July 02, 2021 9 min read
Kettlebells are hands-down one of the best, most versatile pieces of gym equipment. And, kettlebell snatches are one of the best kettlebell exercises that you can do.
However, like all exercises, kettlebell snatches require perfect form.
Without the right form, not only will you miss out on many of the potential benefits of the exercise, but you'll also be more likely to get injured. With that said, here's our step-by-step guide on how to do kettlebell snatches with proper form!
As we mentioned above, kettlebell snatches are an amazing exercise because they have many benefits. Here are a few of the top benefits of adding them to your regular workout routine:
So, kettlebell snatches work your full body. Muscles in the lower body, core, and upper body all get activated real quick. But, some get activated more than others, particularly those in the posterior chain. Here are the primary muscles that do the most amount of work in kettlebell snatches:
Ready to give kettlebell snatches a try? Given all their benefits, we would think that any and everyone would be! But, before getting started, make sure that you understand how to do them with proper form. That way, you not only get all the benefits of the exercise, but you also minimize the risk of getting injured while doing them.
Here’s exactly how to do kettlebell snatches with proper form:
Kettlebell snatches are an intricate and technical exercise. Therefore, consider these extra form tips and tricks before getting started!
1. Create fluidity: The goal of the exercise is to make it as fluid as possible. With that said, there are four phases of the exercise that should flow smoothly together:
If you’re doing the exercise right, then you will move swiftly between all four phases of the exercise.
2. Shift your bodyweight between legs: Because you lift the kettlebell with only one arm, that creates some imbalance in the body. Therefore, you should shift your body weight back and forth between your legs throughout the exercise to re-establish some balance.
First off, when you swing and lift the kettlebell to your shoulder with your right arm, your body weight should press into your left leg. Then, as you push the kettlebell overhead, your body weight can shift back into your right leg. Lastly, when the kettlebell swings back downwards, your weight should shift back to your left leg.
Do the opposite pattern when you lift the kettlebell with your left arm.
3. Breathe properly: Perhaps the most important tip for this exercise is to breathe properly. Yes, breathing correctly will help you generate muscle power to swing and pull the kettlebell. Your breathing pattern should look something like this:
The idea is to exhale on the more challenging steps of the exercise. For kettlebell snatches, that would be the initial swing between the legs and the controlled overhead press. It may not seem like a big deal, but proper breathing can make or break the exercise!
As you know by this point, kettlebell snatches are an amazing exercise. But, they can get old if you're never switching them up with other kettlebell variations. To break up the monotony, we're sharing our other favorite kettlebell exercises. Along with snatches, you can put these exercises together to create a complete kettlebell training workout.
1. Traditional kettlebell swing: Perhaps the most well-known kettlebell exercise is the traditional kettlebell swing. The one that started it all, swings help you develop both muscular strength and power while pumping your heart rate up into its fat-burning zone. Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell placed on the floor in front of you.
Hinge forward from the hips, soften your knees, and grab the kettlebell overhand with both hands. When you're ready, inhale and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Then, exhale and drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Continue the swinging movement by powering your hips forwards and backward.
2. Kettlebell cleans: Kettlebell cleans are unlike snatches such that they're more of a controlled lifting movement rather than a swing. We suggest adding them to your back and/or shoulder-day strength training routine to help build bigger muscles there. For more on kettlebell cleans and how to do them properly, check out our complete kettlebell clean and press guide.
3. Double kettlebell snatch: The double kettlebell snatch is a single kettlebell snatch variation. It's essentially the exact same exercise, just with one kettlebell in each hand rather than holding one between both hands. Start just like you would for a regular kettlebell snatch.
But, this time, place two kettlebells on the floor in front of you rather than one. Deadlift the kettlebells to a standing position, then extend the hips and legs while pulling the kettlebells up overhead. Drop both kettlebells back between the legs then power them back up again.
4. Kettlebell high pulls: The high pull is a great combination of upper and lower body strength training. It puts together a squat and shoulder pull to target the glutes, hamstrings, shoulder muscles, and back muscles. Place a kettlebell on the floor in between your feet. When you're ready, squat down and grab the handle of the kettlebell with both hands.
Then, with your arms straight, stand up tall while pulling the kettlebell up the midline of your body. You should pull it up to your chin and flare your elbows outwards. Pinch your back and shoulder blades at the top, then slowly squat back down and drop the kettlebell back to the floor.
5. Kettlebell reverse lunge: Upgrade from basic lunges to kettlebell reverse lunges. They add a little extra challenge to your lower body due to the added weight of the kettlebell. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a kettlebell up by your shoulders with both hands.
You can flip the kettlebell upside-down to hold the ball portion of the kettlebell. Then, send your right foot backward and lunge down. Squeeze your glutes at the bottom, then return the right foot to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
6. Turkish get-ups: Last but not least, Turkish get-ups are an intricate kettlebell exercise that works you from head to toe. Literally, you start laying on the ground, move to a bridge position, then stand up with the kettlebell overhead. They're definitely for you if you're over the run-of-the-mill kettlebell exercises. For a full demo, check out this video on how to do Turkish get-ups with proper form.
Upgrade your strength (or cardio) training by integrating kettlebell snatches into your routine! They’re one of the best full-body exercises that fire up not only your muscles but your heart rate as well. For an easy way to build strong muscles and burn body fat at the same time, you can’t go wrong with kettlebell snatches!
Bonus tip: Ready to start building broader shoulders? Do kettlebell snatches along with our other favorite exercises for bigger, broader, and stronger shoulders!