Making Time for it All, or the Secret SnatchVolume Workout with a Jerk

originally Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:46 AM

Sally, the Wife of the Gym (WOG), starting training regularly again a couple weeks ago.  She's doing great, and she's going to train again today when she gets back from her latest business trip.  She trains, with another client of mine, at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She'll also do another weekend day, and that day is easy to work in since she's already doing the other two.  In that limited amount of time, how can I, the erstwhile trainer-mate (or trainer/mate?), ensure she 1. Gets good benefits from her workout, 2. Enjoys her training, and 3. isn't too annoyed by me telling her to keep her pelvis neutral?


In order to get the good benefits from training only three hours/ week (admittedly, the third workout goes a bit linger), we need to make sure we do the following:  1. Power/ Speed movement (usually a snatch, clean, Jerk, or jump); 2.  A squat movement complementing the fast lift:  overheads or back squats with the snatch; Front Squats or goblet squats with the clean; 3. A pressing movement (Kb, bar, axle, etc.), 4. A single leg movement, and 5.  Conditioning.   I'd like to actually throw a bodyweight movement in as well.  My key to success with the limited training time is hidden volume; we do complex movements which make the body work harder.


These things can be integrated together rather than treating all 5 separately (one leg barbell squat snatches with a burpee to recover from the depth, AMRAP in 45 minutes, for instance). An actual sample workout looks like this:  Snatches, 6 sets of 3; Back Squats, 5,5,5,3,3; one-arm KB presses, 4x6; single leg dl 4x6; kb swings 5x20.  That's a good 45 minute session, and add in another 15 for warming up and stretching and rolling, in an hour she's had her workout and feels better about the world.  Then she's really hungry.  


In a group, I can use the snatch (or cleans) as an exercise with little worry, because some people will be able to snatch form the floor, some can squat snatch, some can only muscle snatch, some will snatch dumbbells, etc.  This exercise allows for me to individualize the plan while having a group do the same basic movement; that way, the group gets the benefit of seeing others succeed and struggle, and the group also offers support to others while they train.   


What do you do if you have limited time and are trying to compete in O lifting?  The answer is easy.   In a three day week, you have a snatch day, a clean and jerk day, and and a total day.  The total day is the easiest to plan:  You snatch heavy, clean and jerk heavy, and BS heavy.  Do some pull-ups and swings to finish the day off, or some sprints or sled drags.  


The individual lift days focus on technical needs: Maybe snatch with a pause at the knee, then add in an extra overhead squat or even a push press behind the neck, or maybe all three.  or just snatch with a pause at the knee, then do your squats, etc.  See what time allows that day.  If you have only twenty minutes to workout, accept that fact and get the work in rather than taking the time off.  A snatch complex will give you everything you need for a 20 minute workout (start at 40% of your snatch, go up 5% at a time, and do the following:  Snatchx3, Overhead squatx3, behind the neck push jerkx3).  Go until you miss the snatches.  You should be able to get to around 70%, you have your conditioning in, and you did technical work AND mobility work.   


On the other end of the spectrum, what do you do if you are just starting out and need to get into shape?  Well, I'm a big proponent of two things to get people in shape:  squatting and moving.  If you want to start getting strong/losing weight/being better at eating bacon, start out by walking for 20 minutes, then doing box squats or goblet squats.  Make sure you keep the good form.  The walk should be crisp.  then do some basic stretches: cat stretches, arms across the chest, behind the head, etc.  


If you get stuck without equipment and need a workout, do this:  push ups, get to 100 anyway you can; crunches, get to 200; bodyweight squats, get to your age.  Mix this order up, figure it out somehow, substitute inchworms for the crunches, whatever. You have 2 minutes and will get good stuff in.  Burpees, as much as I hate them and think they're stupid, work well in a simple program, too. Try five sets of 10 to start with and work around that number.  


When you want to workout, anything you do is vital.  Take that 20 minutes and make something happen.  

Michael McKennaComment