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How to Conquer the 5-Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

How to Conquer the 5-Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

Written by
August 6, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018

One of the most unique kettlebell tests in “Hardstyle” kettlebell training is the 5-Minute Snatch Test. For those looking to test their strength, I dare you to endure this challenge. It only takes a short amount of time to test your cardio and strength to the limit!

The 5-Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

Everyone can learn a Kettlebell Swing, and eventually the proper execution of a Kettlebell Snatch, but the real question is, do you have what it takes to physically and mechanically complete the 5-Minute Snatch Test?

As a strength coach and RKC/Hardstyle instructor, I have been training and teaching the kettlebell snatch for over four years. During my kettlebell snatch training, I found the 5-Minute Snatch Test to be a huge staple for measuring strength.

Why? Because it requires more than just strength;you need technical skill for good form, mental strength for snatching high volumes, and the lungs to keep the oxygen flowing. Not many fitness enthusiasts can complete the challenge, but I am going to show you how, and hopefully you will join the group.

Kettlebell Snatch Test Rules

Male Kettlebell Weight – 24kgs/53lbs
Female Kettlebell Weight – 16kgs/35lbs Objective: To complete 100 snatches within 5 minutes.

The 3 Rules to Kettlebell Snatch Test Preparation

The biggest challenge for me wasn’t training to complete the test, but rather to teach my clients how to conquer it as well. Since I trained myself to complete it, I now know what it takes and learned which training protocols work best to show people how to complete it as well. Now I cannot only teach my clients, I can pass this knowledge on to YOU!

Kettlebell Snatch Test Rule #1: Kettlebell Swing

Yes, it all starts with the Kettlebell Swing. You need to get comfortable with this exercise,and it is crucial that you use your Snatch Kettlebell (men 24kgs/women 16kgs).An easy way to add this into your regular kettlebell program is to start and end your training with 100 swings. Volume is key, so don’t skip out on these.

Kettlebell Tip: Get extremely comfortable with the hip-hinge movement; without it, your snatch will be weak and lack explosiveness. The power of the Snatch comes through the hips, NOT the muscles of the upper body. Practice to “snap-your-hips” with each Swing and Snatch.

Kettlebell Snatch Test Rule #2: Wall

Figuratively speaking, pretend you are snatching standing in front of a wall, just about an arm’s length away. In order to prevent the kettlebell from hitting the wall, you will need to bend your elbow slightly and pull the kettlebell in close so that it will flow tighter to the body throughout the entire movement.

This technique will give you better control on the Snatch, less energy will be spent, and the torque on your arm/shoulder will be significantly reduced!

Kettlebell Tip: Remember to pull the kettlebell in so you don’t hit that wall! A popular but LESS efficient way to snatch is allowing the kettlebell to descend from an overhead position while keeping a straight arm. This is called “casting” the arm. Using this snatch technique places the kettlebell at its furthest point away from the body.

This puts added torque on the elbow and shoulder, causing unwanted stress and potential injury. Additionally, casting the arm (while snatching) will minimize control and stability, making you more likely to lose your balance.

Kettlebell Snatch Test Rule #3: Kettlebell Practice

The only way to complete the test is to do it weekly. You first need to see how many Snatches you can complete in your first 5-minute bout. Remember, the goal is 100. It is important to know what 5 minutes of Snatches feels like. It won’t be pleasant and you will probably feel as if your lungs are burning and your hips and forearms are fried!

Kettlebell Tip: It may sound cliché, but “practice makes perfect” and it’s the only way to make it through the test.This has proven to work great with my clients, and I have seen Snatches increase faster when this is practiced on a weekly basis rather than only focusing on technique. Don’t worry; I will give you a sample kettlebell workout to guide you in completing the snatch test.

Sample 5-Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test Prep Plan

How to Conquer the 5-Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

Remember, attempting the 5-Minute Snatch Test isn’t for beginners. We are assuming that you have had good experience with kettlebells and have solid form/technique with the Snatch. Technique and safety is priority number one and compromising that will only lead to injury. Include these workouts into your weekly kettlebell training program. Completing the Snatch Test can take 4-6 weeks (of course it can always be done sooner).

Week 1 Supplement  2 x 100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
4 x 25 reps Kettlebell Snatch
2 x 50 reps Kettlebell Snatch
5 Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test
Week 2 Supplement 2 x 100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
4 x 25 reps Kettlebell Snatch for Time
2 x 50 reps Kettlebell Snatch for Time
5 Minute Snatch Test
Week 3 Supplement

2 x 100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
4 x 25 reps Kettlebell Snatch for Speed
2 x 50 reps Kettlebell Snatch for Speed
5 Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

Week 4 Supplement

2 x 100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
4 x 25 reps per arm Kettlebell Snatch
2 x 50 reps Kettlebell Snatch
5 Minute Snatch Test

Week 5 Supplement

2 x 100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
4 x 25 reps per arm Kettlebell Snatch for Time
2 x 50 reps Kettlebell Snatch for Time
5 Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

Week 6 Supplement

2 x 100 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
4 x 25 reps per arm Kettlebell Snatch for Speed
2 x 50 reps Kettlebell Snatch for Speed
5 Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

Jon Celis is an elite fitness professional who specializes in real world fat loss. His degree in Kinesiology and reputable certifications has led to his success in becoming one of the newest yet profound trainers in Southern California.
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