22 November 2022

If you want to do more snatches- read this.


Snatches are called the king of kettlebells exercises, and for good reason. It’s a complex exercise with many technical nuances that are crucial, especially if you want to do more of its reps.

To understand this exercise, we need to break it down into key parts. Snatch movement consists of the following elements:

Key elements of snatch

1) One Hand Swing
Swing is the fundament of all ballistic exercises. Its practice should be a constant element of our plan. As far as the amount of power put into the movement is concerned, it is comparable to snatch. However, the movement is much shorter, so we can work with a bigger weight. Improvement in this element will make our snatching more confident and we will put more power into it.

2) High Pull
High pull teaches us how to effectively move the weight from the swing to overhead position, which is undoubtedly an element that saves a lot of energy.

3) Hand Insertion and drop to backswing
Hand insertion is the final phase of snatch. The right timing there is crucial for the whole movement. Errors and instability in the reception can be connected with, for example, excessive use of the grip or bruising the forearm. The drop of the weight to the backswing is also an important element. Mistakes in this may be connected with excessive fatigue of the back muscles, grip, or even hand bruising.

Few words about workout programming

If we want to go deeper into the subject of workout programming, we would have to devote a separate book to it;). So today we would just like to point out a few crucial things (with examples) that you should take into account when planning your training week.

It is advisable to divide your training days primarily by the training intensity and the number of repetitions performed (volume). Doing a lot of reps every session with a kettlebell of a target weight can bring burnout faster than progress.

Below is a proposal for the distribution of key elements on three training days:

I. High Intensity / Low Volume Day – for example: heavy swings, heavier snatches, lower repetitions .

Practicing heavy swings as mentioned earlier, will be key to making us feel our target weight in the snatch as much lighter. This day can be dedicated to working on heavier (or equal) weights in the snatch as well, but on far fewer reps. For example, if your goal weight is 16kg try this:

Example 1) One Hand Swing – 5 sets of 5 per side @20-24kg connected with
Snatch – 5 sets of 3 per side @18-20kg (Rest around 90-120seconds between sets)

Example 2)
Two Hand Swing – 5×3 @28kg
High Pull – 5×4 @20kg
Snatch – 5×5 @16kg (10-15sec rest between exercises, 90-120sec between sets)

Make sure you get enough rest between sets, so that you approach each set recovered and putting your maximum effort into each repetition. If you feel out of energy, use a smaller weight or reduce repetitions (for example by 1 rep).

II. Moderate Day / Higher Volume – snatches at target weight and given tempo

The key training day where we work with our target weight (let’s keep the previously mentioned 16kg). On this day we want to get as close as possible to our target weight and pace. Let’s give an example that we aim to work comfortably for a higher number of repetitions in one set.

Example 1) Pyramid of repetitions: 2-4 sets of reps pyramid of 4-6-8-6-4 each side. On subsequent workouts you try to add reps to the pyramid (for example 5-7-9-7-5). You can also use an inverted pyramid as your endurance increases (for example 8-6-4-6-8). Try to keep your intervals short between repetitions and long enough between sets.

Example 2)
EMOM – every minute on the minute. EMOM workouts challenge you to complete an exercise for a certain number of reps in less than 60 seconds. The remaining time within the minute serves as your recovery. For example you can do 10 minutes of EMOM with 5 reps snatch per side in every minute. Goal here is too choose comfortable reps scheme to start and progress every week with reps in a emom set. You can increase number of minutes as well.

III. Easy Day / Technique Work and Conditioning – focus on technique, working with lighter weights + conditioning

The lightest of the three training days, but definitely not the least important. This is a day dedicated to the technique of snatch, so we will work with a smaller weight than the target one. The number of repetitions in a sets can be higher than on day two. It is worth including in this day work on technique (high pull, hand insertion) and conditioning exercises not only with kettlebells, such as running, cycling, ergometer rowing etc.

Example 1)
KB Snatch 4×12 per side @12kg
Ergometer Row / Biking Sprints 4×20-30sec (Rest 90 sec between sets)

Mental attitude and test day

Kettlebell snatch is an exercise demanding not only in terms of technique. Testing yourself for a large number of repetitions e.g. in 5 or 10 minutes (or even in shorter 3 minute sprints) can be really difficult.

You have to be mentally prepared for the fact that at some point there will come a strength or endurance crisis. Leaving your comfort zone and breaking an old record is not easy. Elements such as conscious work on breathing, strategy of the number of repetitions performed, moments of changing hands are important.

But at the end of the day, all that will count in high fatigue is strength of character and tenacity?