The King of Kettlebell Exercises

Perfecting The Kettlebell Snatch

So you’ve begun using kettlebell exercises to burn fat, build muscle and increase stamina?  Maybe you’ve even mastered the kettlebell swing?  That’s a great start!  Now you’re ready for what many people believe to be the king of kettlebell exercises, the snatch.


The snatch is about timing and details.  It’s an elegant movement that needs to be respected and practiced thoroughly to perfection.  Follow these steps, and practice until you can do it without thinking:

  1. Start with your knees bent, hips and thighs ready to drive the kettlebell upwards.  Place the kettlebell 6 to 12 inches in front of your feet.
  2. Grabbing the kettlebell with one hand, “hike” it backwards between your legs, as you would with a football.
  3. Generating power from your hips, drive the kettlebell forward and upward, keeping your arm slightly bent at the elbow.
  4. As the bell reaches eye level, tame the arc by pulling the bell towards you.  At the same time, open your hand and punch straight up over your shoulder, keeping your shoulder locked snugly in its joint.
  5. Lock your arm in this position momentarily before reversing the motion back down.  If you are brand new to the snatch, you can lower the bell to the rack position, pause, and then finish your downward motion.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5.

Tips & Warnings:

  • If you are brand new to kettlebells, read up on the five basic kettlebell exercises.  Once you’ve mastered the two-arm swing, one-arm swing, and clean, you’re ready for the snatch.
  • Unlike the swing, you should not keep your arms locked during the snatch.  Rather, you should keep a slight bend at the elbow.
  • Don’t let your elbow flare out from your body.  Keep it close!
  • Many people get discouraged after hurting their forearms with improper technique.  Take the time to perfect your form – you won’t regret it!
  • Practice in front of a mirror or, better yet, record yourself from a front and side angle to find flaws in your technique and make adjustments.
  • Pay attention to form.  Watch videos and use light kettlebells until you’ve perfected your technique.