Tips and Tricks for 18.3

When looking at 18.3, I can’t help but block out every word that doesn’t rhyme with “shmatch” or “shmosher shed shquat”.

Maybe I’m biased, maybe I’m just obsessed with olympic lifting (definitely both), or maybe I just know better than to offer advice on double unders when I can’t do more than 15 without peeing myself a little.

Here are your tips of the week for 18.3:

Overhead Squats

Your shoulders are going to feel smoked, so a proper overhead position needs to be a priority if you’re going to be able to hold the bar overhead for any length of time.

The two main points I would like for you to focus on in your overhead position (especially when you’re feeling fatigued) are: bar placement and shoulder position.

#1. Bar Placement:

The barbell needs to be placed directly above your hips and heels regardless of where you are in your squat. As you descend into your squat, understand that however far your torso comes forward, that’s how far the bar needs to go back. And then, as you stand and begin to sit more upright, the bar needs to come forward again..returning to it’s original place. Aka counterbalance

A quick way to achieve this is: as you are moving through your overhead squat, envision a straight line off to the side of you. The end of the bar should stay DIRECTLY in line with that imaginary straight line through your whole entire movement.

Focusing on this will also help distract you from the feeling that someone is taking a blow torch to your shoulders. #yourewelcome.

#2. Shoulder Position:

Unfortunately, despite any selfless acts we may have committed in a past life, we don’t all possess the mobility of a fourteen year old Chinese World Champion. So, it is normal for there to be some rotation in our shoulders as we descend into our squat.

Understanding this, I would like for your focus to be on staying away from any extremes. Meaning…do your best to not be excessively internally or externally rotated.

Keep your chest up as much as you can, reach up through your lats and into the barbell and try to keep your body position AND the bar path as vertical as possible.

Even if our body mechanics and mobility do not allow for us to stay completely upright and vertical, visualizing and understanding where we’re SUPPOSED to be, will naturally help us to be more successful.

Dumbbell Snatch:

I’ll keep this one short since I’ve already reached my character count quota for the next 4 years…

When fatigued, it’s natural for a dumbbell snatch to start looking less like a snatch and more like an overly dramatic “bend and snap” (most of the snapping being vertebras shooting out of one’s spine).

So, in the midst of your exhaustion, do your best to remember that “the fastest distance between two points is a straight line”. In other words, keep that dumbbell as close to you as possible.

Last, we are SO LUCKY in that our shoulders are being used way more than our legs in this workout! So, let’s give our shoulders a break on these DB snatches and focus on JUMPING the dumbbells up with our legs, rather than pulling them up with our arms.

Good luck on 18.3! Have fun and remember the wise words from Kenny Powers, “I play real sports.. I’m not trying to be the best at exercising” (except that CrossFit is a sport and you ARE trying to be the best at exercising).

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