Sometimes it’s difficult for people to have the proper arm lock out in the overhead lifts. Today, I want to focus on the Snatch.
I believe the most important aspects of a successful lockout are:
Speed of turnover/Location of bar
An ideal turnover to me means the elbows are facing the ceiling, the wrists are turned over, there is no press-out, and the bar is behind the ears.
Speed of turnover:
Your speed/timing of turn over or lack thereof will determine the location of the bar overhead. The turnover must be fast and deliberate. With just the right amount of speed and timing, and that bar is in the sweet spot.
Location of the bar:
A.) Too passive of a turnover leaves the bar out in front of the athlete. This is caused by the athlete not putting enough “pop” into the second pull or doesn’t “break” their arms. This results in a missed lift in front or causes the athlete to overcompensate by pulling the bar backwards. Pulling the bar back puts unnecessary stress on the upper back and other muscles of the shoulder girdle.
B.) An early turnover is when the athlete somehow manages to lock their arms out but, too soon. This is usually caused by the athlete being impatient and trying to get under the bar too soon instead of waiting for their second pull to be completed causing the same problems discussed in point “a”
C.) A delayed turnover, leaves the bar behind the athlete. This is caused sometimes by pushing their hips into the bar causing it to loop or a lack of understanding of timing.This results in a missed lift behind or causes the athlete to overcompensate by pulling the bar forward stressing the rotator cuff and the anterior muscles of the shoulder girdle.
If the athlete simply does not have the strength or the stability to hold any weight overhead, the lock out will not be successful. Even with experienced athlete, this is something that can always be improved. Being stronger means being able to hold positions better and have a greater capacity to improve in the overhead lifts.
It has been said many times and is true: “The greatest limiting factor in weightlifting is ‘flexibility.'” The athlete must be flexible enough to be able to have the bar overhead comfortably or else, overhead lifts can become extremely restricted. On the contrary, however rare it may be, hyper flexibility can be an issue. Some people are super flexible but need to be taught good timing and have the strength to be able to “put the brakes on” when they catch a Snatch. A good warm up and stretch as well as natural flexibility will help the athlete have a successful lock out.
Here’s where it can get tricky. When an athlete misses the lift. Could be be flexibility, strength, timing, or a technical error earlier in the lift? The pictures under “B” and “C” could easily be seen as missing the lift from bad timing or they can be seen as flexibility or strength issues. An unsuccessful lockout can be caused by any of these problems or combination of problems. Always train under a knowledgeable coach so they can appropriately assess your issues.
Flexibility, strength, and speed/timing are determining factors of the location of the bar. When you are flexible and strong, you can hold the bar in the right place. If the appropriate amount of speed and timing is applied to the bar, the location will be perfect.
Lift big and lock out,Sarah Robles