What are the benefits of kettlebell work such that we incorporate into our WODs? A recent study by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, aimed to primarily examine two things:

  1. Muscle activation through various components of KB movements
  2. Positive and negative effects of KB loading on the lower back.

"The kettlebell swing uses the back muscles (latissimus dorsiand erector spinae) throughout the movement, but they are the main muscles engaged in the initiation phase of the swing. The abdominal muscles are primarily activated at precisely the halfway point and the gluteal muscles engage for the second half of the swing. Shear and compression forces were determined to be highest at the beginning of the swing."

With respect to the KB Snatch, the benefits include the development of explosive power, improve shoulder stability, and cardiovascular development. 

Mastering the KB Snatch is contingent on having some basics down first: the swing and the Turkish Get Up. Secondly, we have to master the high pull. See the following sequence:

We go from the swing to the high pull; in the high pull, we bring our elbows back as if we are trying to elbow someone behind us. The transition from the high pull to the snatch is relatively easy from this point:

  • Now as the kettlebell passes your face your arm will be bent. The kettlebell however is still travelling in an upward path. As it reaches just above head height you will need to aggressively ‘punch’ the arm straight so as the kettlebell lands gently on your wrist. Get it right and it will land with a ‘kiss’ as opposed to a ‘bang’ It is important to keep the kettlebell arc close to your body and not to allow it to go too far out in front of you. You can do this by keeping your shoulder pulled back into its socket.
  • Once locked out in the top position, make sure that your shoulder is pulled down into your socket.
  • On the descent, flick the bell round as you start the downward path. Be sure to maintain only a slight arc on the return, in other words, don’t let the bell run too wide. This is all about economy of movement and safety. 

- Kettlebell Nation

The KB snatch is a pretty technical movement that requires mastery of the KB foundational work, but once you have that, it's a movement superior in its benefits in terms of explosive strength, muscular engagement, and cardiovascular development.


A. TABATA: hold at top of the pull up bar

B. 4 x 3/3 TGU AHAP

KB Snatches