3 Kettlebell Workouts for CrossFit

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These three kettlebell workouts have been specifically designed for use in the Kettlebell Swing and Snatch Efficiency in CrossFit Workshop, but they can just as easily be used outside of the workshop. The workouts are awesome and to be performed one after the other, with up to one or two minutes rest in between!

WOD #1

100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings

FOR TIME

  • Switch when required, switch does not count as a rep.
  • Swing height is to hand inline with shoulder.
  • Any swing style allowed, in fact, it’s promoted to switch it up a bit and use the different styles explored within the workshop.
  • Participants can chose their own weight, a weight they think they can complete the 100 reps without putting the weight down. But assess to make sure the weight is not too light and the participant will not need to generate power with the legs.
  • If the weight is put down before completion, 5 jump clap burpees.

 

WOD #2

2 Hang Snatches
2 Overhead Squats
5 Chest Push-ups
5 Swing Snatches

10 minute AMRAP

  • Participants can chose their own weight. But, make sure the weight is not too light, otherwise you’ll see that the participant won’t be generating power with the legs and simply turn it into a raise and press.
  • Reps only count with a full lockout required for anything overhead.
  • Hip hinge pendulum style required for the Swing Snatches.
  • One kettlebell.
  • First left side then right side.

Participants need to be assessed first, they might be great with overhead barbell work, but overhead kettlebell work which is a completely different game. The alternative for the overhead squat is clean and front squat.

 

WOD #3

100 Double Kettlebell Snatches or American Swings

FOR TIME

  • Participants can chose their own weight, but I do recommend heavier weight for the people that chose American Swings and have been doing them for a while. The workshop covered some techniques to make the American Swing more efficient, and this is the time to show they’ve been paying attention and put that to practise.
  • Reps only count with a full overhead lockout, knees and hips extended.
  • Dipping/quarter squatting under the weight is allowed, even with the American swing, as long as a full body lockout is achieved.
  • If the weight is put down before completion, 5 jump clap burpees.

 

A video of the workouts can be found below.

 

The reasons for the exercises and rules are as follows, and whether you did the workshop or not, this might be interesting.

100 single arm swings ‘any style’ is to allow the participants to put into action what they learned in the workshop, they can switch styles as they please, and also implement the Swing Switch. The switch is not counted as a rep, because we want to avoid the switch as much as possible and have the athletes work on the refinement of their technique, the grip, relax, closed hook grip etc. The single arm swing is also included because it’s the foundation for a good kettlebell snatch.

The second WOD has hang and swing snatches, low reps for the hang snatches and higher reps for the swing snatches, to reinforce that if you’re allowed to chose between variations, you chose hang for low reps and swing for higher reps. The overhead squat is programmed to tax the shoulders and whole overhead position, so that during the swing snatch, the participant needs to focus on using the lower body for power generation rather than using the shoulders. Furthermore, it’s chosen to expose some weaknesses in CrossFit, yes, there is a lot of overhead work in CrossFit, but mostly in an overhead ‘V’ position, rather than arms directly above the shoulders ‘U’.

The chest push-ups are put in to tax the shoulders a bit more, but also because I personally don’t see enough of chest push-ups in CrossFit, yes I see some barbell chest presses programmed during strength sessions, but not chest push-ups during WODs. Why not? I’ve heard the whole, tricep push-ups is more specific for the exercises we do like ring muscle ups etc. but…. I thought as CrossFit we were not doing specific stuff and train in everything and anything? Start programming some more chest push-ups people.

The double kettlebell snatches are put in because they can be so similar to the American Swing, they’re also great to work on the overhead position and weaknesses.

 

Following is a video of slow-mo snatch variations, this will also help you refine some of the technique covered in the workshop, just give us a like by clicking one of the buttons below to get access to the video, or sign in if you’re a free member.

 

Some observations of what you’ll usually see with athletes that are new to working with the kettlebell, but have been snatching barbells for a while.

  • direction of the overhead lockout is lateral rather than directly over the shoulder
  • lots of space between the elbow and the body after cleaning a kettlebell
  • non working arm is resting on the leg and/or not coming along fluidly
  • staying upright in the hip hinge, favouring more of the hang snatch

 

Remember, if you walk away from this workshop with:

  • sore forearms; or
  • sore hands; or
  • ripped calluses; or
  • sore shoulders; or
  • sore lower-back

Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s not because you did not learn anything, it’s because there is so much that you picked up which takes time to implement and practise. Practise. Practise. If you completed the workshop, you should watch the video provided to you, buy the workshop manual, analyse your own movement and read the manual till you’ve perfected all the little tips.

 

Kettlebells in CrossFit

Check out the Kettlebells in CrossFit Project if you’re a fan of kettlebells and/or just want to see more of them in CrossFit, whether it’s for working out, training or mobility.

 

I leave you with this last video, the CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch, covering a lot of stuff from the workshop.

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