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Sneaky Training

Earlier on bookface, I posted a video of my second snatch set today.

I’m training for the Nationals in 2 weeks, so it’s super important to get the last few bits done.

I have a title to defend, people!

The video showed me painting my garage door.

Everyone knows that to snatch well, you need a shiny black garage door.

Off ya go to Woodies now, and I’ll see you on the platform!

My point was simply that:

you don’t always have to be lifting a kettlebell to be getting better at lifting a kettlebell.

Say wha???

Sure, lookit, it’s super tiring to be lifting kettlebells all the time, unless you have the drugs, which I don’t. The body needs time to rest. The mind needs time to switch off. Depending on your technique, your snatch hands may need to regrow some skin.

Fear not, there are always skills you can hone.

The specific situation is not the same but the basis principles cross those neat little boundaries you may have erected between the different parts of your world.


This means you can play with your snatch in work, or while shopping in tesco or out walking the dog – no need for a gym, a timer, chalk, special clothes, a kettlebell, sweating…..

Bedazzled, as I’m sure you were, with my Banksy like skills, you may not have noticed the following:

I was painting left handed even though I’m right handed. This will…

  1. Give the brain a novel, safe stimulus with which to work. Always nice to keep the brain active. Let’s face it – painting is not exactly challenging

  2. Work my left wrist through lots of random angles and motions it doesn’t get to visit frequently – wrist mobility is super important as we age

  3. Help strengthen the pathways between my brain and the left arm – this will help my snatch technique on the left

  4. Force me to use my left arm & shoulder, and entire body in ways I’m not used to as a right handed person. Leaning, twisting, and turning the opposite way to my instincts. Once there’s no pain, this is super bonus time!

I was standing on my right leg only. I injured that leg badly twice in the past, so I lean off it and let lefty do most of the work. Even though the leg is pain free now, from years of protection my brain perceives it as weak and unstable. It still struggles to allow me load into it freely.

From years of protecting the sad, weak leg, my body now works differently. I have tonnes of little compensations which I’m challenging now to try to improve my snatch technique.

Standing only on it, was simple and easy. The brain could relax and drop the threat level down to ‘fine and groovy’. The mild movements and adjustments required while I painted were enough to stimulate the pathways between the brain and the leg without alerting the JESUS! WHAT IS SHE DOING, SHE’S GOING TO KILL US ALL, STOP HER!!!! part of my brain (nothing like a bit of drama on a bank holiday).

Gotta love a bit of Awkward Yeti

Plus, the focus of the entire thing was not the leg, it was the painting – the brain is already a little distracted from its protecting task. Sneaky!

Safe, productive movement means the brain will trust that leg a little more now. Next time it will let me load it a little more easily, it will get stronger as a result, which means the brain can trust it more, load it more, strengthen it more…. Soon I’m magic –WIN!

I was nasal and abdominal breathing, gently and quietly, routinely scanning the body for breath holding – especially when doing the more intricate parts. If I hold my breath when I get tense or anxious 1000 times a day, then you can be sure when the snatch starts to SUCK on competition day that’s exactly what I’ll do. Because that’s the reaction I’ve unwittingly trained.

I also routinely scanned for any unnecessary tension – gripping the paint brush harder than I needed to, painting with more force than needed. I tried to catch when my jaw clenched, and when my shoulders popped up and forward, as they like to do!

Relax, relax, sink and breathe.

The same as the breathing point – if I train my body to brace against a challenge – something intricate/difficult/uncertain, then that’s my go to reaction on comp day. Tension is the enemy of snatch.

I worked the posture points I’m keen to unravel at the moment – work I’ve started with Dave’s Chi Gung videos

Click the image to find out more

,and Phil Greenfields Breath, Bones, and Gravity workshop (details here: )

Learning to let the muscles relax as much as possible, and be supported by the skeleton is something I have found seriously powerful for my physical, mental and emotional well being.

I love exploring that concept no matter what I’m at during my day.

I’ve yet to find a situation that is not greatly improved by letting go and allowing the skeleton to hold me up. The regular chi gung practise lets me get into that relaxed state quicker and easier each time. It’s pure gold.

That’s the case for all of the points above.

I may be viewing it from a kettlebell sport perspective at the moment, but that’s merely an excuse to pick it all apart. I want more reps and I want them with less effort – that’s a strong motivator.

The lessons I’m learning will not only help me achieve my immediate goals, and keep my body safer while I do it, but they will cross over into every other part of my world, improving it no end.

I know this because it’s already happening.

Plus, it all made the painting more interesting!


Maria Moran

Maria teaches Animal Flow and Indian Clubs in WG-Fit when she’s not busy training Kettlebell Sport

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