Snatching in the summer

Living by choice in southeast Texas, I have the twin companions of heat and humidity accompanying my training from May to early October. I don’t have the option to train in air conditioned comfort, and I am not sure I’d want to. Basically, I have to deal with a lot of sweat from very early in a training session. It’s relentless. I can soak a shirt in less than 10 minutes. Morning, afternoon, or night – it’s humid down here.

A lot of people don’t like to snatch for time in hot and humid conditions. Done improperly, hand trauma can result. I believe an athlete can train snatches at a high level despite the heat and humidity, subject to individual conditioning. Obviously, technique is paramount and obviously, everyone has an upper limit of what constitutes a safe temperature and heat index before calling it day.  Use common sense.

Here is how i adjust.

1. My kettlebell handles are smoother than many people recommend. It’s a fine line and a matter of personal preference.  Fundamentally, a bell won’t hold chalk unless it has some pits or minute surface imperfections. What I have done is smooth my handles and then really worked them over with 36 grit sandpaper to create imperfections to hold chalk.

2. I stay pretty well hydrated. Diet, nutrition, and hydration are subtle but critical.

3. I make sure my hands and handles are moderately chalked. Too much chalk and sweat can make a mess.  The combination of the right amount of chalk and smooth handle works makes a world of difference.

4. Know yourself and know your capabilities. Some people are more sensitive to heat than others. 

5. The rest is mental. I tell myself that the payoff is in October when it cools off. It’s amazing what a sudden drop in temperature and humidty can do for performance.

6. This year, I am going into the late summer with a healthy set of knees. After a very painful meniscus repair in August 2007 and a less invasive procedure in March, my knees are pain free and mobile.


2 Responses to “Snatching in the summer”

  1. B Smith Says:

    No kidding, I am in SE Tex as well and train in the evening. I always thought the atheletic wrist and head bands look pretty geeky but since moving down here I have started wearing them when I am doing a workout with a lot of kettlebell. It seems to make quite a difference, if I don’t wear the wrist bands, the sweat from my forearms runs right down and makes the grip slippery after only a few reps.

    Thanks for the advice on smooth handles… I am not sure I am ready to alter my KBs but may consider it in the future.

  2. Rob Says:

    I certainly agree on the smooth handles.Only problem I find is with long sets if sweat gets on my hands. The rough kettlebell thing is ok for short sets… get yourself into a long set of snatches with a rough kettlebell and it’s a recipe for tearing the skin off of your hand. 🙂 I suppose you may call that hard core.

    Keep up the great work

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