The Anatomy of Kettlebell Training: The Snatch Part 1

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Kettlebell Snatch Technique Series, Part 1: Undersquat

By: Coach Denis Kanygin

 

Kettlebell snatch is one of my favorite lifts. It is also one of the more technical and challenging lifts to do correctly.

I get many questions about snatches and as a result I decided to write these series about Kettlebell Snatch technique.

This is Part 1 of the series. It deals entirely with using an ‘undersquat’ element in snatch.

So, undersquat: is it friend or enemy?

To make it a bit more clear, I will address the following questions:

  • What is ‘undersquat’?
  • What is the purpose of undersquat in kettlebell snatch lift?
  • How is undersquat element used in snatch lift?
  • What are the Pros and Cons of using the undersquat element?
  • Why do some lifters use and some do not?
  • Is undersquat for me?

What is ‘undersquat’ when applied to kettlebell snatches?
Undersquat is a dip performed as the bell is brought up into the lockout position. Here is a demonstration of a the undersquat as it is applied to kettlebell snatches:

What is the purpose of undersquat in kettlebell snatch lift?

The purpose of the undersquat is to make kettlebell snatch lift easier. Perhaps ‘easier’ is the wrong word but it will help you to get the kettlebell in the lockout position.

Using undersquat in snatches is very similar to using second dip in kettlebell jerks. Lifter ends up getting under the bell so the bell does not have to be lifted as high.

Similarly to jerks, when I snatch the bell, I can get under the bell by dipping (undersquat). Such strategy conserves energy and allows lifter to complete the snatch lift when he/she is unable to bring the bell high enough to lockout.

How is undersquat element used in snatch lift?
So how and when should I use the undersquat? All the time and on every rep? When I get tired? What is the proper use?

What are the Pros and Cons of using the undersquat element?

Pros

  • Allows to complete the lift when lifter is extremely tired and is unable to bring kettlebell to proper hight
  • Conserves overall energy

Cons

  • Slows down the pace of the lift
  • Puts more demand on legs muscles

Why do some lifters use ‘undersquat’ during snatch lift while others do not?
Some lifters are so strong, they have no need for the help of undersquat. These guys and gals can survive 10 minutes of snatches without ever needing to get under the bell.

Other lifters use this technique closer to the end of their competition set. A perfect example of this strategy is Jonny Benidze, Russian lifter who snatched 32kg bell 165 reps at the body weight of 60kg (roughly 120lb).

To see how Jonny uses the ‘undersquat’, watch the last 30 seconds of the clip below.

Is there a point to using ‘undersquat’ on every repetition? That largely depends on your fitness level, pace that you are going for and the kettlebell weight.

Is undersquat for me?
Undersquat should definitely be in your arsenal of strategies when it comes to snatches.

Try this technique, practice it.

Ask yourself whether this is a suitable strategy for you, given your

  • fitness level
  • flexibility
  • lower back strength
  • leg strength

If you feel like you are unable to bring the bell high enough to lockout, it may be a good time to use this technique.

Play with it, practice it, learn it and use it.

Good luck.

Let me know how it goes. Look forward to your comments and feedback.

Part 1 of our series The Anatomy of Kettlebell Training, by Bob Garon featuring The Swing, can be viewed HERE.

About Coach Denis Kanygin: For the last 10 years, Coach Denis has been sharing his kettlebell training knowldege based in GS (Kettlebell Sport) with thousands of people.

Coach Denis is now a Technical and Kettlebell Sport Advisor to IKFF. He was responsible for creating new kettlebell sport rankings for IKFF (see Story of IKFF Sport Rankings). Coach Kanygin is now teaching his kettlebell training methodology based in pure Russian GS training methods coupled with his experience as postural therapist.

Coach Denis blogs here: http://www.workoutiq.com/blog/

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