How To Do The Kettlebell Snatch: Technique & Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are many great kettlebell snatch benefits, and while it can be a difficult exercise, it is well worth the effort.

What Is A Kettlebell Snatch?

A kettlebell is a training weight that resembles a cannonball with a handle on the top and is commonly used in Crossfit exercises. They come in various sizes, from 10 to 50 pounds or more. The kettlebell snatch is a combination of several kettlebell exercise moves and is generally regarded as one of the best and most effective workouts one can do with a kettlebell as per the expert trainer Steve Cotter in his book “Kettlebell Training”.

How to Do a Kettlebell Snatch?

To do a kettlebell snatch, start with the weight on the ground in front of you. Bending at the hips and knees, grab the handle and swing the kettlebell up and out with a straight arm. As your arm rises to become parallel with the ground, move your shoulder back and bend your elbow to pull the weight higher. As it rises, push your arm straight up and allow the kettlebell’s handle to pivot around your hand. The finish of the snatch should have your arm locked straight up in the air and the kettlebell resting against the back of your arm. This should be done in one smooth motion. Reverse the movement to lower the kettlebell. The snatch should be repeated several times with each arm.

Because this is one of the more complex kettlebell exercises, you should practice simpler kettlebell exercises such as the swing and the pull, before attempting the snatch. This will reduce the risk of injury. As with any new exercise routine, it’s a good idea to get advice from a professional before beginning. 

Woman in gym wear exercising doing a kettlebell snatch in a basement gym

Kettlebell Snatch Benefits

Once it is mastered, this workout can provide many benefits for the whole body.

Building Muscle

Because the snatch engages the legs, hips, arms, shoulders, and torso all together, it can strengthen and tone all of these muscle groups at once, providing a strenuous, yet effective exercise. According to a study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal by Chris Beardsley et al., kettlebell snatch is an excellent way to improve muscle performance and lower the risk of injury while performing other physical activities.

Burning Fat

With all these muscles engaged and the energy required, this exercise will burn more fat and calories than many other weight-based workouts.

Improved Body Coordination

Performing the kettlebell snatch correctly requires the use of many different parts of the body in one coherent motion, which can improve everything from balance to hand-eye coordination and focus.

Low-Impact Cardio and Aerobic Workouts

Doing many reps of the snatch will help exercise the heart and the lungs just as well as running, and without the impact on the leg joints, provided you do a challenging number of reps and sets.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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