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Kettlebell Snatch: Your Ultimate Guide With 4 Practice

author
Ava Flores
• Thursday, 31 December, 2020
• 23 min read

The final progression and the holy grail of full body exercises is the KettlebellSnatch. You need to ensure you have an excellent Swing and have also mastered the Turkish Get Up before even contemplating this exercise.

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There are also timing issues necessary for the Snatch to avoid banging the wrists and jerking the arm. The KB Snatch works the entire body from head to toe and is considered a pulling movement.

KB snatches are certainly a cardiovascular exercise although not as much as the High Pull because you can grab periods of rest at the top of the movement. The more muscles you use the more energy required and subsequently the more carbohydrates and fat you burn.

If you want to really push your cardio then the snatch will really elevate your heart rate without the need to even move your feet. The snatch requires you to absorb and regenerate force at speed during every repetition.

The snatch takes the kettle bell from overhead to close to the floor and back again in a matter of seconds. Poor shoulder and thoracic mobility will be highlighted during the snatch and demand attention.

As well as being mobile the shoulders also need to be stable, so they can support the heavy load overhead. The quads, hips, glutes, core and hamstrings are all certainly worked very hard just like with the Kettle bell Swing.

Unlike the swing you get a little more muscle activation at the top of the body due to the fact that the kettle bell goes overhead. Poor shoulder and thoracic mobility could lead to problems but I’ll address that issue in a little while.

The hip hinge is one of the most important components and enables you to drive the kettle bell upwards and absorb it on the way down. During the snatch the kettle bell is overhead and this requires both good shoulder stability and also mobility.

Can you hold your arm overhead in line with your ears without leaning backwards from the lower back? If your overhead mobility is not good then I suggest you work on improving this before you continue with the snatch or you'll risk injury sooner than you think.

Once you have mastered the Swing, Turkish Get Up, been training for 6 – 12 months and have good Shoulder and Thoracic Mobility it's time to learn how to kettle bell snatch. As you can see from the tutorial video above the snatch is a combination of the Swing, High Pull and Press.

You will find performing the Kettle bell Snatch is tough on the hands and rolls the skin. At the overhead position keep your chin back, don't push it forwards or you risk injuring your cervical spine.

If you struggle to keep your chin back then you probably need to address your shoulder and thoracic mobility as mentioned earlier. If you do not bend your arm and just continue the swing all the way over the top you will bang your wrist and forearm with the kettle bell.

Another reason for wrist and forearm damage is usually down to bad timing at the top of the movement. Keep your weight on your heels and load the powerful muscles at the back of the body.

If you feel your weight moving towards your toes then you know that you need to load the rear of the body more. It is important to open up the chest at the top and finish the movement with the kettle bell overhead.

If you stop the kettle bell too short then the shoulders will get tired very quickly because you are not providing a rest at the top of the movement. If you cannot take the kettle bell all the way back then be careful, you probably have shoulder or thoracic mobility issues.

The corkscrew is a great snatch variation if you are training more for endurance or have grip issues The classic snatch technique is to throw the kettle bell up and over from the top position leading with the elbow.

The Over the Top variation will test your grip strength and also increase the load on your core, hamstring and glutes at the bottom of the movement. However, you can work a little more on your power generation by practicing the snatch from the floor and directly up and into the top position.

The hang snatch will require powerful hips to drive the kettle bell overhead without using the swing momentum. I like the way that as you fatigue the numbers reduce so you always feel like the desired repetitions are manageable.

The only area that doesn't really get any attention during the snatch is the chest and the Push Ups in this workout take care of that. The kettle bell swing will produce similar results but with a lot less chance of injury to the shoulders.

One you have been training for 6 – 12 months and have mastered all the basics, including the Swing and Turkish Get Up, then it could be time to have some fun and to take on the snatch. The kettle bell snatch should only be used once you have mastered the basics including the swing and Turkish get up.

Try the classic workout of 10 minutes of snatches changing hands as many times as needed but without the kettle bell touching the floor. Whether you’re trying to improve your strength and power, or you’re an endurance athlete looking to build some serious muscular stamina, the kettlebellsnatch is a brilliant move for you to learn.

Endurance athletes will get high-intensity cardio training and increases in muscular power without risking the repetitive stress injuries that often accompany distance running or cycling. And strength athletes will also reap the benefits of high-intensity cardio (because let’s be real, we avoid it like the plague) while developing power that’s going to help dominate on the lifting platform.

Power is a complicated thing, but when we’re talking about barbells and kettle bells, it gets just a bit simpler. If you power (pun intended) through the first two, with the bar moving relatively easily and quickly, you’re probably going to feel more confident heading into your last two.

Jacob Land/ShutterstockLook, the faster you’re able to move a loaded bar, the more physically powerful you are at that given lift. The quick movement of a kettlebellsnatch, that forceful, incredible generation of sheer power, isn’t just for adrenaline-seeking lifters, though.

Stability, because your glenohumeral joint needs to be stable enough to support the rapid transitions the movement takes your shoulders through, controlling both the press to the top of the lift and the sudden descent back down. Practicing this lift will therefore greatly increase your kinesthetic awareness, a.k.a. your ability to know where your body is in space and how to effectively move through it.

Poor kinesthetic awareness will improve with practice, and you’ll be able to tell you’re getting better at it when the bell stops smacking your forearm at the top of the lift (a glorious day it will be). Which is saying something, considering that I spent much of my childhood with broken fingers due to, well… rough and tumble clumsiness.

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, kettlebellsnatch training was more effective than free weight and body weight circuit training at improving the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) of seventeen young women athletes’ maximal oxygen uptake. The swing part of kettle bell snatches is absurdly effective at activating your glutes, hamstrings, core, hip flexors, and quads, while the high pull and eventual push through at the end are spectacular for your upper lats, traps, and Delta.

If that makes you worried about thwacking yourself with the bell, just cue your forearms to protect your inner thighs. Throughout the movement, keep your elbow soft but not quite bent, and your grip gentle but also firm.

If they don’t, cable pulls and other exercises to increase your shoulder stability are definitely a must before diving into the wild world of kettle bell snatches. After you’ve truly mastered the kettle bell swing (both with two hands and with one), you might be ready to take on the high pull.

The infamous wrist flop is understandably a dreaded part of both kettle bell cleans and snatches. The twist is, instead of bringing it down slow and controlled (which you do with regular presses), you’re going to flip the bell straight over your hand, using momentum to let the bell swing down from the press into the end of a kettle bell swing.

Complete this process several times, sinking it into your muscle memory, so you’ll have one less thing to think about when you start integrating more steps. To do this, use the last bit of momentum to activate your upper lats, traps, and Delta, performing a high pull with a straight wrist and a deep exhale.

At the end of the high pull, tilt your forearm up (converting your angle from roughly horizontal to more vertical) to initiate the final momentum-influenced push to the ceiling. This subtle tilt will help you land the bell on the back of your forearm without bruising yourself.

That way, your straight wrist and change in direction will allow the bell to just loop over your hand and forearm, saving you the ever-dreaded and painful flop. Nina Take/Shutterstock The kettlebellsnatch is all about power, so even if you’re using it primarily to boost endurance, you don’t want to overdo it with the reps.

If you already have a programmed day when you do intensive kettle bell work, you’ll want to integrate the kettlebellsnatch into the beginning of your workout. If you’re looking for a timed workout, do 15-seconds of kettle bell snatches per side (with a 30-second rest between each full set) for three minutes.

If you’re primarily looking to build muscular strength and power with the lift, use the moderately heavy rep scheme (three sets of 4 -6 per side) after you’ve warmed up for a day when you’re emphasizing horizontal pushes (chest and triceps). John Woolworth/Shutterstock Once you’re super accustomed to regular old kettle bell snatches, but you want to level-up the badasses, go for a double kettlebellsnatch.

Pretty much all kettle bell movements are cool, but the kettlebellsnatch does sort of take the proverbial cake. In terms of muscular and cardiovascular engagement, total-body mechanics, and low-impact full-body power, the kettlebellsnatch is a lift that keeps on giving.

The kettle bell is then directed downwards until the hips “catch” the weight and the rep is repeated from the back swing or returned to the ground. The kettlebellsnatch is a true hybrid lift in that it builds strength, cardio, and power with every rep.

Launching and stabilizing a heavy weight over your head requires a tremendous effort from every muscle in your body. It is a hip hinge and thus engages the mighty posterior chain of hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors.

This team of mighty muscles provides the “pop” and power that allows the kettle bell fly up without being pulled by the arms; like the initial rocket boost that launches the space shuttle out of Earth’s atmosphere. Once the hips and legs lock out, the bell begins its journey skyward and that’s when the upper body takes command.

(Of course, the quads and glutes remain tight to give you the rock-solid foundation you need to snatch safely and efficiently.) In a flash, the core, pecs, lats, and upper back all coordinate to direct the kettle bell upward (not outwards like a swing).

The cherry on top of this sinister cupcake is the “punch” wherein the arm straightens out and absorbs the weight, supported by the triceps, shoulder girdle, and lats. Even your biceps and forearms get hit hard in this game of catch between hips and shoulders.

Before we dive into the full technique breakdown of the snatch, let’s make sure we have some prerequisites in order. Learning to snatch is no easy task, but you can expedite the process by ensuring you have a few performance standards under your belt.

A nice slow and controlled TGU should take 30-40 seconds per side, enough to demonstrate adequate endurance. Show strength and stability (on both sides) with a certain kettle bell and your shoulders are probably ready to snatch it.

Like surfing, your goal is to delicately harness the powers of gravity and momentum to ride the wave to your destination. Stand at arms-length behind a kettle bell, find your hip hinge “wedge,” grab the bell with one hand, and tip it back towards you.

> Keep solid contact between the forearm and inner thigh to prevent the kettle bell from falling down or forward (pecs and lats! At this point, all the hard work has been done by the hips and the goal is simply to direct the trajectory of the floating kettle bell.

> Keep the bell close to the body as this will ensure a smooth transition to the overhead lockout. After the hip snap, bend the elbow and pull it slightly back to direct the kettle bell vertically.

Of course, some lateral travel will be necessary because we have to stack the kettle bell over one shoulder, but that should happen naturally in the next step. Assuming you launched with good hip power and kept the kettle bell close, it should still be free-floating and feel nearly weightless as it travels past head-height.

With only a few inches to go, the bell is already resting safely on the back of the arm and you’re riding the last little of upward momentum. In fact, you can even lockout with a wide open hand to reinforce the deep palm position and to focus on the alignment and engagement of the rest of the body.

That said, plenty of kettlebellers overuse the “power exhalation” through the mouth and end up gassing out or losing focus on the actual mechanics of the lift. Every cast iron kettle bell will have different dimensions based on weight and coating materials will vary between brands.

Combine those factors with your own hand size, strength, and callus development, and we’ve got a big question mark here. Each angle will give the snatch a different feel and one might help you achieve the smoothest lockout.

Bruised forearms, torn hands, and tweaked shoulders are all but guaranteed if you jump right in to the full snatch, even if your swings and get-ups are dialed in. The good news is there are a handful of progressions that allow you to practice the various snatch techniques safely and in isolation before committing to full reps.

The high swing allows you to synchronize the hips and arms without fussing over grip changes. From the top, slowly bring the kettle bell back to the rack position (as in a military press).

Many lifters spear through too late, causing the kettle bell to crash-land and bruise the forearm, destroying any sense of control or coordination. Obviously, you won’t hold any lockout in the first few positions, but you’ll develop a feel for getting around the handle on-command.

While I recommend training these assistance moves in the sequence laid out above, your strengths and areas for improvement might dictate otherwise. As a beginner, your priority is to get comfortable with the snatch techniques and build the strength needed to handle more weight and training volume.

As an intermediate, you can incorporate snatches into strength complexes or train them for endurance and work capacity. Once you reach the end zone, snatch a light kettle bell for 50 total reps.

Click here to snag your copy and get my best, most wicked kettlebellsnatch workouts to burn fat fast and build the endurance and power of a racehorse. · The kettlebellsnatch is all about power, so even if you’re using it primarily to boost endurance, you don’t want to overdo it with the reps.

Beyond the posterior chain conditioning, the snatch is a brilliant exercise for the shoulder girdle. The snatch is an exercise in expressing power, tension, and just the right amount of relaxation almost simultaneously.

Poor shoulder and thoracic mobility will be highlighted during the snatch and demand attention. As well as being mobile the shoulders also need to be stable, so they can support the heavy load overhead.

It can be performed from the dead position or from a swing, called a circular snatch. The snatch is a full explosion of hip strength combined with deep bracing in the core to drive a weight from the ground to overhead in one movement.

No other exercise, not kettle bell swings, dead lifts, squats, rows, or bench presses require you to use as many muscles. Each rep will strengthen your calves, thighs, glutes, abs, back and shoulder muscles.

The kettlebellsnatch requires you to dynamically lift the kettle bell from the floor to overhead. In the process, you have to generate power from your hips, pull with your hand, arm, and back, and stabilize with your core.

Kettle bell Master of Sport, Mike Salem and our friend Justin Andrews from Mind Pump Media discuss the half- snatch, a move that can remove the complexity of the drop, aid in muscle growth, and is a great drill overall for practicing the kettlebellsnatch. The kettlebellsnatch is a true hybrid lift in that it builds strength, cardio, and power with every rep.

Ensure that you lock your arm out overhead with a neutral wrist at the top of the kettlebellsnatch. At the top of the snatch, slowly lower the bells to chest level (rack position), and swing them back between your legs to begin the next rep. During the clean, finish in the rack position with your arms pressing tight against your torso.

The most efficient trajectory of the kettle bell during the kettelbell snatch is keeping the bell close to your body (vertical as opposed to horizontal as with a swing). Utility: Power : Mechanics: Compound: Force: Pull: Instructions.

Stand behind kettle bell with feet slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Context is everything and realizing that even though the bilateral stance allows for maximum drive it also puts the most stress on the lumbar spine.

One reader claimed that swinging a 12-kg bell around his garden for 20-minute sessions not only toned his muscles but gave him a grueling cardio workout in the process. “Kettle bells give you the opportunity to move athletically with additional resistance from a variety of angles and more challenging positions,” explains Jon Lewis, personal trainer with Industrial Strength.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and bend your knees to lean forward and grab the handle. With your back flat, engage your lats to pull the weight between your legs (be careful with how deep you swing) then drive your hips forward and explosively pull the kettle bell up to shoulder height with your arms straight in front of you.

How to do it: Stand holding two kettle bells by your thighs, knees slightly bent and legs shoulder-width apart. In one swift movement, slightly jump off the ground and raise your arms to extend above your head.

Land softly on your feet with your knees bent as though you're doing a squat and extend your arms straight above you shoulder-width apart. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.

There are also timing issues necessary for the Snatch to avoid banging the wrists and jerking the arm. The KettlebellSnatch works the entire body from head to toe and is considered a pulling movement.

The kettlebellsnatch is certainly a cardiovascular exercise although not as much as the High Pull because you can grab periods of rest at the top of the movement. If you want to really push your cardio then the snatch will really elevate your heart rate without the need to even move your feet.

The snatch takes the kettle bell from overhead to close to the floor and back again in a matter of seconds. Poor shoulder and thoracic mobility will be highlighted during the snatch and demand attention.

As well as being mobile the shoulders also need to be stable, so they can support the heavy load overhead. The quads, hips, glutes, core and hamstrings are all certainly worked very hard just like with the Kettle bell Swing.

Unlike the swing you get a little more muscle activation at the top of the body due to the fact that the kettle bell goes overhead. Poor shoulder and thoracic mobility could lead to problems but I’ll address that issue in a little while.

Once you start practicing the snatch, one area that you will notice gets worked hard is the grip. The hip hinge is one of the most important components and enables you to drive the kettle bell upwards and absorb it on the way down.

During the snatch the kettle bell is overhead and this requires both good shoulder stability and also mobility. The Turkish Get Up teaches good static stability and conditions the small stabilizing muscles that are needed to maintain this top position.

The Turkish Get Up will also give you the confidence to hold a kettle bell safely overhead I usually wait at least 6 months usually much longer before teaching the kettlebellsnatch to clients and my kettle bell classes.

If your overhead mobility is not good then I suggest you work on improving this before you continue with the snatch or you’ll risk injury sooner than you think. Once you have mastered the Swing, Turkish Get Up, been training for 6 – 12 month sand have good Shoulder and Thoracic Mobility it’s time to begin.

As you can see from the tutorial video above the snatch is a combination of the Swing, High Pull and Press. You will find it much easier to learn the snatch from the top position downwards rather than the other way around.

Don’t overwork the snatch at the beginning, just practice 10 – 20 reps per day with a comfortable weight You will find performing the KettlebellSnatch is tough on the hands and rolls the skin.

At the overhead position keep your chin back, don’t push it forwards or you risk injuring your cervical spine. If you struggle to keep your chin back then you probably need to address your shoulder and thoracic mobility as mentioned earlier.

If you do not bend your arm and just continue the swing all the way over the top you will bang your wrist and forearm with the kettle bell. Another reason for wrist and forearm damage is usually down to bad timing at the top of the movement.

Keep your weight on your heels and load the powerful muscles at the back of the body. If you feel your weight moving towards your toes then you know that you need to load the rear of the body more.

It is important to open up the chest at the top and finish the movement with the kettle bell overhead. If you stop the kettle bell too short then the shoulders will get tired very quickly because you are not providing a rest at the top of the movement.

If you cannot take the kettle bell all the way back then be careful, you probably have shoulder or thoracic mobility issues. If you feel your grip is suffering or you are just beginning the kettlebellsnatch exercise then you can avoid the downward part of the snatch.

The corkscrew is a great snatch variation if you are training more for endurance or have grip issues The classic snatch technique is to throw the kettle bell up and over from the top position leading with the elbow.

The Over the Top variation will test your grip strength and also increase the load on your core, hamstring and glutes at the bottom of the movement. However, you can work a little more on your power generation by practicing the snatch from the floor and directly up and into the top position.

The dead snatch will require powerful hips to drive the kettle bell overhead without using the swing momentum. I like the way that as you fatigue the numbers reduce so you always feel like the desired repetitions are manageable.

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Sources
1 www.parents.com - https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/fitness/kettlebell-workouts-for-women-during-pregnancy/
2 livehealthy.chron.com - https://livehealthy.chron.com/can-kettlebell-swings-pregnant-7559.html
3 www.chroniclesofstrength.com - https://www.chroniclesofstrength.com/pregnant-yes-can-use-kettlebells/
4 www.shape.com - https://www.shape.com/fitness/videos/kettlebell-exercises-pregnant-women-are-safe-baby
5 www.strongfirst.com - https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/kettlebells-and-pregnancy.10331/