Improve Your Strength Endurance With the Double Kettlebell Snatch
The kettlebell snatch is one of my favorite exercises for a variety of reasons. I’ve written about the movement in the past, and I’ve done it with many weights and in different styles over the years. But one particular version has caught my attention more in the past few months.
The double kettlebell snatch.
This exercise is performed like the regular kettlebell snatch - except with two kettlebells. They’re swung from below the body, then affixed overhead. That constitutes a single rep, and often with this movement, many reps are done. If you’re going to attempt one rep of this movement, let alone many, then you’re going to need to have good and efficient technique.
Here are a few tips on performing this exercise. But before we begin, it should go without saying that your kettlebell snatch, which also includes the foundation of the basic swing, should be excellent before trying an advanced movement like this one.
The Technique for Two Bells
With two kettlebells, your stance will have to be slightly wider than for a single bell as you’ll need clearance for the two bells to swing under your legs.
Generally with this exercise, unless you’re going very light, I would recommend doing what is called a half snatch. The upward portion is one explosive movement, but then you lower the bells to the shoulders, and then swing back on each rep.
Valery Fedorenko trains the half snatch.
The half snatch is a useful method as it can help preserve your back from undue strain. If you’re going for high reps, it’s a good idea because the lower back can become fatigued. That fatigue is even more likely with the full snatch. If you’re going for more power, the half snatch is still a good idea because the weight can often be more than half your bodyweight, and thus want to pull you around. You will have more control if you stick to the half versus full snatch.
Going for Reps
Like the single kettlebell snatch, doubles can be done for higher reps. Often, this will be done in some sort of interval style, like ten reps at the start of every minute for ten minutes.
Another fun challenge is to do an all-out set for as long as you can go. It’s interesting to see what fails first - your endurance, grip, or strength in one area or another. With a lighter weight, as you can always do one more rep, it just might be your mental toughness that fails.
Going for Power
While many people can work up to snatching pretty heavy kettlebells without much problem, the double kettlebell snatch can easily become a maximum power exercise, similar to a barbell snatch. A good test of strength and ability for most men would be to double snatch 32kg bells.
"If you want to work on becoming explosive then try to work from a dead stop."
When working with heavier weights, it can be useful to do a pre-swing before doing your snatch. That being said, if you want to work on becoming explosive then try to work from a dead stop. Put the kettlebells under you or slightly behind you, and then snatch them in one clean motion without momentum.
This demonstrates the dead snatch with one bell. You can imagine how two feels!
Competing in the Double Snatch
This event has begun to make its way into IKLF Bolt competitions. I gave this a shot and I found that the most difficult part, at least for me, was getting a firm fix of the bells overhead. Many of my reps were not counted.
Note: In the video of me training in my backyard, you’ll note that I was a bit more lax on my form than here in competition. As it was my first time competing in this event, I learned a valuable lesson about what to work on for next time.
Putting the Movement to Use
I’ve been using this move as an adjunct to my single kettlebell snatch training. As I’m working with a heavy weight there (48kg), two 24kg bells is the same load, but hits the body differently. If you’re looking for a new way to test your strength-endurance give this move a shot. And if you’re looking for maximum explosive power, try it out with heavier weights. I think you’ll enjoy it!
More on kettlebell movement:
- Training Kettlebells: Why You Shouldn't Be Scared
- Kettlebells for an Iron Core: A 3-Phase Training Plan
- The 5 Deadliest Kettlebell Sins
- New on Breaking Muscle Today
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.