How to Learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch

How to Learn the Double Kettlebell SnatchSo the Double Kettlebell Snatch, huh? “You love it, you hate it, you love to hate it.” It is the exercise that I consider the most technically demanding of all the kettlebell drills. This movement is a true test of strength and explosiveness when performed with heavy weights. It humbles a lot of people that consider themselves really strong. And finally, the Double Kettlebell Snatch is the exercise that brings results.

Let’s talk a bit about the drill itself.

[NOTE: by “Double”, I always mean “performed with two kettlebells”]

What Is the Double Kettlebell Snatch?

Here is a video from the one of my previous training sessions:

I perform two reps in the Double Kettlebell Snatch with a pair of 32 kg bells here. It was a part of my workout and set #3. Of course, there is a big room for improvement in technique, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with regaining this feat of strength. When I lived in Cherkassy, I was able to do up to 6-7 sets of 2. However, I’m not sure about whether my technique was good or not because I never filmed it. After I moved to Kiev, I was not able to train with kettlebells, but recently I got my babies back. It took me approximately 6-7 training sessions to regain the feat (two months or so). The interesting thing that I did it only with a pair of 32 kg kettlebells; I have no other ones. I will share with you the exact method that I used later in this article.

So What Are the Main Technique Points?

The main technique points are:

  • Do not press the kettlebells, catch them;
  • Keep your lower back arched;
  • Jump as explosively as possible;
  • Perform the exercise in one move.

So what you need to do is:

1. To get into the proper starting position. Just like in the Double Swing, with kettlebells in front of you.

2. Arch your lower back; check the leg-width because you do not want two heavy cannonballs to wreck your knees.

3. Pull the kettlebells to you; reverse the movement and perform the Double Swing to the eye-level.

4. Then pull the kettlebells to yourself while simultaneously squatting down.

5. Catch the kettlebells at the top and stand up.

It is definitely easier said than done. It is hard to imagine what you should feel if you never tried the Double Kettlebell Snatch, but this explanation should give you some pointers. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to check out the video above for reference.

Furthermore, there are two types of One-Arm Kettlebell Snatches: without bending the arm and with it. I am sure that you will not be able to do the double version without bending in the elbow with heavy bells. Therefore, do not worry about it.

Why Should You Learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch?

Because it is awesome.

How to Learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch?

The easiest way is, of course, to use lighter kettlebells and move to heavier ones as you get stronger, step by step. Yet this progression will fit only the perfect universe with unicorns and rainbows. In rough reality, you probably will not be able to possess all the kettlebell weights you want/need. In my case, I have only a pair of 32 kg bells. Therefore, I must either perform the drills, or do not even touch the kettlebells.

So how can you learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch if you are as restricted as me. The progression that helped me looks like this:

Double Kettlebell Swings -> Double Kettlebell Swings (above the eye level) -> Double Kettlebell High Pull -> Double Kettlebell Snatch.

Depending on where you are, it can take either more steps, or less. In case you cannot do Double Kettlebell Swings, building to them is as simple as:

Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings (one kettlebell) -> One-Arm Kettlebell Swings -> Double Kettlebell Swings

Let’s get back to the Snatch progression. Getting to the Above-the-Eye-Level Double Kettlebell Swings is relatively simple. Stay in the 3 sets of 5 set/rep scheme, be as explosive as possible with your hips, and you will get it pretty quickly.

Then you should add Double Kettlebell High Pulls. This exercise is quite similar to the Swings, but at the top you should pull the bells to yourself, then back to straight arms, and finish the rep just as the regular Double Kettlebell Swing. What you want to consider is that you can lose the height of the Swings if you drop them completely for the High Pulls. My advice would be to combine them. 2 sets of 5 per exercise will be enough.

My another advice is to concentrate on the actual jump. You may have heard when coaches tell their students to jump during Power Cleans. Well, this is doesn’t mean “the intention to jump”, it means the actual jump.

In addition, try to film your work sets. This will help you to clean up your technique.

Once you are able to do the High Pulls at the eye-level or above, you will be ready to try your first Double Kettlebell Snatch. All you need to do at this point is to perform the High Pull with as much explosiveness as possible (that is the jump) and to squat when the kettlebells will be at their highest. This will allow you to catch the bells without pressing them. Then just stand up. Of course, it will probably be not as smooth as you wish, but do not get frustrated. You can always polish the technique in the process. Soon you will be doing sets of 2, 3, 5 etc. The next step will be to do the Bottom-Up Double Kettlebell Snatch, but this is a completely different story.

How to Incorporate the Double Kettlebell Snatch into a Program?

This question is very tricky. You cannot put the Double Kettlebell Snatch into classic categories because it involves both upper and lower body into action. However, the “jumping” nature of the drill leaves us a hint to program it as a lower body drill. You will feel your hamstrings, calves, quads, lower back, lats, traps, and forearms during this move (as well as in 24 hours).

So if you follow a full-body routine, your workout can look like this:

A) Double Kettlebell Snatches – 3 x 3

B) Handstand Push-Ups – 20-rep total

C) Weighted Pull-Ups – 3 x 5

Rest for 3-5 minutes between the sets.

Why the Snatch is the first exercise? Because it is the most technically demanding. Put it in the end and you will probably fail to show results in it.

If you use splits, then it fits Back/Legs or Lower Body days perfectly. If you prefer the latter, your workout can look something along these lines:

A) Double Kettlebell Snatches – 3 x 3

B) Weighted Pistols – 3 x 6

C) One-Leg Calf Raises – 3 x 20

Rest for 3-5 minutes between the sets.

All in all, the best results in the Double Kettlebell Snatch can be achieved through devoting a separate day for this bad boy.

Furthermore, despite ranking higher in the progression, the Double Kettlebell Snatch is not the same as the Double Kettlebell Swing. If you need to strengthen specifically your lower back, I would suggest to leave the Swing in your program and to get progressively stronger in it by using heavier weights.

Closing Thoughts

Is there a life-saving need to learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch? A lot of coaches will answer “no”. The majority of them will prescribe the one-armer and call it a day. In addition, not everybody wants to master such a demanding exercise. However, isn’t it awesome to be able to take two heavy kettlebells overhead with one move? I think it is. Now you have all the basic information to start your Double Kettlebell Snatch journey, so do not waste time. As always thanks for reading.

Play rough!

Alex Zinchenko

Every time you don’t like and share this article, you upset a kitten somewhere.

Do you have any thoughts? Do you think that training for the Double Kettlebell Snatch is a waste of time? Are you confused how it will work your bicepz and abz? Let’s chat in comments.

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3 thoughts on “How to Learn the Double Kettlebell Snatch

  1. jgod

    Hey Alex,
    I am getting a pair of KB’s and wanted your advice on size, I’ll be starting with one arm drills etc. to learn the lift and then use two. I currently do a lot of high rep barbell work as I am limited on weight (squats, clean and press etc) along with rings.
    Should I go the whole hog and get some 32kg bells, and follow a similar principle as you?
    Great post by the way, we are not all blessed with unlimited weights!

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. jgod

      Also I will probably only be able to get one pair, and do not wish to outgrow them, if that affects your judgement.

      Reply

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