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Kettlebell Snatch

by Victoria Gardner

The Kettlebell snatch is a full body power exercise, requiring advanced skill that looks cool as you do it, what more could you want from an exercise?

To master the kettlebell you need advanced coordination, strong hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, core strength and plenty of practice. Mastering this skillful move may seem tough, but it will be worth it.

Kettlebell Training

Kettlebell Snatch Preparation

Before working on the snatch you should be confident performing:

  • The Kettlebell Swing.
  • A Deadlift of at least 3 times the amount you’re trying to snatch.
  • The Turkish Get Up.

A strong swing is essential for every Kettlebell movement, you can see how to perform the exercise here. The swing develops a number of skills that are necessary for the snatch. The hip hinge is one of the most important moves and enables you to drive the kettlebell upwards and absorb its force as it comes down. The swing also helps develop good shoulder stability that will ensure you keep your shoulder in the socket as you go for the snatch.

Mastering the deadlift will help you build strength in you grip, the range of motion required to snatch and in the lower back which comes under particular strain.

The Turkish Get Up helps build practice of holding a Kettlebell directly over the shoulders. This will help you practice the good shoulder mobility and stability to help you confidently snatch above your head.

Benefits of the Kettlebell Snatch

The snatch is a compound move which builds strength and power simultaneously

Speed + strength = power. The basis of the snatch is the hip hinge which takes strong and powerful hip flexors to force the kettlebell up above the head. The speed and strength required of this power move makes it a game changer.

The snatch is a full body exercise

The snatch requires almost every muscle to work together to perform the lift, beginning with the posterior chain, then working through core strength, stability in the shoulders and using a strong grip throughout.

The snatch is great cardio conditioning

Performing constant reps of the kettlebell snatch raises your heart rate and can be used as a HIIT cardio move. Researchers at The University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, concluded that the kettlebell snatch workout easily meets industry standards for improving aerobic fitness. Participants maintained 86 to 99 percent of their maximum heart rate during the workout.

The snatch is a calorie torcher

The work load and intensity of the snatch mean that it requires a high heart rate throughout and a high heart rate means high calorie burning. This move is great for those trying to shred up or lose weight.

The snatch builds a sturdy shoulder girdle

The shoulder joint has a varied range of motion and therefore injury is common. Developing strength here both in motion and in the static part of the hold can help to prevent injury.

The snatch focuses on balance

Swinging the kettlebell and snatching it to one side of the body requires balance and core strength to remain sturdy throughout.

The snatch corrects imbalances

Most exercises tend to require both sides of the body working together at once and though most of the time this is fantastic, it can lead to imbalances. Why? Because your stronger side will almost always put in more work than your weaker side, without you even realising. Isolating each side of the body can help to create equal strength and balance any abnormalities.

How to Kettlebell Snatch

  1. Start in position as though you were about to perform a kettlebell swing. Knees bent, feet just outside shoulder width and with the kettlebell about 30cm in front of you.
  2. Grab the bell with one hand, thumb facing inwards and keeping a neutral spine.
  3. Swing the kettlebell between your legs, as it reaches chest height this is where the transition happens, which is the main part of the swing. Utilising the power from your hips punch through the arm and move the wrist around the bell so that it flips onto the back of your wrist. Ensure you bend slightly at the elbow as you maneuver the bell around your hand to protect the shoulder
  4. At the top of the exercise the bell should be resting against the back of your wrist. If the bell slams your wrist it usually means a lack of control. At this point you lock the bell directly above your shoulder, keeping a straight back and good control.
  5. Control the kettlebell as you let it fall back to that start position, flipping over your wrist.


  • Make sure the power of the swing comes as a push from the hips rather than a pull from the upper body.
  • Maintain a straight spine throughout without arching your back.
  • The only time your arm is straight is at the top of the movement, you arm should have a slight bend to protect the shoulder throughout the rest of the movement.
  • Avoid over-gripping the bell as this will make it hard to push through to the top of the movement.

Kettlebell Training Progression

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