Recently, I started a new training program that involves training all of my competition lifts per day, a feat that is replacing the training style where I deadlifted every day. Honestly, it’s not been as crazy as deadlifting every day, because I’ve been a lot stricter about the intensities involved and as a result it’s actually been pretty fun. In the first month, I’ve put a PR on my squat - the first time I’ve done so in a year - so I’m rather proud of it.
The plan involves four major lifts: the bench press, squat, deadlift, and overhead press, since I’m looking to build up my overhead strength. Each day, two lifts are trained at a high intensity, while the other two are trained at an assistance intensity. This helps grease the groove, so to speak, activating sore muscle and helping aid in recovery as well as the development of muscle and joint strength. Most importantly, however, I’ve come to use a lot more assistance movements than I used to as a result, and in my experimentation I’ve come across a few new favorites.
One of my new favorite accessory moves is called alternately the viper press or the muscle snatch, depending on what equipment you use. The viper press is done with the strongman log and the muscle snatch is done with the barbell, but otherwise the intent pretty similar.
In the viper press, the log is brought to the waist and cradled before being brought overhead in a fast “whipping” motion, using as much momentum as possible.
In the muscle snatch, the barbell is deadlifted from the ground and then immediately whipped up into the snatch, only there is no squatting motion to get underneath the barbell. (The muscle snatch resembles the power snatch, although the power snatch tends to have just a little bit of a dip into a squat, whereas the muscle snatch should have none.)
The movements are certainly different, most notably in hand position as a result of the equipment used, but they tend to work out similar things. Both involve a lot of different muscles - the posterior chain for the deadlift, the upper back for the initial pull, and the shoulders for the lockout. The viper press/muscle snatch are both hybrid strength/power movements, since they do involve a bit of momentum but not nearly the amount seen in traditional olympic lifting. This means that they’re going to help build a lot of muscle while at the same time helping to build a lot of strength, without the high specificity of the olympic lifts.
The training purposes of these movements are varied. While they won’t work well with beginner or general population exercisers, they’ve got good carryover to all your major strength sports - the viper press for strongman, and the muscle snatch for powerlifting and olympic lifting. CrossFit athletes will also likely see good results!
Since the viper press/muscle snatch work out so many valuable muscles at once, they’ve become a staple of my accessory work in this new program. Try them out, and you’re definitely gonna find your traps and shoulders burning more than you expect, aside from getting a solid back workout. Just watch out, however, as you’ll have to keep the weight relatively limited - start off with just a 45lb barbell (or even less, if you have access to lighter set-weight barbells) and work your way up from there.
See Also: T-Nation's Article on the Muscle Snatch