Why A 100-Lb Snatch And The Relativity Of Goals

When I first shared my bucket list online, one of the most common responses I received from folks was:

“Wow, there are some things on your list that I have already done, or can do easily! I would have never imagined that they are bucket list worthy!”.

After all, a flip turn is not that big of a deal to a swimmer or a triathlete – in a pool it happens every 25m. And then there is me – trying not to drown. [So far, so good – although check out my blog post on how much I hate swimming].

Another response I got was that of surprise. “What? You want to bench press your body weight? I would have thought you can bench press way more than that already!”.

Well, as I said to someone a while ago: “YOUR perception of MY fitness has very little to do with my actual fitness”. 🙂

For someone who can deadlift close to (but not yet) 300lb, a 100-lb snatch seems like a pretty pathetic goal. [Hell, it seems pathetic to ME, which may explain why I have been so obsessed with it!]. I have had way more weight than that over my head in a clean and jerk – somewhat unsettling, but not as terrifying as combining the weight overhead with a deep squat.

Remember when I couldn’t do double-unders, and spent six months practicing them at the beginning of each workout? Well, a friend of mine who was in a similar situation, simply took a jump rope and spent two days training the hell out of double-unders. He ended up pretty lacerated by the end, I think, but… he did learn how to do the damn things in two days.


Certain things can muscle through – I see guys muscling their way into arm balances in yoga all the time – it’s not really the optimal way, but hey, it “gets the work done”, so to speak. It gets you into the final position, the outcome. If you didn’t care about floating, transitions and body control, but you just wanted to get crow pose, you can totally muscle it.

You can’t muscle a snatch. You can’t rush a snatch. You can’t go from 35lb (empty bar, which almost made me cry three years ago) to 100lb in a week, or even a month.

I don’t just want a 100-lb snatch. I want everything that the 100-lb snatch represents.

– A relatively healthy shoulder joint.
– Decent shoulder mobility.
– Body control and strength at the end of the range of motion.
– Patience.
– Discipline.

I went back to an Olympic lifting class yesterday after almost a year hiatus – started with a 15lb training bar, and warmed my way into a 65lb power snatch. It feels rusty, but the body remembers.

“What do you think?”, I ask my coach. “Can you get me to a 100-lb snatch?”.
“Of course”. He doesn’t even blink.

“Tell you what”, he continues. “You focus on this for two months, and then we schedule some time to test. No baseline. So you don’t freak yourself out with expectations”.

Ugh. Smart move.

My last successful attempt in 2015 landed me at 85lb. The proposed timeline will have me testing around the beginning of June.

All right.
100-lb snatch… here I come.

Liked this post? Read “why my snatch stinks (and other reasons to talk dirty)” as well as “the voice of the snatch spirit and other frustrating things about Olympic lifting”.


posted: April 07, 2016