I like a simple, heavy and basic approach to both lifting and programming. Anyone who has read my work throughout the years will know this; it is evident in my writing. I also like to experiment with a number of different options for warm-ups and to include movements that can be used in multiple places in the program. I like exercises that can be used as loading exercises or as teaching progressions when learning the Olympic lifts and variations.

One such group of warm-up movements is pressing from different squat positions. This is especially useful if you are combining basic movements in one training session, such as squats and presses or pulls and presses. A byproduct of the warm-up movements I am about to detail is also that they reenforce technical details of the complete lift and develop strength in the bottom range of both squat and split positions.

Here are some movements I suggest you try during your next warm-up.

Snatch Grip Press Behind-the-Neck in Squat Position

Take a snatch grip on the bar and descend into a deep squat position. Hold that bottom position of the squat and push the bar over head until you are in the receiving position of the Olympic snatch. Pause in this position and then lower the bar under control to the behind-the-neck position. Repeat for the required number of reps (three to five in most cases) then return to standing and rack the bar.

elitefts split press

Military Press in Full Split Position

Position the bar in a front squat rack position and lunge into a full split. Maintain this lower body position as you press the bar overhead to lock out, with your arms past your ears and the bar directly over your body's center of gravity. Return the bar to the starting position and repeat for the required number of reps. At the completion, bring the front leg half way back and then bring the back leg forward to return to the rack.

Military Press in Front Squat Bottom Position (Sots Press)

Set up as you would for a clean grip front squat, with elbows high and the bar positioned in the platform at the shoulder. Descend into a full front squat and maintain this position as you press the bar to a full overhead lockout position. Your arms should be past your ears and the bar should be over the crown of your head. Pause, return to the deep front squat position, and repeat for the required number of reps.

Pressing Balance Snatch & Clean Grips

For this variation, take the first and third exercises listed above and start them from the top position. With the bar held at shoulders in clean grip or behind neck in snatch grip, press the bar as you squat down. Push yourself under the bar, arriving at the deep squat position at the same time as you are locking the elbows out in the overhead position.

Another couple of movement you may wish to try in warm-ups, which are actually sequences in the learning of the snatch that I regularly teach in my training seminars, are the variations on the snatch balance. This exercise is sometimes referred to as the drop snatch.

Heaving Snatch Balance

Place your feet in a squat position with the bar in snatch grip. From this point, you have two options. The first is to dip at your knees, drive the bar up, and squat into a receiving position. The second is to drop into the squat position as you drive the arms into the snatch position. My preference is the first option, to dip at the knees first. I believe it develops better overall body control, but you can choose either option.

elitefts snatch hold

Snatch Balance

The first steps of this exercise are identical to the heaving snatch balance, explained about. This time, as you dip and drive, move your feet out to the squat position to receive the bar in the squat snatch receiving position. Speed with control, dip-drive-drop-lock into position, and attempt to co-ordinate the bottom squat position with the lockout of the arms in the top position.

These two movements can also be done in split position if you want to add variety to the movements. They can be done in clean grip with the bar held at shoulder front squat position as well, but are more often associated with the snatch grip and teaching progressions.

Give them a try and let me know how you find these warm-up techniques. I will be giving seminars in Ireland and the UK in June/July and will also be attending the NSCA national conference for the first time in a number of years, so I look forward to meeting and chatting with anyone who attends.