Kettlebell Snatch Challenge

What do kettlebells do to your body? Kettlebells can be used for a full-body workout for strength and cardio workouts. So you can build muscle, increase your endurance and get lean by doing different kettlebell exercises.

Kettlebell workouts are great for building strength and stability. Compared to many exercise equipment you need to maintain all the time control challenging your coordination and giving you a great core exercise at the same time.

Kettlebell workouts have become increasingly popular and for good reason with the many advantages it provides. One advantage is that with a few kettlebells or even just one you can start your home gym workouts without needing any other equipment. You can use kettlebells indoors and outdoors.

I was going around 4 times per week to the gym before the COVID-19 outbreak. After the outbreak started gyms were closed and social distancing was recommended so I had to get creative with my exercises at home. I wasn’t totally new to Kettlebells but hadn’t really used them that much and the kettlebell snatch was something I was still struggling with.

I heard about a kettlebell test where you do snatches non stop for 10 minutes. According to some, you are in really good shape if you can do 10 minutes of snatches with a 24kg kettlebell. I know I can do a few snatches with 24kg but certainly not 10 minutes non stop. So I decided to challenge myself and take that 24kg 10 minutes set as a goal.

After mid March 2020 kettlebells were sold out from many stores and google trends shows also a spike in interest towards kettlebells at this time. So it seems I wasn’t alone in starting a home gym with kettlebells.

Selecting a Kettlebell Size to start training with

Kettlebells essentially are cast iron or cast steel balls with a handle attached to the top.

What weight kettlebell should I get? The main factors to consider are your age, weight, fitness level and general experience with weight lifting. There are many recommendations out there but as a general guideline men should start with 16kg if they have weight training experience and with 12kg if they don’t. For women, the general guideline would be to start with 12kg if you have weight training experience and with 8kg if you don’t.

Those above recommendations should work fine for example for the kettlebell swing. You will however quickly gain experience and strength and ultimately you will need a set of kettlebells.

  • For women, a good set would be 8kg, 12kg and 16kg
  • For men, a good set would be 12kg, 16kg and 24kg

The kettlebell snatch, however, is not an easy movement so it makes sense to start with a smaller weight and work towards the larger ones as you gain experience.

Kettlebell available sizes

Kettlebells from 8kg up to 32kg

Historically kettlebells originate from Russia. The Russian girya was a metal weight that was used for weighing crops and the unit of measurement was pood. One pood is approximately 16kg and therefore the traditional kettlebell sizes were 1 pood (16kg), 1.5 poods (24kg) and 2 poods (32kg).

Currently one can get competition size kettlebells in many sizes. The below ones are the most common ones:

  • 8kg – 0.5 pood
  • 12kg – 0.75 pood
  • 16kg – 1 pood
  • 20kg – 1.25 poods
  • 24kg – 1.5 poods
  • 28kg – 1.75 poods
  • 32kg – 2 poods

Intermediary sizes with 2kg increments are also available like 10kg and 14kg etc. Over 32kg kettlebells are also available.

Competition kettlebells have the advantage of being the same shape and size regardless of the weight and this makes it easier to handle when switching weights. The competition kettlebells are also colour-coded and all manufacturers use the same colours so you know based on the colour what weight it is.

Kettlebell Home Gym Advantages

Some of the kettlebell advantages are already previously mentioned in this article, kettlebells being very versatile training equipment for strength and cardio exercises.

In addition to the above kettlebells are great for a home gym since you don’t need more than a few to have everything you need so it’s fairly inexpensive compared to barbells or other larger equipment.

The small size of the kettlebells also gives a nice advantage from the storage perspective.

Doing a kettlebell exercise at home or in your yard gives an additional bonus in time savings since you don’t need to drive to the gym in order to do the exercise.

Kettlebell Snatch Test

There are many kettlebell snatch tests out there like the ‘Secret service snatch test’, ‘RKC 5-minute snatch test’ and the ’10-minute Snatch technique test’.

The one I found most interesting and suiting me the best was the 10-minute snatch test which requires you to complete 10 minutes of unbroken snatches with just one switch. This means that you can, for example, start with your left arm and do 5-minutes without any breaks and then switch to your right arm and do another 5-minutes without any breaks.

The test which I found online refers to the Kettlebell Snatch Certification of the Kettlebell Snatch Teacher L4. This certification test requires you to use a kettlebell of at least 15% of your body weight. So for someone weighing 90kg, it would be only 13,5kg or rounding up then the correct kettlebell would be 14kg.

I’m not interested in the certification but just from the physical endurance and fitness aspect the goal of being able to do 10-minutes of snatches with a 24kg kettlebell would be awesome. It’s also fun to compete with some fellow trainers.

For me, in the above test, the correct kettlebell would be somewhere in between 12kg and 14kg. Since my snatch technique isn’t that great yet I started with 8kg to see can I even complete the full 10-minutes. Mid-April 2020 I was able to do 245 reps with 8kg in 10-minutes with one switch.

So my version of the 10-minute snatch challenge is to do the 10-minute exercise daily for 60 days starting with a weight that you can complete the 10-minute snatch test with working towards your personal goal.

Kettlebel Snatch Technique

Doing a snatch with a barbel is challenging but I would say the kettlebell snatch requires even more coordination and technique.

I would recommend learning from training videos to get the best tips on doing the kettlebell snatch correctly.

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