When in Doubt, Snap Down

When in Doubt, Snap Down

Build Hammer Hands

Anyone who has faced a tough wrestler knows what it feels like to get popped with hammer hands.

Cupped hand goes up. Cupped hand comes down on the back of your head. Pop. You’re whole spine shakes to stay upright.

Hammer Hands

The first hammer hands I ever felt were Dan Henderson’s. He was an instructor at a camp I went to when I was in middle school. He popped me hard enough to hurt my feelings. 

And how many of you out there have had that moment in a match when your game plan goes sideways and your animal brain takes over then the next thing you know you’ve dropped your best hammer hands on your opponent?

Right? When in doubt, snap down.

This is a range of strength routine that challenges the entire snapdown range from getting your hands over your opponents head to mopping the mat with his forehead. 

This is a 3 movement progressive routine that benefits both the beginner and the pro. We’ll show you how to make two critical improvements to your snapdown: 

  1. Build strength through the snapdown’s full range of movement, and
  2. Improve the speed of your snapdowns 


The Movements

First let's get set-up. 

  1. Face the anchor.
  2. Put one hand through each loop and gently grip the band as you walk backwards. The bands should be coming out of the top of your hand.
  3. Walk backwards until the loops are snug around your wrists. 

1. Straight Pull Downs

This movement helps ground your feet as your upper body builds front to back range of strength. 

  1. Sink into a straight athletic stance and stay in your stance from the start of this exercise to the finish. 
  2. Grip the band in each hand, pull straight arms up above your head. Make sure to get as far as you can to the top of your shoulder range. You should feel like your hands are reaching for something on a high shelf whilst staying in your athletic stance. 
  3. Starting with your core, whip your hands down along your sides. Try to keep your arms straight. Pull as far back as you can reach with your hands. 
  4. Hold a moment. Then resist the pull of the band as you return to the start position.

Stay in your stance. 

Go again.

2. Lateral Pulldowns

Lateral pulldowns take the straight pulldown coordination you just built and shakes it a little bit by challenging your rotational stability.

  1. Start like you did for the Straight Pulldown. Pull up.
  2. Keep your arms parallel. Pull both arms down to one side. Remember what you learned last time: reach back as far as you can. Keep your feet grounded.
  3. Pull back up. Then pull down to the other side.

That’s a lateral pulldown.

3. Back-Step Lateral Pulldowns

Take the lateral pulldown you just did and add a back-step. The back-step finishes the full rotation range through the feet.

  1. Pull your hands up to the top of your range and step to the side
  2. Back step with the trail foot and snap your hands back as far as you can
  3. Return to straight pulldown position and back step lateral pulldown to the other side.

4. Pick Up the Pace

Keep doing what you’re doing. 

Now, take a step back to increase the tension.

Pick up the pace. Keep good technique. Max out reps for this interval.

Ready to try the routine? Press play on the video below.

When you’re done, shake it out. Pay attention to your mid back and feet. 

For all the wrestlers and grapplers out there, try adding this series to your post-practice conditioning. You’ll start to notice improved control, force and speed in your snapdowns.

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