The kettlebell snatch is a brilliant full-body exercise, however, I'd never have thought to do 100 of them a day for a week. In fact, the thought of doing 100 kettlebell snatches a day for a week did fill me with dread, not because the move is difficult, but because 100 kettlebell snatches can take a fair while. Plus, kettlebell movements can often be noticeably tougher than exercises using a dumbbell. More on that later.
But, another day, another challenge, so I grabbed a kettlebell and got snatching. Plus, I wanted to see if I would notice any changes in my body or my general fitness. Read on to find out what happened.
What is a kettlebell snatch?
Essentially, it’s a full-body exercise that helps build power, and strength, while also working the cardiovascular system (AKA, the heart and lungs) to improve fitness. Plus, studies (opens in new tab) have found kettlebell training to be effective in maintaining or improving cardiovascular conditioning.
To do a kettlebell snatch, start with the kettlebell on the floor in between your feet, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back, keeping a flat back, and lower your left arm down. Grip the kettlebell handle with the left hand, swing the kettlebell behind you, between your legs, and as you stand, straighten the knees, shrug the left shoulder and swing the kettlebell upwards, driving your arm up overhead. Keep the core engaged throughout. As the kettlebell is going overhead, swing it over your hand, so the kettlebell rests on the back of your hand. Lock the left arm out before flipping the kettlebell back to the front and lowering the arm back down. Here’s a video for clarity:
I did 100 kettlebell snatches a day for a week — here's what happened
To keep things balanced, I opted to do 50 kettlebell snatches on each arm. Rather than alternating arms, I decided to do 50 with the left arm and then 50 with the right.
Just to clarify, you can do snatches with dumbbells too, however, kettlebells do take the edge in my opinion. But, snatches with a kettlebell are harder. With a kettlebell snatch, there is somewhat of a swing involved and I feel like my posterior chain stays engaged for longer and more consistently as the kettlebell doesn’t really touch the floor much.
So anyway, 100 kettlebell snatches a day. Here’s what went down:
My arms were on fire
Personally, for me, my upper body is noticeably weaker than my lower body, so any move involving my arms, done repetitively, tends to leave me a little sore. But 100 kettlebell snatches every day for a week left my shoulders and biceps ever so slightly on fire. On the days I used a heavier weight (16kg kettlebell), this was far more noticeable.
My back felt tight
As the kettlebell snatch activates the entire posterior chain (bum, hamstrings, and back), it makes sense that my back started feeling a little sore. After day three, I had to foam roll a bit more on my back, although this tended to be when I was using the 16kg kettlebell rather than my usual 12kg.
The fact I was using a heavier weight will definitely have had an impact on this; in hindsight, I should have dropped my weight and gone a little lighter.
The kettlebell snatch is a great full-body move
Honestly, it’s not just upper or full-body days that the kettlebell snatch is suitable for. I added it into a lower body day finisher, along with some barbell front squats, and really felt it in my glutes and hamstrings. Obviously, these muscles were already fired up from my leg day workout but the kettlebell snatches certainly added an extra burn. It’s just so important to ensure your form is spot on with the kettlebell snatch as it requires muscles in your back too, and you might end up with an injury if you’re not engaging the back muscles properly.
As a personal trainer, I was able to take on this challenge relatively stress-free, but if you’re new to the move, or you’re returning to exercise post-injury, it’s worth checking your form with a personal trainer.
My apple watch almost ended up in A&E
A regular dumbbell snatch won’t have this effect, however, the kettlebell snatch very nearly smashed the screen of my Apple Watch 8. Upon lifting the kettlebell up overhead, the motion of flipping the kettlebell onto the back of my left hand meant that the 12kg kettlebell I was using pretty much whacked my watch every time. Obviously, to stop this happening I took my watch off, however as I am quite anal with my workout tracking, I can’t say I was overly pleased with having minutes of my workout unrecognized. Might I add, I’m aware this is a first-world problem.
I was bruised
As well as nearly smashing my watch, the motion I explained above also led to some minor bruising on my forearm. It’s nothing major, but I did throw out a few expletives in the gym.
I highly recommend wearing sweatbands on your wrists when doing 100 kettlebell snatches every day for a week. This will help absorb some of the impact from the kettlebell. Unfortunately, I only thought of this after the seven days were up.
I was left out of breath
Thanks to the constant movement of the kettlebell snatch and also the fact that it recruits so many muscles, it makes this a pretty good cardio move too. After just 20 reps I was having to drop the kettlebell and grab a quick breather! I love the fact that the kettlebell snatch is really a great 2-in-1 move; working so many muscles and giving my heart and lungs a nice attack too!
I did 100 kettlebell snatches a day for a week — my verdict
I do love a snatch, so the move itself wasn’t anything new, but the number of reps certainly was. I felt it everywhere in my body, and it really did get my heart rate up too, which I aim to do in all my workouts.
Aside from the minor bruising and close-to-fatal Apple Watch incident, everything ran smoothly with this challenge and I loved the feeling of getting fitter and stronger. Will I be incorporating more kettlebell snatches into my regime? Yes — I love them!
Next: Check out what happened when this fitness writer did biceps curls every day for a week. Also, I did 100 kettlebell swings a day for a week — here’s what happened.