Different Forms of Kettlebell Snatch Tests

Guest post for you today from new friend of mine and “physical culture renaissance man” Logan Christopher.


Different Forms of Kettlebell Snatch Tests

by Logan Christopher, co-host, June 15th  FVT Kettlebell Workshop


If you’ve been lifting kettlebells for awhile, it’s likely that you’re familiar with one form or another of the snatch test.

The kettlebell snatch is one of the premier kettlebell exercises. It’s tested in Girevoy Sport (GS)as one of the main lifts. It’s also one of my favorites.

Lots of beginners want to move into it quickly. But it is quite a bit more technical than the swing, which is it’s foundation. I recommend that you spend a few months of consistent work building your technique and foundation with the swing before moving onto the snatch.

That doesn’t mean you can’t practice the snatch. Far from it. But a good foundation should be in place before you pursue snatching at a higher level, which any form of the snatch test will do.

So let’s talk about different forms of the kettlebell snatch test.


GS Style

In GS you are allowed a single hand switch over a span of ten minutes and attempt to get as many reps as possible.

The limitation here will almost always be the grip and it becomes very technical as you work to spare the hands from the weight as much as possible. Because of this the technique is done in as relaxed of a manner as possible and is often quite slow, with time spend waiting in the lockout.

Great for a sport, but I don’t think it’s the best thing for the average person since its requirements are quite specific.


USSS Snatch Test (Multiple Hand Switches)

That stands for the United States Secret Service Snatch Test, as that’s how this form first came into popularity. I don’t know if many people call it that anymore, but it was a big thing when kettlebells first became popular.

In Pavel’s Enter the Kettlebell, its still one part of the Rite of Passage. For a man you need to work up to 200 reps in 10 minutes with a 24kg kettlebell.

The difference between this and the GS test is that multiple hand switches are allowed. You can even set the kettlebell down and rest. But once the clock starts it runs, and here again you go for 10 minutes.

Often times for people the hands will still be the weak point. But here the focus is more on speed and conditioning.

I made it my goal to break 300 reps on this which is almost as fast as possible the full time. Some people say I wasn’t locking out every rep so it doesn’t count, but no matter how you cut it, the endurance needed for this is crazy.


Higher or Lower Minutes

Just because the main time frame used is 10 minutes doesn’t mean you can’t change that up.

I will tell you a five minute test feels like nothing compared to ten. Those second five minutes are the really hard ones. This will make it less of a test of endurance and generally more of speed.

You can also go longer. I haven’t done this one much, as 10 minutes of the same thing is about the limit of what I want to concentrate on before I get bored. This of course would make it more of an endurance game and less one of speed.


Beast Snatch Test

The typical weight for men is 24kg. If you’re competing in GS men will have to work up to 32kg to compete at the elite levels. For women its usually a 12kg bell or something a little higher.

There is a version of the USSS Snatch Test done with the 32kg for guys. This is brutal. In the near future I plan to beat 200 reps in this. But lets take it even further.

Snatch tests are not typically done with heavier weights. But I want to change that and issue a challenge out to anyone reading this.

By heavy for men I mean 48kg aka The Beast. That is the heaviest kettlebell I own though, if you have heavier you can go for it too. For women I propose a 32kg kettlebell.

Once again the time frame is 10 minutes. Of course this will have to be built up to. (So will snatching the beast for most. I remember many years ago how happy I was when I snatched the beast for the first time ever.) This is done in multiple hand switch, and rest allowed, style.

Here is my first attempt at a 5 minute version of this test. I managed 34 reps in this time. My goal in the future is to break 100 reps in a 10 minute time frame so I have a little ways to go.

For this I propose some small changes to how snatches are usually done. Since the weight is quite a bit heavier you’ll likely end up with some dip at the lockout, especially in later reps. This is fine, as long as it gets locked out overhead, and you stand up fully with it.

Secondly, because it’s a heavy weight, and the potential for injury is higher, as the weight can pull you out of place, instead of bringing it all the way done from the top, the kettlebell can be lowered to the shoulder, swung down and then snatched again. You’ll have to figure out the pacing that works for you best on this one as it will certainly be different than the other kettlebells.

Forest and I will be holding a Beginner and Advanced Kettlebell Training Workshop coming up on June 15th in Sacramento. Its your chance to build up the foundation you need to move onto advanced training like this. Limited spots are available.

Logan Christopher has been called a physical culture renaissance man for his wide range of abilities in strength and fitness. One of his specialities is kettlebells in doing the snatch, and his favorite, kettlebell juggling. But that’s only a small part of what he does which includes bodyweight training, heavy lifting and feats of strength. Check out Legendary Strength for more ideas and signup to receive 5 special reports as your free gift.

Interview with Hardcore Strength and Conditioning Specialist Travis Stoetzel

Happy Monday!  I got a killer KettlebellBasics.net expert interview for you today from my man Travis Stoetzel.

Travis is a highly unconventional hardcore strength and conditioning specialist that focuses in on serious athletes and trainees to help them improve their overall performance and physique.

He specializes training athletes specifically in aggressive sports such as wrestling, MMA, and football and does this with his unique “Aggressive Strength Method” of training.

He owns a gym in Omaha NE, called The Forged Athlete where he helps athletes and serious trainees alike accomplish their performance and physique enhancement goals.

For more information on Travis, go to his personal blog at http://www.travisstoetzel.com and look into all of the other articles, posts, and videos available or grab his FREE training system, the Lean and Mean Blueprint at www.LeanandMeanBlueprint.com

Take it away, Travis –

1. Travis, what exactly is your main program all about?

My main program Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight is first and foremost geared towards improving performance. So increases in strength, power, and conditioning all at once are my main focuses with that. Typically I focus on blending together different modalities of training such as barbell training, power and explosive training, kettlebells, sandbags, and of course body weight.

With this, drops in body fat are normal as well as gains in lean mass. One of my main focuses besides improving overall performance is improving your mindset. Tough workouts will not only make you stronger physically, I’m a HUGE believer in the mental side of things.

2. Your workouts incorporate all different forms of training – body weight, kettlebells, metabolic conditioning – and they’re HARD! What exercise methods have you studied and how do they influence your work?

From a young age I’ve been involved with bodyweight training. This was due to me being involved in wrestling at a young age. My dad got me hooked on pull ups, push ups, and sprinting very early. I LOVED it all. When I got into Middle School, that’s when I started training with weights and fell in love even more with training.

After college was done and I was finished playing in competitive sports, that when I started training with other tools such as kettlebells and sandbags. I wish I would have known about these strength tools back when I was in school!

Now, I continue to travel around to different seminars learning new things. I’ll forever be a student of strength. If there’s been a workshop or seminar on training, I’ve more then likely been there… Strongman, Olympic Lifting, Kettlebells, Sandbags, Bodyweight, Gymnastics… I love it all and I’ll forever be devoted to improving my craft.

3. Who exactly is your program for? As in is your program only for advanced folks? Or do you provide workout/exercise modifications for people who are still building up their overall fitness level?

Since my training programs are geared mainly towards performance, most people think that they are only for athletes but it’s my belief that everyone is an athlete at heart. We all need to be able to move freely, we all need to be strong, and we all need to be conditioned.

With that in mind, my programs are mainly geared towards the hardcore fitness enthusiast and power / combat athlete such as football players, wrestlers, and fighters. My programs are not typically for beginners.

With beginners, I direct them towards developing a solid base level of strength and conditioning via bodyweight training.  You can NEVER be too strong or conditioned with your own bodyweight, but that is where you need to always start in building your level of fitness.

4. What type of results have individuals experienced with your program? Could you provide a few examples?

The results that are produced through my training programs go across the board.

One client was able to shed 25 lbs of fat and at the same time add back on 10 lbs of muscle. In the same time he improved his levels of strength, power, and overall conditioning. He started from being an out-of-shape college slacker to being accepted into the Marine OCS program and winning the “Gung Ho” award that was out of 300 different candidates.  He was also able to complete the infamous, Spartan “Death Race”.

As I mentioned before, my programs not only make you stronger, more explosive, leaner, and highly conditioned physically, they will also transform you mentally as well.

There’s been literally hundreds of testimonials I’ve received over the years from clients online but one of the best I can remember is from a man I will call RD to keep his identity private. His results and feedback from my programs have truly left me speechless and proud beyond belief.

When he first found me via my YouTube channel, he was not able to complete a single workout I posted within my videos.  He stuck with it and after a while, he took the next step and invested into my program, Warrior Ripped. In short, RD lost a total of 45 lbs, gained back a solid 15 lbs of muscle and dropped 20% bodyfat going from 36% down to 16% in 12 weeks. I can remember how serious he was as he would email me every week on his progress. He told me my program not only changed his life, it saved his life. Before starting he was in a dark place at the time and was severely depressed. Building up a stronger and leaner body helped him gain his confidence of old back and now has a totally new outlook on life.
That’s what it’s all about!

Another testimonial I like to share is with one of my clients that was able to make it just a few match away from qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Wrestling Team. I’ve trained him for the last couple of years now using the methods I have within my Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight Training System. The guy started out strong but overtime we’ve made him stronger and even more of a killer within his mind.

5. Would you be kind enough to provide a sample workout or two for my readers to try out at home?

Yeah, here’s a couple of my favorites from Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight…

Phase II – Day 3

1A) KB High Pull OR Snatch (If advanced) 5 x 10/arm (for high pulls) OR 5 x 5/arm (snatch)

2A) HSPU or Wall Walks 4 x sub
2B) Bent KB 1arm Rows 4 x 8 OR Bent SB Rows 4 x 8

3A) KB 1 Leg RDL 3 x 8/leg OR SB RDL 3 x 15
3B) Inch worms 3 x 5 total

4A) SB OR KB Complex 3 rounds x 5 movements x 8 reps each
a) Clean
b) Front Squat
c) Overhead Press
d) Drop Lunge
e) Front Carry to Failure

Phase 10 – Day 2

1A) 15/30 ALL OUT Goes x 4 rounds of each of the following (15 secs ON / 30 secs REST):
a) Vertical Jumps
b) Ice Skaters

2A) SUPER HEAVY SB Shouldering – 1 rep each shoulder every 20 secs x 5 mins
3A) 1A KB Bottoms Up Press 3 x 5-8/arm – regress to regular press if need be
3B) 1A KB Bent Row 3 x 5-8/arm
3C) 1A KB Swing 3 x 8/arm

4A) HEAVY Sled Drags 4 x 50 yards (forwards x 25 yards then backwards x 25 yards)



That was awesome!  Thanks again, Travis.

Have a great week, and talk soon –


PS – To learn more about Travis’ main training system Bags, Bells and Bodyweight system, click here

It Changed My Entire Life

Guest post from Ben Teal

I had been struggling for years. I’d shed some weight on one fad diet or the other. But I never looked the way I did in college. When I was an athlete (like Forest, I played a little football, though I ultimately settled on baseball).

No. I always had what they call the “skinny-fat” look. Basically, I still looked like my 300 pound self – same shape – just 50 pounds lighter.

It wasn’t satisfying. So I’d order pizza, which sent me down a self-defeating cycle. 50 pounds gone, 43 back on. And it happened more than once.

But I was never satisfied with what I saw in the mirror.

I ultimately decided that I needed to change the way I exercise.

(Have you ever wondered why people choose to diet rather than exercise?…)

I’d been spending an hour (and often more) on the treadmill when I went to the gym.

I emphasize ‘went’ because more often than not, work got in the way. And then, when we had kids, when I wasn’t at work, I wanted to spend time with my growing family.

It seemed time was slipping away each day, and the gym was becoming less and less of a priority.

I’d tried a few programs from the fitness ‘gurus’ online. But they still required a trip to the gym and at least 45 minutes once I got there.

I spend a ton of time analyzing data. And one day, I had an epiphany. I asked a simple question. How long does a 45 minute workout at the gym actually take?

When I got home that evening, I grabbed the stopwatch. Beep. The time was running. I changed my clothes. Kissed my wife and baby boy. Got in the car. Drove to the Gym and spent a few minutes to find parking.

By the time I walked through the door, 35 minutes were already gone.

I started my workout. Sure, the workout lasted 45 minutes, but on the stopwatch, 60 minutes had passed … I spent 15 minutes or so waiting on equipment.

Back in the car. Drive home. Beep. 1 hour and 50 minutes. For a 45 minute workout.

That’s nearly 6 hours per week. I just don’t have that kind of time. And neither do you.

(That’s the reason most people choose to diet rather than exercise. We’ve been trained to believe that you need to spend an hour in the gym. When you add on trip times, you’re looking at almost 2 hours minimum per workout in actual time).

The realization was more than frustrating. I literally picked up the phone and called the ‘guru’. I explained that he was selling workouts for busy people that, once you added in all the extra time, turned out to be a second full time job.

I didn’t want to spend all that time away from my family – especially after working 60 to 70 hours per week to help put a roof over our heads and food on the table.

His response? He plainly said that 1.) I was lazy and 2.) I needed to make it a priority.

Huh? A priority over what? My son? My wife? My job?

And I was lazy because I was working 70 hours a week and then coming home to help cook, clean and take care of the baby?

That conversation literally changed my entire outlook on life.

That guru wasn’t married. He didn’t have any kids. He literally worked in a gym. When he needed a 45 minute workout, he got up out of his chair and walked out of his office. No travel time. No responsibilities.

It’s easy to call you lazy when your life doesn’t look anything like yours.

I’m a bit of a geek (ok, ok Forest. I hear you shouting at me in the background – I’m a lot geek). So I dove into the research. There had to be something out there that would work for busy people like you and me.

And there it was. The first of many studies that would turn into Metabolic Mayhem.

The answer was in the intensity of the workout. Crank up the intensity of the workout, and you can cut massive amounts of time. But that wasn’t all.

You can work out for less time, and actually burn calories LONGER.

As far as how more intensity makes your workouts more efficient, here’s a quote from a 1998 article in the Journal of Obesity:

“…three times as much energy is required to perform one bench press at 80% of one’s maximum compared to four bench presses at 20% of maximum…”

What that means is that if you work out with greater intensity, you can burn up to three times as many calories in only 1/4 of the time!

Now, let me share a quote with you from the late, great Billy Mays:

“But wait! There’s more!”

A 2002 study by European researchers found that when you exercise at the right intensity, your body can continue to burn calories at an elevated rate up to 38 hours AFTER THE WORKOUT ENDS!

That’s right. The right workouts done in the right way can keep your metabolism elevated for a day and a half!

These studies (and dozens more that support similar findings) are the backbone of Metabolic Mayhem…

And Metabolic Mayhem has been the backbone of my over 100 pound weight loss and my ability to dominate three 10+ mile Tough Mudders and 2 Spartan races.

But more importantly, it is the backbone of my desire to help people like me – busy moms and dads, aspiring ‘Warriors” and other people that are just too busy to spend hours in the gym.

By now, you’re wondering what a Metabolic Mayhem style workout looks like. Well, since we’re here at Forest Vance Training, I thought I’d put together a quick 10-minute Kettlebell workout that will knock you on the floor.

You’re going to do as many rounds as possible for 10-minutes with this Metabolic Mayhem Shred Circuit workout. Let’s call this one the Metabolic Magic Kettlebell Spell.

1. Kettlebell Swings x 10 (we’ll start with a classic).
2. Kettlebell Push Up and Renegade Row x 10
3. Kettlebell Goblet Squat x 10
4. Kettlebell Russian Twist x 10

You can do this Shred Circuit as a standalone workout if you’re really time crunched. Or, for even better (and faster) results, you can do it right after one of the Metabolic Muscle workout from Metabolic Mayhem.

Who can do the most rounds? Give it a go and let Forest and I know what you think.

Look. I strongly believe that if your workouts are lasting more than 20 minutes, you’re doing them wrong. So if you’re interested in how to lose more fat in 1/3 of the time, check out Metabolic Mayhem.

Ben Teal, Certified Metabolic Trainer
Creator of Metabolic Mayhem