A Hidden Gem in CrossFit – NO FEET Snatches & Cleans

September 12, 2023 by
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I program a lot of “no feet” exercises in our Invictus Weightlifting programs for numerous reasons. I will discuss them all in this article, but I mainly want to focus on WHY they are so crucial for CrossFitters to master.

Why do we move our feet in max snatches and cleans? 

When we maximally put force into the ground – the byproduct of that is we JUMP. If we truly put 100% of our force into the ground – our body will naturally go UP. This is why every weightlifting coach in the world will tell you to MOVE YOUR FEET after your extension.

Why do I program “no feet” snatches and cleans? 

Reason #1: Many athletes get lost in space. Ever do a snatch or clean and think, “IDK what the heck happened but I made it!”? We have all been there. From our extension to our catch sometimes it is an absolute BLUR. By keeping our feet planted to the ground – we always have a connection point. This allows us to FEEL where we are at in space and will give us better awareness

Reason #2: I program them because it teaches athletes when to naturally STOP extending, and when to START pulling under! By being planted to the ground the entire time with our feet – we always feel where the bar is. This can improve our FEEL FOR THE BAR drastically because we are always CONNECTED to the bar. This naturally increases our feeling for the bar and makes us more efficient

Reason #3: EFFICIENCY! I really don’t think you should be moving your feet unless the weight is above 80% in CrossFit workouts. Let’s back up – why do our feet usually move? Because we are extending super hard into the bar and they naturally lift up. So, WHY would we want to extend that hard in a CrossFit workout that has 30 barbell reps that is at a pretty light weight? We don’t! That is just wasting energy…We only want to give the bar the energy and power that that specific weight REQUIRES! So by not moving our feet – we know we are conserving energy because we aren’t jumping. There’s no sense in jumping that hard when the bar is below 80% of your max, it doesn’t require that kind of effort to lift it!

This feels weird to do – but I feel it’s a good example of it: But here is a video of my 2017 CrossFit Open workout 17.3 that had a snatch ladder and C2B pull- ups. I placed 7th in the world on this workout, yet only placed 12th at Regionals that year. AKA my snatch efficiency was at a very high level. Notice how my feet NEVER move from 95 all the way to 245…Only at 265 did they move slightly because that weight finally required me to extend maximally! Along with it, my knees, hips, and ankles almost never fully extended prior to 225 – because none of those weights required my full extension! This allows us to keep our heart rates WAY lower because we are only contracting our muscles as hard and as much as we need to!

Putting the “no feet” snatches and cleans into your arsenal will be an absolute game changer for your overall CrossFit efficiency.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All no feet snatches and cleans should be done by starting with your feet in your RECEIVING POSITION, not your normal pull position.

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