Prepping for the Snatch Test

December 18 2013

Without a doubt the most intimidating part of prepping for the StrongFirst SFG cert is the impending snatch test on the last day of the course. Performing 100 kettlebell snatches with a 24kg bell in less than 5 minutes, under the discerning watch of a master coach is nerve wracking to say the least. Throw in a beaten down body and blistered/torn hands from 3 days of gruelling training and you have one stressful challenge ahead. The prospect of the snatch test can become a looming psychological barrier for some. The good news is you can prep for this challenge and get yourself to a place both physically and mentally where it becomes less uncomfortable. 

The most important concept to grasp when snatching is using the hips to produce and absorb energy. A deep, powerful hip hinge will allow you produce a tremendous amount of power to propel the bell on its upward trajectory, as well the ability to absorb the bell on its descent before redirecting it upward. Heavy kettlebell swings will help groove your hip hinge and teach you to move your hips aggressively, while also developing your grip. That is why they should be the cornerstone of your training. You want your lower body to do most of the work, rather than heaving the weight up with the smaller muscle groups of your arms and shoulders.

Another very important part of the snatch is shoulder stability. Doing Turkish getups will teach you to keep your shoulder packed in various positions and will develop core and shoulder strength. Overhead walks are also a useful tool for building stability and will teach you to be more comfortable in the top position of the snatch.

Ben and I trained with kettlebells three days a week for around two months. We generally did two days of drilling technique and one more day of high volume work. The technique day involved us coaching each other in the requisite skills, preaching quality over quantity. We always finished technique days with heavy swings, either with a single or double bells.

The third day of training involved more work with complexes, which means we moved from one movement to the next with short breaks. We also practiced the snatch test once a week, upping the weight every week until we were at the 24kg requirement. 

DAY 1: Technique Day

Full body warmup/movement prep

  • Single Kb swings    4 sets of 15 reps
  • Double Kb swings   4 sets of 10 reps
  • Double Kb clean             4 sets of 5 reps
  • Get up                     4 sets of 2 per side
  • Double Kb press    4 sets of 5
  • Kb snatch (light)             5 sets of 10 per side     

Day 2: Technique Day

Full body warmup/movement prep

  • Single  Kb swings         5 sets of 5 reps
  • Double Kb swings   4 sets of 5 reps
  • Double front squat  4 sets of 5 reps
  • Get up                     4 sets of 2 per side
  • Kb snatch                 8/8 every minute for 10 mins (same as Day 3 snatch test weight)

Day 3: Volume Day

Full body warmup/movement prep

Complex 1: Perform 3 times resting 20 to 30 seconds between exercises and 3 minutes between complexes.

Double swings x 10

Double cleans x 5

Double squat x 5

Double press x 5

Snatch x 5 per side

Get up x 1 per side

Snatch Test:

Perform 100 snatches in the shortest time possible. Form must stay clean. Attempt to increase weight every week until at testing weight.

Article by (Train Online)  |  December 18 2013

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