lower? Seems to me that developing greater strength in my sport-specific stance would only be a good thing.

    What do you think? Are there obvious things I'm missing here?

  4. #4
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    The down-side is that it won't work. Many people do not understand the nature of sport-specificity. The effect you want from split-style snatching, etc., is the ability and the practice of moving your feet very fast over a long distance. You do NOT need or want to attempt to reproduce the exact movement pattern in strength training that you use in sport practice. Training works metabolic pathways and neuromuscular adaptations in a general way, which then get applied during sports practice to the specific movement pattern used in the sport itself. If you try to split under the bar like you stand in MA, all you're doing is fucking them both up.

  5. #5
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    Shit; an unfortunate truth, that. Thanks though.

  6. #6
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    I've heard the exact same (useful) argument about why baseball players shouldn't practice swinging very heavy bats to improve bat speed.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    the practice of moving your feet very fast over a long distance.
    Which you should really be doing in practice anyway. I suppose the split snatch requires that you move your feet fast or fail the lift, unlike throwing a punch, but on the other hand, sparring requires that you move your feet fast or get hit in the face. Really, if moving your feet fast is all you're getting out of the lift, I can think of much more sport specific ways to train that.

    Incidentally, maybe it's just me, but Tom seems to imply he does kumite from zenkutsu-dachi, which would be a very odd way to go about things indeed.

  8. #8
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    I sensed that implication as well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCG View Post
    ...Incidentally, maybe it's just me, but Tom seems to imply he does kumite from zenkutsu-dachi, which would be a very odd way to go about things indeed.
    Yep, it would be very odd; no, I'm not doing kumite from zenkutsu. But we frequently train kihon (basics) from zenkutsu-dachi, and I was thinking about ways to increase explosiveness in kicks from there. The point of kihon practice is, of course, that you drill fairly exaggerated body mechanics (like punching/kicking from zenkutsu) to ingrain things like weight shifts and hip movement ... which carries over in a much more spare form in kumite.

    What I'd thought I'd get out of doing split snatches wasn't just foot speed, but increased strength and stability in a long stance. Which would translate into better power when I exploded out of that stance into one or another technique. But I'm quite content to have been wrong, and appreciate Rip's correction.

  10. #10
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    Sorry Rip. Kumite is sparring or "free fighting". "Zenkutsu-dachi" is a long flat footed stance, with the front foot facing forwards and the back foot facing about 30 degrees out. This picture is close enough, though it looks a little "off" to me for various reasons.
    Stance%20-%20Zenkutsu%202.JPG

    Everyone who I've seen spar flat footed has gotten eaten alive by someone who knows well enough not to.

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