Workout of the Day

Keys to Mastery: The Transition


It turns out, there’s a common element that makes some of our most challenging movements, such as the snatch, the clean & jerk, and the muscle-up, so difficult to learn and master: the transition. At its most basic, a muscle-up is a pull-up into a dip. The trick is that pesky in-between portion where you go from the pull-up to the dip -- from under to over, from pulling to pushing. There are multitudes of folks who can pull and push until the cows come home, but struggle mightily with the muscle-up. The same goes for the Olympic lifts. Broken down to its simplest form, a snatch is an aggressive deadlift from the floor into a catch overhead. You can be a great deadlifter and a great presser, even great at overhead squats, and still be far from proficient in the snatch. The challenge again lies in the transition from moving the bar up (from the floor to your hips) into moving yourself under the bar into the overhead squat receiving position.

These transitions rest heavily on the skill of agility -- change of direction, or quickly and seamlessly transitioning from one movement pattern to another -- and coordination -- the ability to smoothly and efficiently combine several movement patterns into one movement. These two essential skills are both expressed and trained in their highest capacity with movement such as the muscle-up and the snatch. And, like any skill, they require practice.

If you find yourself with a spare 10 minutes before class in the gym, consider practicing your transitions. A PVC pipe, an empty barbell, or a set of rings with a band or with your feet on the floor make for a simple and effective way to edge your way closer to movement mastery.

- PS


  • Every 4 minutes for 20 minutes:

    • 200m run

  • *record fastest