Learning the Snatch

The snatch is a great exercise for building explosive power and is also great for getting your metabolism revving.

When I teach the snatch, as with all the other lifts, I break it down into its component parts. The first step is the high pull.
The high pull is different to the high Row in that a high Row moves in a more vertical plane up the center line of the body whereas the high Pull is more in a high horizontal direction and that is why it can take some time to learn.

After a strong 1-Arm swing, pull the kettlebell towards the outside of your head on the side you’re swinging on, leading with your elbow. The bell should feel like it is floating for a second and then guide it forward and back into the backswing. Doing multiple repetitions of the high pull can lead to a breakdown in form. I recommend performing 2-3 swings and then one high pull. This will not only make the high pull form much smoother it also teaches you how to transfer from the swing into the high pull.
Here’s a front and side demo:


Once you have got the hang of the high pull the next phase is the half snatch.
A half snatch is basically a snatch without the long drop back into a swing, which can a bit of practice to get right. Instead we lower the kettlebell back down into the rack position so as to remove the potential for breaking form.
To transition from the high pull into the overhead position, as you reach the float point of the high pull allow your elbow to drop as you punch straight up with the hand holding the kettlebell. As you do this it is important to loosen your grip as you punch to allow the handle to rotate in your hand making for a smooth and soft roll onto your forearm, remembering to pull the shoulder blade down to stabilize that shoulder. Next lower the bell down into the rack position, from here you can cast back out into a backswing for another rep.


Once you have got to the point you are comfortable with snatching up to the overhead position its time to practice the drop into the backswing.
From the overhead position, lean your upper torso back and allowing the kettlebell to begin its descent, I like to turn my hand pinkies inward to allow the bell to swing on the outside of my arm as opposed to flipping the bell over. As the bell drops, just like with a regular swing, wait for your triceps to connect with your torso an then hinge at the hips as you would with a swing.


It can take a bit of practice to get the timing of the drop and hinge right so just stick at it and you’ll be snatching for time before you know it.

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