CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch

Master The CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch

Master The CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch

No, the kettlebell snatch does not belong to CrossFit, just like no other movement does, all movements were performed way before CrossFit came out. But if someone is into CrossFit and wants to learn about the kettlebell snatch performed in CrossFit, then they will search for CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch, hence the title, now relax, sit back and read on.

Searching on Youtube for the CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch gives us the video below, which I personally think is not very good, as it starts with a horrible one arm swing and when she gets to the snatching part it turns into a hang snatch, which isn’t a bad thing, but if you’re starting the demonstration with a swing —hence you’re going to demonstrate the swing snatch— well then you can’t really put much trust in the rest of the video.

“shoulder in your ear”!?? more here.


CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch Movement Standards

The movement standard for the kettlebell snatch is as follows, on each rep:

  1. the kettlebell must reach hanging position
  2. the movement must be continuous and explosive
  3. the kettlebell must reach full overhead lock-out
  4. the knees and hips must be extended in overhead lock-out
  5. the drop is full

Note: hanging position is also in a swing. Resting in overhead lock-out is allowed.

Like kettlebell sport, CrossFit is all about efficiency, getting in as many reps as possible, the quickest and most efficient way, even while training for efficiency, the only time it’s not, is when you’re training, training to strengthen other areas.

To get efficient at something you need to understand it and be able to break it down so that you can use what you need, when you need it. This can be knowing when to utilise what style, for example utilising hardstyle snatch technique when you only need to pump out 5 or 10 reps, i.e. anything in the low rep range, this can be utilising kettlebell sport style technique when you need to pace yourself and do high volume, or it can be kettlebell training style for anything in between.

When you know the movement standards, then you know you need to get that weight from a low position to overhead position in an explosive continuos movement, without stopping during the rep and without using your non working arm to assist. But you can get even more efficient if you know your snatch and have broken it down into:


  1. kettlebell training
  2. hardstyle
  3. sport

Punch through AKA hand insert

  1. cork screw
  2. door knock

Lockout direction

  1. neutral
  2. forward


  1. dead
  2. hang


  1. pull
  2. swing


  1. reverse lunge
  2. split lunge
  3. squat
  4. neutral

Note: I have only included those categories that are relevant to the CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch, if you want to see all categories and the full breakdown, check out this article once you’re done here.

You already know when you should implement what style, next you can look at the punch through, if you’re doing low reps, the door knock might be the way to go, which is more explosive and mostly used in hardstyle, but if you’re doing high volume or have issues with skin ripping, bruising on the forearms etc. then you want to be looking at utilising the corkscrew punch through.

The lockout direction dictates the way your palm is pointing, if it’s pointing to the front it’s called forward, if it’s pointing more inwards/medially, then it’s called neutral, the neutral version requires less muscle activation, as no pronation is required, however, sometimes it’s easier with the palm facing forward to push the chest forward and get the kettlebell above the shoulder with good tricep lock-out. Give it a go.

The most important thing with efficiency is to be able to break things down and know what does what, so you know when to use it, as efficiency does not always require the same techniques, if you’re fresh, then squatting under the snatch is not efficient, as it requires extra movement and additional muscle contraction, but if your shoulders are gassed and your legs are still fresh, then you want to be squatting under the kettlebell to be able to keep moving without rest. Especially in competition. Thus knowing when to change the way you receive the kettlebell snatch becomes important.

If your traps are nice and fresh, then you might want to pull more, as pulling is afterall the shortest and fastest path to lockout, i.e. from hang to overhead is faster than from swing to overhead, but if your trapezius have had enough and are calling for a truce, then it’s time to start swinging baby. And depending on the number of reps required you adjust the style of swing. Of course there is way more to it than covered here, the snatch is amazing, breaking it down is awesome, knowing what to do and when is tops! If you’re interested in more, then follow the Kettlebells in CrossFit project, or pre-order the ebook coming out in 2 to 3 months.

If you want to check out the quality of what you can expect, then buy the book Master The Kettlebell Press.


Check out this playlist of snatch videos from the Cavemantraining youtube channel.


PS. I felt ok naming this “Master The CrossFit Kettlebell Snatch” even though this is not enough info to master the kettlebell snatch, but after seeing this, well…

As always, your comments below or on this Facebook post. Go on, any help, or if you got negative stuff to vent, it’s fine too.

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