Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Split Decision

Lifting weight overhead is hard. An while you may actually even enjoy doing it, being overhead means your body has to work overtime to solve the problem of keeping the weight, your torso, and your hips neatly in line. The "must keep torso stacked over pelvis problem" becomes grossly transparent under the slightest metabolic loading.

Note Aneel in the photo below. He's getting a little tired in the middle of the workout and is solving that pesky problem and expending much less energy by retaining an upright trunk, relatively straight up and down, under the bar. The problem with this mechanical solution is that he is forced to dramatically shift his weight onto his toes with his knees then traveling well out over his feet. Not a sweet solution bro. We say his femur is now chasing his pelvis and that he has greatly muted his hip function. He's crushing his knee caps in monster compression, but worse, he's also approximating the dreaded "dog poo" position. He has solved one problem but caused another. What to do?

It the second photo, Aneel has solved his mechanical problems by implementing a split/lunge catch technique. The split position allows for a very vertical torso while maintaining functionally very strong leg positioning. For Aneel, problem solved. And it looks way better. Better yet, ask him which way was easier and which felt better.
And that's a pretty sweet split position by the way.

Just because you aren't as likely to set a world record using the split snatch as you are the full squat snatch doesn't mean it isn't useful as you work on your shoulder flexibility and hip strength. Landing in a lunge works beautifully and solves more problems than it causes.

Nice Aneel!

Coach Kstar


Adrian said...

Aneel also wins "the most flexible ankles" award. Damn.


FilthyBrit said...

Wow! I didn't even know this was an option. This got me to thinking about whether you can split clean. So I looked it up in Starting Strength, and what do you know, the split clean was common among competitive lifters in the 80s that were wanting for flexibility. I need to learn this (at least until my ass figures out how to get back in a squat clean)!

Nick said...

I think that you can split snatch too. Although this sounds infinitely dirtier than any other movement we do.

Josh Cunningham said...

I know that because of my limited overhead and hip flexibility that the split jerk/snatch is many times my only option when the weight gets heavy. I have found that many times I automatically go for the split when I am not thinking about it. Come by a Saturday afternoon open gym and you can work on many of these movements.

Aneel, nice job as always.