Thank you for tuning in to the Albany Movement & Fitness blog. In this video, the owner of Functional Fitness in Virginia, Kavon Atabaki, teaches the kettlebell snatch. As an instructor, this movement is one of the most difficult to teach since it requires a unique coordinated rhythm that is different than many other exercises. Kavon beautifully teaches the snatch from the top down, but first he makes sure that the student has competency in the foundational exercises that lead up to the snatch, which include the hip hinge, deadlift, two-handed swing, single-arm swing, and the high-pull. Here are some additional cues to help you grease the groove (aka practice).
“Pour the Pitcher” – From the lock out position, if you dropped the bell straight down it would hit you on the head. So it is important that you push the bell forward a bit. This is where I use the bell to counter balance and immediately settle into my heels. Casting the bell straight out especially with a heavy kettlebell is not a good idea. Doing this will pull you forward and you will lose the necessary symmetry in your hips and torso required to perform the movement safely. Lead with the thumb from the lockout position, simply turn the wrist and think of pouring water out of a pitcher. Gravity will bring the bell down in front and you will need the confidence to attack the hinge and feed the hike pass. This move is subtle and does not require very much movement.
“Swimming” – From the lock out position, after you Pour the Pitcher, you create an arm motion similar to the front crawl stroke, imagine bringing the bell down the midline in the body while performing the front crawl stroke. Your arm is not straight nor is it bent at a precisely prescribed angle. The elbow is softened and the degree of the angle on the elbow adjusts slightly to create movement efficiency. This arm position is unique to the individual, but it should feel graceful and be aesthetically pleasing.
“Unzip the Jacket” and “Zip It Back Up” – This last cue is reminding us to keep the bell close on the way up and the way down. In my experience teaching the snatch, it is more challenging for people to keep the bell close on the way down. The arm should not end up being straight similar to the position it is in at the top of the single arm swing. Reminding people not to cast the bell out away from the body is helpful.
The performance tips above will certainly tighten up your groove. If you are a self-guided kettebell enthusiast, I highly recommend a hardstyle kettlebell instructor to help you nail down the groove. Resources: Works written by Dan John, Pavel, and Mark Reifkind.