Snatch! This word elicits some chuckles every time it is mentioned in a room or gym especially where the audience is non kettlebell lifters. However, you can think of it as a magic word to overall body fitness. The kettlebell snatch, when done well, is an elegant movement which benefits your body, brain, and soul.
Almost every muscle in your body will be engaged when you do the perfect kettlebell snatch, making this exercise invaluable. The snatch is the next move people think of right after the swing when dealing with kettlebells.
Almost every kettlebell lover wants to rush snatching because it is an advanced skill, and it looks awesome when done well. However, it takes time to master despite looking easy. In fact, if you don’t know what you are doing, you are at high risk of banging up your wrists, dislocating your shoulders, or even worse, end up seriously injured. A bad snatch can get you hurt.
If you need to learn the drills of a perfect snatch, this will help you master it, keep you injury free as well as allow you to enjoy the full benefits of a perfect kettlebell snatch.
How Kettlebell Snatch Affects Your Body
Kettlebell snatch is very demanding but beneficial to the entire body. You can use it to effectively train the posterior chain muscles of the body, the gluteus, hamstrings, and the lower back. Kettlebell snatch also train the muscles along the back of the body which are usually neglected or minimally recruited in many workout routines.
Additionally, hip flexors are also trained with kettlebell snatch. This is because this exercise requires strong core activation. Moreover, the finishing stages of snatch engage the entire arm and shoulder muscles, this is important for shoulder health and postural integrity.
How to Do A Perfect Kettlebell Snatch
To enjoy the full benefits of kettlebell snatch, you have to first master how to it well. In the next few paragraphs, I am going to outline step-by-step instruction for a perfect kettlebell snatch:
Step 1; Hike, Clean and Press
The first step to doing a perfect kettlebell snatch is mastering the steps of the Hike, the Clean and the Military press. It serves as a foundation and a starting point to a perfect kettlebell snatch. If you have not learned this skill, go and learn it before you continue.
When you are ready, the first step is Hike, Clean and Press the bell to the overhead position.
Step 2: Lockout Position
With this position, you will ensure that you’ve maintained the proper mobility and stability in a static state before you start making a ballistic move. Ensure that you have sufficient amount of shoulder mobility to lockout your arm overhead with a straight arm by your ear or just behind the ear.
Next, ensure you have proper stability for the given weight before you snatch it overhead. You are ready to move over to the next drill once you’ve ensured that you are maintaining enough stability and you can do overhead carries with a solid straight arm without bending the wrist.
Step 3: Horizontal Snatch
Horizontal Snatch is done with a very light bell. It involves a very quick movement just like snapping someone with a towel.
To do this, you will need to first hinge at the hips and hike the bell. Pull the bell close to your body as you begin to snap your hips and make sure that your elbow is attached to your ribcage.
Punch your fist out in front of you starting from the elbow to straight arm immediately you are done with the hip snap with a tension breath.
Step 4: High Pull
High Pull is a lead-up exercise to a perfect snatch. Just like we did with horizontal snatch, you will need to hinge, hike and snap. However, ensure you keep the arm closer and then bring the elbow high like you are trying to elbow someone behind you.
You should do this movement very quickly. Note that the bell should float when the elbow is high by your ear. Once completed, you should quickly re-hike for another rep.
Make sure that you are not gripping the bell too tightly. If you do, the handle will droop and pull on the wrist and shoulder; this is why most people get hurt.
Step 5: Snatch
For an appropriate snatch, you need to begin the set up with a hinge and hike pass the bell with an inhale. Keep the bell close to your body on the way back up as you start the hip snap.
Carefully pull the bell up to high pull position. For the next step, quickly punch through bell in an upward motion toward the ceiling as it begins to float by your ear.
Ensure you maintain a solid overhead lockout position and allow the bell to be sitting softly on your strong, straight wrist. Pause occasionally, re-hike and repeat for next rep.
Common Mistake Kettlebell Beginners Make
It’s common to see beginners making some mistake. If you are making mistakes, it’s normal. You should try to improve with the next attempt. Below are some of the most common mistakes:
1. Pulling with Arms
It is not hard to see some beginners trying to use a kettlebell by bending at the waist, rounding their back and pulling with their arm so they can move the weight of the kettlebell. Don’t use arm, instead you use hips or upper body to move the kettlebell
2. Lifting Heavy Kettlebell before you’ve got the Form Down
Don’t be in rush to grab the heaviest kettlebell that you can handle, try to master the proper form first then you can gradually increase the weights
3. Swinging the Kettlebell too Fast
This is how most people get injured. You risk pulling a muscle when you swing a heavy weight kettlebell too fast without control. Learn how to swing slower, with controlled movement, this will help strengthen your stability muscles and larger muscles group.
4. Concentrating More on Quantity Instead of Quality
Most people think since 5 reps are good, then 20 reps must be better. This is a wrong assumption. Focus on completing a short number of reps say 10 with perfect form before increasing the number of reps.
5. Assuming they can Do it Without Help
Don’t be deceived by the YouTube video that makes kettlebell snatching really cool and easy, you will still need some lessons from a coach or friend to do your first kettlebell snatch.