Today was my first day in Tom’s gym in Amsterdam and we had a late training session from half seven to a quarter to ten in the evening. Another lifter, Bram, met me at the airport and brought me back to Tom’s place where we ate and left for the gym. I relaxed for an hour there while there was a fitness class and then the games began. I had no idea what to expect, but the session really turned out to be worthwhile.
After a little dynamic flexibility warm up and some bar work we started off with Snatch technique. I knew the rounded back issue would crop up and it did. Right off the bat. Here is the jist of what Tom was trying to get me to do—at least this is what I understood. There were two main areas on the Snatch that we focused on:
1. Getting a much lower starting position and getting my hips down and through which in turn helped to get a better arch with the upper back. He wants to over exaggerate the starting position to get the lower back and mid traps and rhomboids used to contracting and being used. In time he wants me to go back up to a 90 degree angle, but only when I am firing the correct muscles and movement pattern. There is a video below of the differences between this and my previous position.
2. He wants me to change how I pull both at the start of the movement and how I pull above the knee. He is emphasising the double knee bend massively. In my video below I swing the bar dreadfully but that is because the focus was on the start. Tom wants me to aggressively keep the back arch and pull off the floor with my back AND my legs so that the back angle remains the same and I sit back in the pocket to rebend the knees and get as much hip extension as possible. This is very different to what I am used to and I found it quite frustrating trying to get used to the Hang Snatch Pulls and positioning exercises. Once I have practised this more I will comment on the differences in style in the pull. Either way, the whole feel of the Snatch is different.
I worked on my Front Squat technique also. I went up to doing two triples with 130 and then went back down to 110 to focus on driving up from the bottom position with the elbows and keeping the lower back arched throughout. We also worked on getting a wider stance which was very uncomfortable because of my hip flexibility.
This was a very trying first session from a mental point of view, as I am crap at all the new ways of doings things. This is to be expected of course, as I am trying them for the first time, but it is frustrating none the less. It is great that I came over here, because I will be staring my biggest weaknesses in the face every day and there is no hiding. The only negative point is that the gym is far away from my hostel and that it will take a while to get to and fro the gym and in between sessions. Otherwise I am a happy, but frustrated camper. Here is the video. Remember, it is only the starting point that needs to be focused on so if you have a comment, do me the honour.