Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Kettlebell Snatch (The Other Arm)

One thing I've noticed about people's kettlebell snatch technique is that the 'resting' arm is, for the most part, frozen throughout the movement. In my humble opinion, they're missing out on a valuable nuance of the movement. Honestly, I'm surprised that I've never seen this coached before - not saying no one does, but I've never seen it.

If you've ever tried to jump with your arms stuck to your sides, you'll know how this seems to glue you to the floor. Arm movement helps coordinate the effort of the hips. Coaches trying to improve the vertical jump, for example, will instruct their athlete's to actively pull the arms down to maximize the stretch reflex and have them do pull-ups to improve strength to this end.

7 comments:

Peter said...

I just started doing the kettlebell snatch, so this is good to know before bad habits become concrete.

Boris said...

Thanks Peter.

As you learn the movement for the first time, you shouldn't be worried about what the other hand is doing. It's a subtle nuance that will be relatively easy to develop after you've mastered hip drive and punching through the bell to the top.

Charlie said...

Haven't doen a lot with KB but I've seen some RKC guys advise that the off hand should be strongly clenched throughout to maintain a strong core throughout the movement. Relaxing the off hand seems to make the whole off side relax and the core with it.
:-) charlie

Boris said...

You're right. Keeping the other arm stationary might be easier for beginners because they might relax the core if they allow the arm to swing.

I don't think I said the off hand should be 'relaxed'. Actively pulling down and driving w. the other arm is not relaxing it. With a lighter bell, it will be more 'relaxed', but should (IMHO) still be moving in the same direction as the bell.

Thanks for posting Charlie.

Franklin said...

I have my clients focus on using the other arm when teaching one arm swings. Only after mastering those do we go onto snatches where the use of the other arm to help load the posterior chain is already natural.

Joe Pavel said...

Hi Boris,
Great information. I tested it out on snatches, high pulls and swings today. It makes them all much easier, safer and stronger.
Thanks.

Franz Snideman said...

Well said....funny how nobody ever talks about the "other arm." Makes perfect sense. Luckily I have always used my other arm, just kind of comes naturally to me from years of sprinting. In sprinting the arm action is vital to proper force generation and helps big time!