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The Secret To Big Snatch Numbers

September 11, 2009 08:12 AM

How many times have you been frustrated by your lack of progress in the snatch? Sure, it's a hard lift, and there's technique involved, but many times snatch progress is failed due to lack of preparation.

It's no secret that GS guys hoist huge numbers in the snatch. They literally are human dynamos. However, they have figured out the subtle nuances to save energy in order to pace themselves for 10 minutes to get those big numbers. We're not interested in saving energy. We're only interested in producing lots of force. (To become an RKC, and are a man, you must snatch the 24kg kettlebell for 100 reps in 5 minutes.)

Producing more force is the secret to boosting your progress in your snatch. The simple yet ugly truth is that you may just be weak.

That's OK.

We're going to fix that right now.

There are two ways to produce a lot of force. The first is to lift heavy. The second is to lift fast.

Remember: Force = Mass * Acceleration,

F = M*a, where high force is produced by slowly accelerating a heavy mass (heavy lifting)

F=m*A, where high force is produced by quickly (explosively) accelerating a lighter mass (ballistic lifting)

From the heavy end, there are several approaches.
  • Shore up your foundation. The swing is the foundation for the snatch. If your swing is weak, your snatch numbers will be low. Spend time on your two-hand swing. Keep your reps low, between 10-20 and use a heavy weight. Focus on a strong hike back between the legs and a crisp lockout. Once your two-hand swing is back on track, spend time with your one hand swing and your hand-to-hand swing. The one hand swing gets you used to holding heavier weight and conditions your grip. The hand-to-hand swing helps refine your hip snap.

  • Use Low Reps and Multiple Sets. Similar to the set and rep schemes that Kenneth Jay, MRKC, recommends in his Viking Warrior Conditioning protocols, perform low reps, even ladders of 1,2,3,4,5, and perform multiple sets. Use a weight that's heavier than the bell you're trying to push your reps up on. Stop when you get fatigued.

  • Get Used To A Heavier Bell In The Lockout Position. There can be a certain amount of awkwardness associated with locking heavy weights out overhead. The best way to tackle this is head on. Learn how to push press. It's quite simple really. Dip your knees and jump without your feet coming off the ground. Think "swing." As you "jump," drive the bell from the rack position to the lockout. To return the bell to the rack, either pull it down like a press or drop it into the rack (a controlled drop) catching it by bending the knees while keeping the feet flat. This will get you used to holding a heavier bell over your head. While in this position, make sure to practice holding the bell and maintaining a packed shoulder. Conveniently, this will also build your power and make snatching a little easier.
From the light end, the best practice to produce force is to use the following guidelines:
  • Use a kettlebell that is one or two sizes below the kettlebell you are trying to push your numbers up on.

  • Perform between 5 and 10 reps per set.

  • Use a high number of multiple sets. Set your limit at 20.

  • Keep rest periods short. No more than 2 minutes.

  • Stop when your speed drops or when you get fatigued ? whichever come first.
Programming

It's best to treat this as specialized strength work, so the rest of your strength work will take a back seat to this type of program. This means one of two things:
  • Either training for the snatch is the only strength training you are going to do
    or
  • All other strength training is performed in an abbreviated basis and performed after the main snatch training.
With regards to frequency, you can perform this type of training two to three times a week, depending on your recovery abilities. If you are only going to train to boost your snatch numbers, than you can train three times per week alternating between the heavy workout and the fast workout. If you are performing other strength exercises, then perform one heavy workout per week and one fast workout per week.

Perform this type of training for six weeks then test your progress on your normal sized bell.


Geoff Neupert, Sr RKC, has been an exercise professional for 16 years and is currently the owner of Integrated Fitness Solutions, a personal training company in Durham, NC. He has logged approximately 18,250 hours of one-on-one client sessions.

His background includes Division 1 Strength and Conditioning, Personal Training, and Post-Rehabilitation. He's either currently certified or has been certified through the following agencies: NSCA, USAW, RKC, NASM, ACE.

He loves kettlebells because they remind him of his passion for the Olympic lifts, but they allow him to train anytime, anywhere without negatively affecting his current life responsibilities.

He is the author of Kettlebell Secrets.



 

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