How to go heavier, and get more reps out with the 10 minute kettlebell sport snatch where only 1 hand change is allowed.
The king of kettlebell exercises, the snatch, is my favourite kettlebell exercise.
The snatch is a dynamic and flowing exercise, and although at times it may seem like an easy exercise, it’s actually a very technical exercise.
Many times a lifter stops progressing in the snatch, while there is always little and constant progression in the jerk or longcycle. Going on a platform with a jerk or LC set, one can predict very precisely how many reps he will do. With the Snatch, you never know how it will be, as one little mistake can destroy all your plans.
In this article I’ll explain important things which can affect the snatch and how to improve them.
You can choose one technique and try to perfect it, or you can learn more techniques and use them all—while trying to perfect them too.
I think someone can get great results being super specific in only one technique. As for me, I prefer to use different techniques and change them during my snatch set according to the dominancy of big muscles I want to use, and in correlation with my overall endurance condition and forearm fatigue.
We can point out 3 main techniques according to major muscles: using more legs, using more back, or using back and legs.
1. Using the legs
With this technique the power comes from pushing the floor with the opposite leg. There is no pushing of the forearm forward with body/hips. The trajectory is short and there is less of a curve.
Major muscles used: quadriceps, upper trapezius.
I use this technique when:
- The kettlebell is heavy
- My forearm is tired but my overall endurance feels still good
- When I need to work in high pace/sprint
- At the end of 10 min where is nothing left to lose
Most kettlebell lifters finish their snatch set prematurely because their grip on the handle gives up. With the above mentioned technique the forearm is not being pushed forward with our body, therefore this technique is most friendly for the wrist and forearm. Because the movement is short, it allows you to work in high pace.
- This technique can raise your heart rate very fast
- One should be super fit and have great endurance to use this technique for the full 10 minutes
- There is no “big backswing” or knees lockout which allows quadriceps relaxation
Finding a good and comfortable overhead fixation position will help you to maintain your heart rate while breathing and relaxing your quadriceps
It’s more comfortable to use this technique when you hold the handle near the corner that close to you (after you drop it from high fixation and re-grip it). Usually the wrist is in pronation with this grip.
2. Using the back
Most of power comes from back extension, hip hinge, upper trapezius. You can push your forearm with your body. The trajectory is long and curved.
Major muscles : back, hamstrings, upper trapezius
I use this technique when:
- I want to cool down my HR
- My legs are fatiguing
- My forearms are still “fresh”
- Using light weight
This technique allows you to easily maintain your HR, and is the easiest technique for your overall condition, heart-rate is not going up fast. The trajectory is the longest one and takes more time-so u can rest.
- The trajectory is long-pace and slow
- This technique is the most unfriendly for wrists and forearms (especially if you’re pushing your hand with your body)
- High level lifters manage to relax forearms with this grip due to perfect technique; good “kb hook grip”; being very gentle in the re-grip phase and synchronised
- One should have extreme technique and/or have super- conditioned forearms to work long distance with heavy kb
It’s better to hold a kb in the corner that’s far from you (it will also help for better hand insertion in high fixation), but this will lead to a maximum load and rotation on your wrist and forearm. You can choose a pronation grip too.
2. Using the back and legs
The power comes from the back and leg muscles. You can push the hand forward with the body. The back and legs works with 1/2 to 1/4 range of motion, and the trajectory is longer and more curved.
Major muscles used: back, legs.
I use this technique when:
- The kettlebell is a heavy
- I need my back and legs to work with intermediate intensity
- I need to cool down the heart rate after using “more legs” technique
In this technique I use a grip in the centre of the handle and usually in pronation, this is also a forearm, wrist friendly grip, because there is less rotation in the wrist at the bottom phase of the snatch. It’s easier to keep HR moderate with this technique.
- The movement is longer than with the “legs technique” and the pace will be lower
- When pushing the forearm with the body we create a big load on our forearm and wrist
It’s more comfortable to use this technique when you hold the kettlebell in the centre of the handle. Usually the wrist is in pronation with this grip. You can use a mid position grip too.
BACK DEFINED: When I refer to the back, I mean upper and lower back. When the angle between the body and legs is decreased, the back muscles work more, and the angle in the knees is bigger. When you squat, more legs muscles are involved, and you push also from the ground, the quadriceps is a main muscle here.
There are many other important things to pay attention to:
- How to be mentally strong and survive 10 min sets
- “Finishes” -special techniques that help you to do 20-40 reps more after you thought you’d already finished
and much more …. but that’s a topic for another article! Stay tuned.
be strong and help others to be strong
Written by Michael Lisichkin from Powerbells
Edited by Taco Fleur