How to Master the Kettlebell Snatch

by admin on July 23, 2013

Thanks again SO much for the great feedback on yesterday’s request.  I will be working hard in the coming days and weeks to cover the topics you want to know more about and help you get the results you desire!

One of the top requested topics was how to perform the kettlebell snatch correctly.  So, that is the topic of today’s article.  I hope it helps -


Mastering the Kettlebell Snatch

The snatch is one of the best exercises around for building world-class conditioning with kettlebells. However, learning and mastering proper technique in this exercise can be very tricky.

By breaking the movement down into three steps, we can drastically cut the learning curve and help you learn how to do the movement efficiently and effectively in as fast a time as humanly possible!


Here are the three main elements of mastering the kettlebell snatch:

1. The Lockout

You’ll start with a kettlebell between the feet in a sumo deadlift position. Cheat curl the ‘bell up to your shoulder and press it up over your head.  All we’re trying to do is get comfortable with our overhead lockout position.

The bicep should be right by the ear. A common mistake is to hold the ‘bell slightly in front of the body. If you lack proper shoulder mobility, this is likely going to be a problem for you (all the more reason to practice your Turkish getups).

A great drill to practice and get comfortable in this lockout position is an overhead walk. To perform this drill, you would simply get the KB pressed over your head and walk around the room with it. If your elbow is bent, or the kettlebell is out in front of you too far, this is nearly impossible – and that this drill is very self-correcting is part of the beauty of it.


For a complete breakdown of how to do the kettlebell snatch – with pictures, video illustration, etc. – check out the new-and-improved-for-2013 Quick Start Guide HERE


2. The Downswing

To start the downswing phase of the snatch, from your overhead lockout position, think about closing the distance from the elbow to the rib cage as fast as possible to bring the kettlebell down.

The arc of the snatch is much closer to the body than the arc of the swing.

Another good coaching point for this part of the snatch is to think about throwing the kettlebell through the stomach.

If you were to take a snapshot of the kettlebell at the bottom position, it would look identical a one arm swing (another reason why it’s so important that you master the HardStyle swing before moving on to more advanced drills like the snatch).


3. The Upswing

We’ve now progressed to performing a full kettlebell snatch. We’ll start with the ‘bell about one foot in front of us (the same set up as a swing).

To start the move, hike pass the weight back – again, the same ‘start’ as the swing. But, instead of swinging the weight in front of you and up to shoulder height, we’re going to go straight overhead with the move into a snatch.



The arc of snatch is much closer to the body than the swing. And so to drill this idea down, we’ll perform the following progression:

  • Three one-hand swings.
  • Three high pulls – try to make the ‘bell ‘float’ at the top by pulling the elbow back and snapping the hips simultaneously.
  • Three snatches. The snatch will simply be an extension of the high pull. The weight floats at the top during the high pull, and then we get our hand around the ‘bell to finish the snatch.

In summary, the kettlebell snatch is a somewhat difficult exercise to master technique-wise, but it’s well worth it considering the benefits it provides. Use the three steps outlined in this article to fast track your learning curve in learning the kettlebell snatch!

Train hard, and talk soon -

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

PS - For a complete breakdown of how to do the kettlebell snatch – with pictures, video illustration, etc. – check out the new-and-improved-for-2013 Quick Start Guide HERE


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