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Kettlebell Split Snatch for Killer Conditioning

February 14, 2005 08:26 AM

Looking to shift your anaerobic conditioning into high gear? Fry your legs and sear your lungs in the process? Well Comrade, then step up to the split snatch!

Since seeing the video clip posted by the Philadelphia Kettlebell Club of Comrade Jason performing the split snatch (also referred to by Pavel on page 79 of The Russian Kettlebell Challenge), I have regularly been plugging this gem into my kettlebell workouts with great results.

Exercise Execution:

Assume the same stance and body position as you would for a standard KB power snatch. As your pull the bell up, thrust the leg on the side that is holding the kettlebell forward and the opposite leg back into a lunge position. Dip under the kettlebell by flexing at the hip. Return the bell to the down position with a smooth swing, while hopping back into the original position. Repeat.

Tips for optimum performance:

  • Toe the lead foot in slightly when in the lunge position and be sure that your knee tracks the foot!
  • Deepen the lunge by flexing at the hip rather than driving the knee of the lead leg forward?keep the lead shin perpendicular to the ground.
  • To insure good balance, make sure that you maintain adequate width to your stance when in the lunge position. When viewed from the front, your feet should be spaced as though they were on two parallel rails, not in one line as though on a tightrope.
  • Returning the bell to the starting position via a smooth swing works quite well in this exercise because you are not pulling the bell nearly as high as in the regular power snatch.
  • I prefer to keep the reps below 10 (around 5 in most cases). Alternating sides are usually done back to back. Up the intensity by going deep into the lunge and compressing the rest intervals.
  • I would also suggest that you begin with a lighter kettlebell until you feel comfortable with the form.
  • Stay tight!
  • On the road with no KB access? No problem. This actually works fairly well with a dumbbell. Use a swing for both the concentric and eccentric portions of the movement however. Sure, you will loose some of the upper body intensity, but it will do in a pinch. Watch your knees!

Substitute this for the regular power snatch in your next few sessions, and report your results to the Party. Enjoy!

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David Finley, RKC is a Canton, OH based certified Russian Kettlebell Challenge instructor. David is available for private and group training. Inquire at