Kettlebell Moves: Kettlebell Snatch

If you like the kettlebell snatch then check out my Kettlebell Moves page for a lot more kettlebell exercises!

Works

  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Butt
  • Back (all of it)
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Forearms
  • Grip

As you can see, there’s quite a long list of things that get worked in this exercise. That’s because the kettlebell snatch is probably the best exercise that you can do with kettlebells. In addition to strength, this exercise develops explosive power and incredible endurance! Doing this exercise in high reps will shoot your metabolic rate through the roof and literally melt the fat right off!

Snatches are a difficult move to master, and you should first attain proficiency in the swing and the clean.

Kettlebell Snatch

  1. Set your feet shoulder width or slightly wider with toes slightly pointed out. Scoot your butt back as if you’re going to sit on a stool, and grasp the handle. Keep your head up and eyes out in front of you.
  2. Swing the kettlebell back between your legs and with one smooth swinging motion, whip it overhead.
  3. Do not pull the kettlebell overhead using your arm. Use your arm as a lever between the kettlebell and the force of your hip thrust. Snap your hips and thrust your pelvis forward. It is fine if the inertia of the thrust lifts you off your heels so that you are on your toes momentarily.
  4. When the kettlebell is approximately chest level, you will bend your elbow, dip under the kettlebell and get under the weight, and punch through straight overhead into a lockout position.
  5. This punch through should be occurring by the time the bell is around head height. Doing the punch through too late will cause it to bang against your forearm. This is the most important part of the movement, because if you don’t do this correctly and the kettlebell bangs into your forearm, it will hurt like hell, cause severe bruising, or worse. This is why it is important to master the swing and the clean first. You can hurt yourself doing this move incorrectly, particularly if you are learning to do this with a heavy weight.
  6. Don’t be discouraged if you have difficulty performing this move correctly. It will take some practice. Consider wearing a wrist band over your forearm to absorb some of the force while learning this exercise.
  7. After holding the kettlebell in a lockout position overhead for just a second, let if fall back between your legs to either repeat the exercise or to set the kettlebell down. You may even lower the kettlebell to your shoulder, as if at the top of a clean, from the overhead lockout position as opposed to letting it fall (swing) back between your legs.
  8. Breathe in as you lock the kettlebell overhead and breathe out as it falls back between your legs. This high-endurance exercise will leave you feeling light headed if you do not ensure that you are breathing correctly.

Remember to keep your head up and don’t bend at the lower back!

JohnnyFit kettlebell snatch

 

10 thoughts on “Kettlebell Moves: Kettlebell Snatch”

  1. Hi Johnny,
    I have been studying this video like it’s one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and practicing the movement every day.  It feels like I’m starting the punch at the right spot, but the weight still ends up resting on my arm when I hold it overhead.  It doesn’t bang down, but your forearm doesn’t appear to have any contact with the kettlebell at all.  The only way I’ve been able to eliminate this is by gripping the handle hard just before I lock my arm then the weight kind of eases down. Before it gets touches my arm I grip the kettlebell again and start the downward swing.  I don’t think you’re doing this, in fact your grip seems really relaxed when you are holding the weight overhead. Any other tips or tricks for this movement that might get this to click?  As always, thanks for a great site!

    1. Hi Jenny, at the top of the movement, in the lockout position, the kettlebell does rest against my forearm. There is no banging or impact though. Your other observation is correct though, my grip is relaxed at the top of the movement.

      Try and time the punch through when the kettlebell is at zero gravity. The point at which it’s upward momentum has ceased and right before gravity begins to pull it back toward the ground. This is the trick to getting underneath it without banging your forearm. Then, in the lockout overhead position you can relax the grip.

      Hanging onto the kettlebell is brutal on your forearms and really works them! Having that moment of relaxed grip at the top of the move will help a lot when going for longer durations.

      Even though YouTube defaults at 360p for viewing the videos, all of my videos are filmed in 1080p HD, which means that you can adjust the setting for a clearer image if you want to enlarge the video for full screen viewing.

      Maybe this still image from the clip will show the kettlebell resting on my forearm:

      Also, here is a link to a kettlebell snatch demonstration by an instructor named Steve Cotter. He’s a little dry but a real expert on kettlebells. In this demonstration he gives a good side view.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obpGlXe3pnk

      1. I think I got it! I practiced the swing to get the zero gravity to happen at head height.  Once I had that I added the punch through. It took me a lot of tries to get the timing down, but eventually I did (at least I think so). Thanks!

          1. It is the hardest move I’ve tried so far, but I like it. I feel it the most in my back and forearms. I’m very inspired to keep doing this.

  2. Hi Johnny,
    I have been studying this video like it’s one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and practicing the movement every day.  It feels like I’m starting the punch at the right spot, but the weight still ends up resting on my arm when I hold it overhead.  It doesn’t bang down, but your forearm doesn’t appear to have any contact with the kettlebell at all.  The only way I’ve been able to eliminate this is by gripping the handle hard just before I lock my arm then the weight kind of eases down.  Before it gets touches my arm I grip the kettlebell again and start the downward swing.  I don’t think you’re doing this, in fact your grip seems really relaxed when you are holding the weight overhead.  Any other tips or tricks for this movement that might get this to click?  As always, thanks for a great site!

    1. Hi Jenny, at the top of the movement, in the lockout position, the kettlebell does rest against my forearm. There is no banging or impact though. Your other observation is correct though, my grip is relaxed at the top of the movement.

      Try and time the punch through when the kettlebell is at zero gravity. The point at which it’s upward momentum has ceased and right before gravity begins to pull it back toward the ground. This is the trick to getting underneath it without banging your forearm. Then, in the lockout overhead position you can relax the grip.

      Hanging onto the kettlebell is brutal on your forearms and really works them! Having that moment of relaxed grip at the top of the move will help a lot when going for longer durations.

      Even though YouTube defaults at 360p for viewing the videos, all of my videos are filmed in 1080p HD, which means that you can adjust the setting for a clearer image if you want to enlarge the video for full screen viewing.

      Maybe this still image from the clip will show the kettlebell resting on my forearm:

      Also, here is a link to a kettlebell snatch demonstration by an instructor named Steve Cotter. He’s a little dry but a real expert on kettlebells. In this demonstration he gives a good side view.
      http://youtu.be/obpGlXe3pnk

      1. I think I got it!  I practiced the swing to get the zero gravity to happen at head heaight.  Once I had that I added the punch through.  It took me a lot of tries to get the timing down, but eventually I did (at least I think so).  Thanks!

          1. It is the hardest move I’ve tried so far, but I like it.  I feel it the most in my back and forearms.  I’m very inspired to keep doing this.

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