I was working with one of my friends on Sunday.
We were going over the proper backswing and one of
the most common mistakes people make:
Hinging too early on the backswing of their ballistics.
Are you making this mistake?
I’d bet dollars to donuts you are.
Most people make it.
It quite simply means that your upper arm is still in the air
and disconnected from your body when you start to sit
back into your swings, cleans, and snatches.
It’s an easy fix:
After you snap your hips and stand up at the top of your
swing, let the KB fall back toward your hips until your feel
your upper arm(s) contact your side.
At that point, the KB should be relatively close to hitting
you in the groin.
Then, get out of the way at the last minute.
This protects your back and gives you a more powerful
hip snap on the next rep.
You may have to use a lighter KB like my buddy did.
And you’ll have to practice.
The whole point in covering this for him – and probably
you – was to teach him how to completely rely on his
hips for his snatch test –
Which he tends to “arm” – that is – to use his arms to
snatch instead of using his hips.
“Hips drive, arms guide” is a handy saying to burn into
the forefront of your mind while doing any KB ballistic.
And that got us talking about the groove on the Snatch
Does your arm stay straight on the Snatch – like a super
high swing that just gets turned over at the top?
Or do you keep the KB close like you would on an Olympic
He wanted to know what I did/do.
I can do both.
But traditionally, and especially if I’m snatching a heavier
KB, I keep the KB close the body.
And that makes sense because of my background with
the Olympic lifts. We’re taught to pull the bar close to
Plus, it’s more efficient.
The shortest distance between two point is still a straight
Or in this case – as straight of a line as we can make it
while still loading the hips and sparing the grip.
(If you go completely straight, it really over-taxes the grip,
the biceps, and the shoulder because it is very difficult
to load your hips and therefore you end up “arming” your
snatch like my buddy was.)
It’s the closest thing to giving your KB a hug.
So work on keeping the KB close to your body on the
backswing of all your ballistics and throughout your
You’ll be rewarded with more powerful Swings and
Snatches which means you’ll not only get stronger
faster, but if you’re after fat loss, you’ll burn more
calories because you’re doing more work.
“Hugging” is a good deal all around.
It also proves the importance of technique:
1) Being aware of what good technique is
2) How to fix your current technique and make it “good”
and even “better”
3) And learning what limitations you have that are keeping
you from having “good” technique and removing them
This is especially important in the double kettlebell lifts
which every wants to do.
Because they are way less forgiving on the body than
the single KB lifts.
For complete technique instructions including common
mistakes and restrictions and how to fix them, get your
copy of the “Kettlebell STRONG!” DVDs and book here.