Ketlebell Snatch to Lunge: An Uncommon Killer Kettlebell Combo

Kettlebell Snatch/Jumping Lunge: Omaha Elite Kettlebell

Allow me to introduce you to one of my all-time favorite killer kettlebell combinations: The Kettlebell Snatch + Lunge.

The kettlebell snatch by itself is an awesome technique that works everything from head to toe, but by combining lunges with snatches I get to keep things interesting while drilling the basics. Additionally,  it’s a whole lotta fun.
Other benefits include:
  • The addition of the overhead lunge is great way to slow someone down who tends to cut their snatches short of a true vertical lockout.
  • The snatch and lunge are a great way of pairing one explosive movement and one grind.
  • The lunge adds an increased balance challenge.
  • Because the overhead lunge is a component of the getup, this combo is a great way to drill part of the getup or use as a seamless transition into the getup.
  • This combination can be progressed in various ways by changing the timing, adding a jumping lunge or even using two bells at once.

VARIATIONS

Here are several variations of the Snatch to Lunge combination that I like to use in my own training that range from simple to advanced.

LEVEL I: Snatch then lunge

Snatch the kettlebell overhead, pause motionless in the lockout, then perform either a forward or reverse lunge. Return to standing and repeat.  This is the obvious starting point for individuals who have demonstrated competence in both the snatch and the lunge separately.Q: “Which knee goes in front?” 
A: It doesn’t matter, just get good at both. When performing multiple reps per arm I sometime alternate legs with each lunge. The only exception to this rule is when you use the lunge to transition into a getup you must have the same leg in front as the overhead arm.
Snatch then Overhead Lunge

LEVEL II: Snatch as you drop into a lunge

As you perform the snatch, step forward and time it so that you catch the bell in the overhead lockout either just before or at the exact moment you reach the bottom of the lunge. Obviously, this is a more advanced variation that allows you to move at a faster pace and requires a slightly higher degree of timing and coordination.   The knee should touch the floor softly and quietly. Crashing the knee into the floor is forbidden and a definite sign that you’re not ready for this exercise.
Kettlebell Snatch as You Lunge

LEVEL III: Snatch as you jump into a lunge

Kettlebell Snatch into a jumping lunge

That’s right, jump! Ok… more of a hop really.
Start the snatch and as the kettlebell floats immediately jump into a lunge and catch the bell as you reach the bottom of the lunge.  Once again… no knee crashing allowed! The trick here is to not use as much power as you would to snatch while standing or the bell can go out of control. Since you are dropping under the bell, you only need to snatch with as much power as would be required to perform a  “clean” or make it float to shoulder height. From the kneeling position, I like to jump back up as  the bell drops into the hike phase of the next snatch.

LEVEL “M”: Double Kettlebell Jumping Snatch into a Lunge

Double Kettlebell Snatch to Jumping Lunge: Omaha Elite Kettlebell

Yes, I went there.
This is the same as Level III with one additional bell.
Since both snatches and lunges lend themselves to double kettlebells… I figured “Why not?” and I immediately fell in love with these.  I have never had a client perform these, but they are something I feel safe to use in my own training.
Safety is always first and foremost so I recommend only using bells that you can safely drop from the overhead lockout into the next snatch. For this reason I personally prefer to use 16kg or 20kg bells.  If I felt the need to go heavier (and I don’t) I would recommend lowering the bells to the shoulders between snatches.

There are quite a few levels of difficulty between this move and the last.. so hopefully, naming it “Level M” (the Roman numeral for 1000) gets the point across.  Again, obviously not for everyone… but if you have the necessary skills it’s about as ninja-like as a kettlebell move gets.

SAMPLES ROUTINES

Some examples of how to integrate the Snatch/Lunge combo into your workouts.
  • 5-10 Snatches + 5-10 Lunges, switch arms, repeat x 3 to 5 rounds.
  • (1 snatch + 1 lunge) per arm,  (snatch + lunge)x2 per arm, (1 snatch + 1 lunge) x 3 per arm… climb as high as you want, then start over at 1 & repeat for 5, 10 or 15 minutes.
  • 1 snatch, 1 lunge, 2 snatches, 2 lunges, 3 snatches, 3 lunges…etc, switch arms & repeat. Climb as high as you want, then start over at 1 & repeat for 5, 10 or 15 minutes.
  • (1 snatch + 1 lunge) x 6, switch arms & repeat. ( goal = 50 to 100 total reps)
  • 1 snatch + 1 lunge repeat for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, repeat with the other arm. x 3 to 5 rounds per arm.
  • 1 snatch + 1 forward lunge. Step forward as you stand up & repeat across the floor. Switch arms & come back. Repeat for rounds, reps or time.
  • 5 snatches + 5 lunges into a reverse getup. Switch hands when you return to standing and repeat for reps or time.

CONSIDERATIONS

SNATCH + OVERHEAD LUNGE PRE-REQUISITES
Before you consider adding this movement to your routine understand that this movement is uncommon for a reason.
It’s only recommended for for individuals who meet the following criteria:
  • No pain, and symmetrical 2s or 3s on the following components of the Functional Movement Screen
    • FMS Active Straight Leg Raise
    • FMS Shoulder Mobility
    • FMS Trunk Stability Pushup
    • FMS Rotary Stability test
    • FMS In Line Lunge
  • No Pain on the following clearance tests”
    • Spinal Extension Clearance Test
    • Shoulder Clearance Test
    • Spinal Flexion Clearance Test
  • Technical Competence in the following movements
    • the kettlebell deadlift
    • the kettlebell swing
    • the kettlebell getup
    • the one hand kettlebell swing
    • the kettlebell snatch
Before you jump into any advanced kettlebell technique… consider this: 
If the answer to any of the following is either “No” or “I’m not sure”, then this combination is not for you.
Does this exercise support your goals?  
Have you mastered the fundamentals first?

Don’t even think about combining snatches and lunges until you rock at lunges and snatches. This should seem obvious.

With the help of a competent instructor you can regress one or both movements to get the same benefits in a safe and appropriately challenge manner.

Is the risk to reward ratio acceptable?
Can you accomplish the same thing in a simpler or safer way?
Tight rope walking between two skyscrapers will teach you balance, and juggling live chainsaws on fire will build great hand eye coordination, but there are simpler and safer ways to get the same benefits without the risk.

15-Minute Advanced Double Kettlebell Workout – No Gym Membership Required

Double 32kg Kettlebell Setup

If your time is limited and you want to get stronger grab a pair of heavy kettlebells and practice the basics.
Don’t worry about what exercises are going to be in the next W.O.D.,
stop scouring through all the generic fitness magazines for a new routine and
immediately cease and desist with the endless buffet of home workout DVDs or youtube videos.

To maximize what precious little training time you have, you need to come to terms with the fact that less is more. Specifically, Less distractions and less techniques.

Resistance training isn’t new, it’s been around for millennia so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The biggest and most productive  movements in the weight room are common knowledge and according to Master SFG Dan John they can be narrowed down to about 4 categories: Pushing, Pulling, Squatting and Hip Hinging. As long as you hit all four categories in your training and stay strong in each, you’re ahead of the curve.

  1. SQUATTING: Squatting or Lunging
  2. HIP HINGING: Deadlift variations, Cleans and Snatches
  3. PULLING:  Rows or weighted pull-ups
  4. PUSHING:  All manner of pressing

A heavy barbell workout consisting of the above movements can take hours or days and lots of expensive equipment, not to mention a steep learning curve for the Olympic lifts, finding a gym that permits these movements and enough available equipment & space to not have to wait or work in with others. However, with two appropriate kettlebells you can do all of this and more and be finished in 15 minutes.  The ways you can arrange these movements are endless… but here’s a great 15-minute full-body kettlebell routine that uses all four categories.

15-MINUTE Strength & Conditioning Workout

The following workout doesn’t mess around.
It’s intended for the experienced kettlebell lifter.
It consists of two parts: A strength routine and a ballistics routine.

QUICK & DIRTY WARM-UP
10 Pump Stretches, 3 Kneeling Hip Stretch per side, 5 half-kneeling halos each direction per leg.

GRINDS (You’ll perform the first three movements as a complex without setting the bells down)

Omaha Elite Kettlebell Double Kettlebell Grind Complex: double Kettlebell clean, double Kettlebell press, double Kettlebell squat, double Kettlebell renegade row.

  • Cleans x  3-5
    Hike the bells behind you between your legs, then stand up explosively. Guide the kettlebell to the rack position without crashing. Hold motionless for 1 second while building maximal tension in the legs, glutes abs and lats.  Repeat for reps.
  • Presses x 1 -5
    Picking up where the clean left off… adjust & narrow your stance.  Tighten up, press down into the earth and press the bells overhead. Hold the lockout motionless for 1 second and perform a strong active negative as you return the bells to the rack. Repeat for reps. 
  • Squats: x 3-5
    Picking up where the press left off…. interlace your fingers, inhale, stay tight and pull yourself with strength down into a squat. Pause motionless for 1 second, then drive your heels into the earth and wedge your hips underneath you to return to standing. Fully extend your hips, maximally contracting your quads, glutes and abs at the top before repeating for reps.
    Now you can set the bells down.
  • renegade rows: x 3-5
    Assume a pushup position using the kettlebells handles to support your weight.  Maintain hip extension as you stiffen your entire torso, glutes and legs.  Alternately pull one bell to your hip at a time. Left + Right = 1. Repeat for reps.
  • Rest & Repeat as necessary.  I like to perform 3 to 5 rounds and always strive to use weights that allow me to get 3 reps or more per technique.

FINISHER
Omaha Elite Kettlebell: Double Kettlebell Ballistics Swings, double Kettlebell High Pulls, double Kettlebell Snatches
I always enjoy wrapping up with a heart pounding lung burning finisher like so…

  • Snatches x 1 – 5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Rest Briefly
  • High Pulls x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Rest Briefly
  • Swings x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Start over with snatches and repeat this circuit for remainder of the allotted time.

OPTION A) Complete the entire workout with a moderate set of bells such as 24kg bells for men or 12 to 16kg bells for women.

OPTION B) “Weight Pyramids & Ladders”
Use up to three pairs of different size bells, light, medium and heavy and perform the workout like so

  • Perform the Clean, Press, Squat, Row complex with a weight pyramid: 
    Round 1: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
    Round 2: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
    Round 3: Perform the entire complex with Heavy bells.
    Round 4: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
    Round 5: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
  • Perform the Snatch, High Pull and Swing Circuit using a Descending Weight Ladder
    Round 1: Heavy: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Round 2: Medium: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Round 3: Light: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Done.

There you have it, a workout that takes 15-minutes and includes variations of the all the big movements.

Efficient, spirited & brutal, just the way I like it… and in my humble opinion you should too.

Enjoy.

Video

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun with the Double Kettlebell Deep Six

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 5.04.49 PM

One of my favorite kettlebell drills of all time is the “Deep Six” by Master SFG Instructor Jon Engum. The Deep Six gets it’s name because it features the six fundamental kettlebell techniques taught by Pavel Tsatsouline performed in the form of a complex, as originally written it uses a single kettlebell (12-16kg for women, 20-24kg for men) and asks you to build up to completing 15 minutes of work without setting the bell down.

The beauty of the Deep Six is that it creates a simple and challenging way to drill all of the fundamental kettlebell skills taught to and by SFG certified instructors with a single bell while building strength and endurance.

Jon Engum has written an excellent article on how to program and progress the Deep Six which can be found here: http://flexiblesteel.net/trainingarticles.html

Here’s a video of 13-year old performing the deep six for a single round.

A few years back I entertained the idea of completing the Deep Six with two kettlebells and gave it a shot and was pleased to find the kind of heart pounding challenging it provided. Performing all six techniques with two kettlebells really changes things and drills strength and endurance on a different level. During the single bell version of the Deep Six one arm is always resting… but during the double bell version you get double the load, neither side of your body has anywhere to hide. It’s double the pleasure and double the fun.

Even an accomplished & strong kettlebell practitioner will find completing just one round of the Deep Six with two kettlebells challenging, not to mention completing three or more rounds. Here’s the sequence.

The Double Kettlebell Deep Six
Using two snatch test size bells complete the following techniques without setting the bells down.

  1. 5 swings,
  2. 5 cleans
  3. 5 presses (sometimes I just combine 2&3 into a clean & press combo)
  4. 5 squats
  5. 5 snatches
  6. 1 get down/up.

Rinse & Repeat until strong(er).

TIP: You may want to start with lighter bells than you snatch test weight and take time to build up.

If you’re familiar with these techniques you’ll likely feel comfortable performing double swings, cleans, presses and squats so I will not go over them here, but for the average person the double snatch and getup needs some addressing:

The Double Kettlebell Snatch

The double kettlebell snatch is performed the same way as the single kettlebell snatch with the exception of lowering the bells to the shoulders between reps.
The reason I do NOT recommend dropping the kettlebells directly into a hike pass from the overhead lockout position is that this complex will put you in a state of fatigue and I have found that hiking directly from the overhead lockout leaves too little room for error plus you run the risk of the bells colliding with each other and/or your knees on the way down. Hiking the bells from the racked position is much simpler and safer.

Tips:
Inhale and brace strongly during the hike-pass phase.
Push your hips back far enough to generate maximum power during hip extension.
Take a moment or two to rest in either the overhead or rack position.
If absolutely necessary, set the bells and collect your strength before performing the snatches and realize that completing several or even one round of the double deep six does not need to be rushed and conquered the first time out, but should be built up to wisely by working within your limits instead of trying to exceed them.

The Double Getup

Version A)
Double Kettlebell Getup (both bells overhead)
In this version both bells are held overhead throughout the lift.

Because it impossible to wedge yourself off the ground while holding two bells overhead the double getup only bares a resemblance to the single kettlebell version in that you are holding a weight overhead. It requires a combination of creativity and flexibility to complete. It looks like a sequence of an overhead weighted situp to a hurdler stretch to a tall kneeling overhead lockout to standing and back down again. HOWEVER, when performed as the finale of the double deep six it is performed in the reverse order from standing to supine back to standing, so once your on your back and gravity is no longer your friend, the hardest part of the maneuver remains.

The problem with this version of the lift is that it is difficult to maintain a neutral spine through the “sit-up” portions of the lift. Keeping a braced midsection and neutral spine is CRUCIAL to performing the lift safely. So, the only way to really do the lift is by bracing your midsection, stabilizing your spine then throwing your legs to gain enough momentum to rock into a seated position.

Version B)
Getup into a Two Hands Anyhow

In this version of the lift you will set one bell down for a portion of the getup then pick it up again. This allows you to avoid using momentum to rock into a seated position, BUT it requires even more thoracic mobility PLUS the ability to curl one kettlebell into position. Because you are only maintaining one bell overhead for the entire lift you then face the dilemma of making things symmetrical. Instead of adding an extra rep to balance out I suggest using the other arm then next time you perform the sequence or keep track and save it for another day.

Conquering the Deep Six
There are many ways to skin a cat an no single approach is THE answer, but one approach to conquering the Double Deep Six is to approach it in parts.

Take several weeks to train the most challenging parts, maintain the easier ones then put it all together in the end.

A DAY (A program minimum of sorts)

Warmup/Rehearsal: Practice the full Double Deep Six with lighter bells and reduced reps if necessary. Avoid fatigue.

Snatches & Getups
Practice 5 minutes of Double Getups
Practice 10 minute of double snatches

Do not go all out.
Go at a 50-80% all out pace and just drill perfect reps.

B DAYS (Everything Else)

Warmup/Rehearsal: Joint Mobility and Practice the full Double Deep Six with lighter bells and reduced reps if necessary. Avoid fatigue

Perform the following sequence with double snatch test size bells

Swings, Cleans, Presses, Squats, Loaded Carries, rest & Repeat
1 to 5 reps of each lift + one to two minute of carries. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Sometimes use a combination of heavier bells and lower reps breaking the sequence into to smaller chunks:

For example a man who snatches a 24kg would use two 28s or 32s a woman who snatches the 16kg would use 18s or 20s and do

Several sets of Cleans, Presses & Squats, Rest, Repeat
I recommend keeping the reps low on the presses, and hitting the cleans and squats the hardest. A sequence Master SFG Dan John uses sounds and feels about right: 2 cleans, 1 press, 3 squats.

Then

Several sets of Swings & Loaded Carries, Rest, Repeat
keep the swings in the 5 to 10 rep range. Do two sets of swings, rack the bells and go a nice walk. Repeat this sequence several times and keep increasing the number of sets and increasing the amount of time you can walk without setting the bells down.

Every few weeks test yourself by trying to complete the entire sequence and see how far you’ve come.
I’d break the challenge down like so.

Goal #1:

1 swing, 1 clean, 1 press, 1 squat, 3 snatches, 1 getdown/up.
repeat 2-3x.

Goal #2
Gradually increase the first four lifts in the sequence to 3 reps each.
3 swings, 3 cleans, 3 presses, 3 squats, 3 snatches, 1 getdown/up.

Goal #3
3 swings, 3 cleans, 3 presses, 3 squats, 5 snatches, 1 getdown/up.
repeat 2-3x.

Goal #4
Gradually increase the first four lifts in the sequence to 5 reps each.

5 swings, 5 cleans, 5 presses, 5 squats, 5 snatches, 1 getdown/up.
repeat 1 to 2x.

Goal #5
Gradually increase the first four lifts in the sequence to 5 reps each.

5 swings, 5 cleans, 5 presses, 5 squats, 5 snatches, 1 getdown/up.
repeat 3x.

Here’s a video from a few years back where I nearly conquered the Double Six for a single round with two 24kgs, but I was unable to complete the second half of the double getup as that’s always the most difficult part.
(There’s a video somewhere of me completing it, but I can’t find. I’ll need to film it on another day)