Here’s a great video of CrossFit Rowing coach Shane Farmer snatching 235 pounds at the SoCal Regionals for the CrossFit Games. He is in the green shirt at timestamp 0:40, right after the poor guy with the epic fail. Great movement, great technique. Not sure many rowers have this kind of strength and mobility outside of the horizontal plane.
This is why I am passionate about CrossFit in addition to rowing – as I get older the scope of what more I can achieve in rowing gets narrower, and I continue to train towards those goals, but CrossFit keeps me fresh and feeling like a novice I other areas, which keeps it interesting. Here’s a rower who can snatch 100 lbs. more than me with beautiful technique – clearly I have a lot of room for learning and improvement there even as the hair gets grayer.
Congrats Shane and well done!
I learn things every day. One of the most challenging things I’ve learned in Crossfit is the snatch. I hate them. I dread them. I stink at them. They hurt my shoulders and forearms. I used to cherry pick snatch WODs, I admit it. They have nothing to do with rowing, so why should I practice them? I am never going to compete as an Olympic lifter, right?
Here’s why I’ve learned to love the snatch, especially the kettlebell snatch.
1. It’s a highly complex full-body movement requiring a highly connected power curve, precise timing, a lot of neurological stimulation, and a complex physical system involving a weight flying through the air. Sounds a lot like a rowing stroke, huh? Few lifts involve the level of neurological coordination that can simulate a rowing stroke in a moving boat.
2. It auto-diagnoses right/left imbalances in the body, especially alternating arms with a kettlebell snatch. As with many rowers who started out sweep rowing on port side, I have 2-3 inches more length and power with my left arm and more fine motor control with my right. This ironically also means that my left shoulder girdle is “looser” and more prone to injury. It’s harder for me to stabilize a flying kettlebell overhead on my left side than my right. Kettlebell snatches train this weakness and are great for injury prevention in the shoulder girdle. Important for scullers, especially in rough water where you get a lot of three-dimensional bouncing around.
3. Having done a combined rowing/kettlebell snatch WOD recently, I am really sore in my lats,traps, biceps, and forearms. Surprisingly, these would be the same muscles that would be sore after a bench pull workout. Why? With a moving kettlebell, you are essentially doing eccentric pulls against several times the weight of the bell to prevent it from flying out of your hand…high-rep kettlebell snatches also really work your grip strength, which is great for scullers. Much more dynamic than bench pulls.
A big thanks to Steven and Heidi at Crossfit Affliction in Fort Lauderdale for welcoming me during my recent business trip down there! I really appreciated the intensive coaching on snatch technique, which is one of my (many) weaknesses. I probably performed 50 snatches during a skill session and WOD, and a lot of it was about feeling out incremental improvements rep by rep, so thanks for the patience! I think that as a rower I always mentally default to exploding with the quads vs. exploding with the hips, and I just need to practice the movement over and over in order to feel it out. I now have some good visualizations that I can write down in my WOD book to focus on in the future. I hope some of my rowing advice helps out in your upcoming cert, and I look forward to wearing your cool shirt around up north. I was amazed to see that you have more Concept2 rowers than most boathouses! You have a great facility, friendly people, and most importantly great weather! If you are ever in the New York / New Jersey area look us up at Crossfit Ignite !
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