It doesn’t matter what you goal is – improve conditioning,
burn off some fat, or simply get stronger –
You should be snatching.
Sure, you shouldn’t start there, but in my opinion – you
want to learn how to do them sooner rather than later.
After all, they’re not called the Tsar (King) of kettlebell
exercises for nothing.
Before I tell you about the modification here’s what
many people do:
Many people toss the bell between their legs thumb
first – pointing their thumb back.
There’s a problem with doing this though.
Although the benefit is that the KB rolls around the
wrist on the top of the snatch, keeping the bell from
banging the back of the wrist – it can mess you
up pretty badly in the long run.
The upper arm internally rotates, often unpacking
the shoulder on the backswing.
So it’s a shoulder danger.
Because the upper arm is internally rotated, the
torso will rotate moving the side that’s holding
the bell toward the floor.
Then looking down the chain at the hips, you’ll
notice the hips rotate and the lower back doesn’t
So when you snap your hips to stand up and
launch the bell over head, you’ll see a “shimmy” –
or a hip wiggle – where one hip reaches lockout
before the other.
Several bad things can happen from doing this:
1. You can hurt your elbow or shoulder from
unpacking the shoulder and yanking on the
2. Hurt the lower back – flexion and rotation
is not a great combination. You can argue
that you’re keeping the spine “fixed and folding”
through the hips, but that’s not always the case.
Rotating into one hip, means you rotate out of
the other. And a lot of times, that side you don’t
fully engage the hip on, you compensate with
by mildly flexing through the lower back.
Not a good idea.
3. And then there’s the hips. Because you’re
overloading one side – over-rotating – the side
your overloading doesn’t actually just flex –
It also internally rotates. Internal hip rotation plus
flexion when there’s a lack of mobility, can cause
a hip impingement.
Not fun. That can turn into bad things.
So, what’s the technique modification you should
Toss the kettlebell back pinky first so the hand
passes underneath the legs with the hand at
about 45 degrees.
This will do the following:
1. Keep the shoulder packed for the duration
of the movement / rep
2. Squares the torso keeping the lower back flat
3. Keeps the “fold” of the hips – the hinge – without
any sort of internal rotation, ensuring you don’t
jack up your hips.
What kind of results will you experience from
Well I showed Jason Marshall, SFG Team Leader, this
technique yesterday while we were at the StrongFirst
Leadership meeting, and he said it made the KB feel
anywhere from a half to a whole bell size lighter.
That’s not insignificant.
Think about that.
It makes your 24kg feel like a 20kg, maybe even
Anytime you make technique changes you have
to be smart about it.
Don’t just jump right in and go rep for rep in your
regular workout though – you could end up experiencing
some muscle strains.
Instead practice this new technique modification
with a lower volume and a higher frequency until your
body gets use to it.
A good place to start is with the “King-Sized Killer”
program from “Kettlebell Express!”.
It’s 3 workouts a week – 20 minutes each where you
will focus your time and energy on performing the
Snatch with lower numbers to get used to this
This will keep you covered for the next 9 weeks.
From there, go to the KSK 2.0 for a bigger snatch
Here’s where you get the “King-Sized Killer.”
Imagine, what your new, refined technique will
do to your body in the next 9 weeks.
What kind of progress could you make if you jumped
up a half – or even a whole bell size?
I bet the changes would be more than noticeable.
Let me know how you get on.
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