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How to improve shoulder mobility in your snatch

Updated: Jan 25


Tim Stevenson demonstrating a shoulder exercise

If you have landed on this blog it is likely that you are someone who knows the frustration of poor shoulder mobility and the consequences it has on your weightlifting or CrossFit performance.


The end game of a snatch is to get the bar situated over your base of support. Once you can do that you can focus on adding load. Those with limited mobility dream of such things but are instead left with the misery of trying to hold and balance a bar 30 centimetres further forward than it should be.

 

This is not fun.

 

We coach people all the time who want to improve their overhead mobility so they can snatch.

 

Here is some of what we write in the training programme for them.

 

You need to extend

 

Shoulder mobility is a multifaceted conundrum. Whilst it is natural to think about the shoulder itself the biggest win on the table for most people is often thoracic spine extension.

 

When you go into an overhead position, the thoracic spine has to extend to get the final 10 – 15 degrees. This can be enough to get that bar stacked over your centre of mass meaning you feel stable and balanced.

 

So many of us spend a huge amount of our working day in hunched over positions when we’re sat at a desk all day long or driving in a car for long hours. This puts us in a flexed thoracic spine position.

 

Then comes 6pm and we head to the gym and it’s time to snatch meaning we must move explosively into thoracic extension. It’s no wonder we might struggle to get our hands in a good overhead position.

 

To get some mobility into your thoracic spine, try this exercise before your next snatch training session:



Now add some control

 

Increasing range of motion through mobility drills is one thing but if we can’t control that range of motion it’s unlikely you’ll be able to access it in functional tasks.

 

The brain is smarter than to let you slam a load of weight into that end range position that you can’t control.

 

So now you have some more thoracic spine extension, we’re going to add some strength through a prone Y raise. You can do this exercise single arm as shown in the video or double it up to save time.



Do something

 

So if you’re struggling with shoulder mobility in your snatch, here are two of our go-to exercises.

 

Don’t be that guy or girl who complains about more mobility and suffers through a session when a short piece or prep work done regularly can improve your performance and enjoyment.

 

Give these exercises a go as a primer before your next snatch training session to help improve your success outcomes. If you need more help and individualisation with your shoulder mobility, get in touch.


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