How to Perform the Kettlebell Snatch

How to Perform the Kettlebell Snatch

The Snatch: Why we do it

The Snatch is the Tsar of kettlebell lifts. It’s the exercise that’s tested instead of the pushup in the Russian armed forces.  The snatch forges iron backs, hips, and grips, develops outstanding cardio-respitory endurance, and has tremendous carryover to running, jumping, fighting, etc. Last but not least, the kettlebell snatch also builds willpower and pain tolerance.

Breaking it Down to the Basics:

As with all ballistic kettlebell exercises, the snatch is powered by the hips. The arms are merely there to guide the kettlebell home. You can think of the snatch as a three-stage rocket. The most powerful stage is the first, and it begins with the hips. They drive the kettlebell up until it reaches about chest level. The second stage is relies on the muscles of the upper back that drive your shoulder back… as if you are starting a lawn mower. Note: this stage is faster than the first but less powerful.  By the time the third stage, your arm and shoulder, kicks in, the kettlebell must be floating weightlessly. As with launching a spacecraft, the last stage is very fast but not all that powerful. Think of this like a jab, not a cross. Your arm is not supposed to lift the kettlebell. It’s just to steer it into orbit.

How to Finish the Snatch:

On the very top of the high pull, when the kettlebell is floating, quickly spear your hand through the handle straight up, and the kettlebell will rest comfortable on the outside of your forearm. Throw your hand up like a hyper-excited little kid in grade school who knows the answer to whatever the teacher just asked. Remember not to squeeze the handle but rather point the fingers.

Regardless of your fitness goals, the snatch will help you get there. Enjoy the pain.

Free Beach Workout:


Just a reminder that Coach O will be having a free training session down at the beach this coming Saturday @ 11am. Coach O will be on the grass patch right next to the Santa Monica Pier at 10:45 so just look for him. Get ready for some fun in the sun with a healthy dose of exercise.

This week in Strength and Conditioning:


Coming up this week in class we will be going over unilateral exercises for athletic performance. Unilateral (single sided) exercises are amazing at making the body less susceptible to injury and building functional mobility. They also help improve the qualities needed for sports ex: agility, endurance, speed, and strength. The exercises that will be covered this week in class include: single leg Romanian Deadlift, split squats, the snatch, the press, and tactical lunges.


It is important this week that you wear shoes that are a flat as possible. Acceptable types of shoes include: Converse Chucks, Minimus type running shoes, Vibrams, Vans, or socks. DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS! You could hurt yourself or your classmates