What is a Kettlebell Snatch?

The Kettlebell Snatch, like the Get-Up, is a technical movement that trains almost every muscle in your body. It requires both power, precision, and a lot of practice. With repetition and learning, this can be a phenomenal strength and conditioning movement for any program. 

The Kettlebell Snatch is a full-body exercise with an emphasis on the following muscle groups:

  • Core
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Legs

How to Do a Kettlebell Snatch (Instructions):

“1H Swing Start”
Start as if you were going to do a one-hand kettlebell swing. The kettlebell should be about 6-12 inches in front of you. Stand with your feet forward, placed a little more than shoulder width apart. As you inhale, “deadlift down” by bending at your hips, with your knees are slightly bent, until you are in a deadlift position with your right hand on the kettlebell horn. Get low and get ready to use your core, legs, and hips to power the bell up. 
“Pull & Punch”
Hike the bell back between your legs as you inhale. As you exhale, power up with your hips and core, and pull your right elbow up and back to your side. As the kettlebell is suspended in this pull, “punch” up and through the handle with your right hand. This punching movement prevents the kettlebell from slamming your wrist. At the top of the movement, extend your arms like you were at the top of the Press. 
“Gravity Fall”
To descend, inhale and pull your hand and elbow back at the top of the movement so that the kettlebell falls over your hand. Allow the momentum of the bell to fall and pull you back down into the start of the swing position. Repeat, or repeat with the other hand. 

Trainer Tips for the Kettlebell Swing: 

  • Progression (make harder)
    • Use a heavier weight. Scale up in 8kg increments (16kg, 24kg, 32kg, etc…)
    • Increase your repetition count. 
    • Use two kettlebells for double snatches. 
  • Regression (make easier)
    • At the top of the movement, instead of allowing the kettlebell to fall over your hand, you can return the kettlebell to the upper racked position as if you were doing a Kettlebell Press
    • Use a lighter weight.
    • Lower your repetition count. 
  • Tips & Application:
    • Learn the Kettlebell High-Pull first. This is the transitory movement before you punch up through the kettlebell. 
    • Keep the kettlebell close to your chest as you go up and down. If the bell is too far from you, it has a tendency to slam your wrist at the top of the movement. 
    • Practice, practice, practice! This is a tricky movement, but you will “feel” the smooth motion once you perform it correctly. 
    • Do 10 snatches (5 on each hand) every minute, for 10 minutes. When you are done with your 10 within the minute, rest, then at the top of the next minute, resume the cadence. 
      • You can also do this with a pair of dice. Roll a pair of dice, and whatever the sum is (i.e. “9”), do 10 snatches every minute for a total of the sum of the dice. 

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