What Are the Benefits of Kettlebell Snatches?

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The kettlebell snatch is a full-body, power exercise. It works the hamstrings, quads, back, and shoulders. You pull a kettlebell off the floor from a squat position, swing the weight up, then dip under it, and press it overhead. Perform the movement quickly and explosively. You will reap many benefits from this one basic exercise.

Total Body Strength Exercise

The kettlebell snatch is a simple movement. Pull the weight off the floor, then snatch it overhead. Within that simplicity lies one of the main benefits of the snatch--you work almost every major muscle in one exercise. Pulling the weight off the floor involves the hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors. The thighs continue to work as you swing the weight up. The calves and back also come into play at this point. The shoulder and arm finish off the movement as you press the kettlebell overhead. An advanced kettlebell snatch, the two-arm snatch, works both sides simultaneously. The body works together as one unit to complete a snatch. This mimics real life activities and movements. The strength and coordination benefits reaped from the snatch transfer to daily life.

Burn Significant Calories

The American Council on Exercise, a non-profit fitness watchdog group, tested the effectiveness of the kettlebell snatch. The organization recruited researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Participants performed a one-arm snatch for 15 seconds, then rested for 15 seconds. They alternated arms each 30 second cycle. The session continued in this manner with 15 seconds of snatches and 15 seconds rest, for 20 minutes. On average, participants burned 13.6 calories per minute aerobically, and 6.6 calories per minute anaerobically. They burned over 20 calories per minute total. Researchers concluded that the high-calorie burn rate was due to the amount of muscles used and the speed with which a snatch is performed.

Cardio & Strength in One Exercise

The kettlebell snatch is primarily considered a strength exercise. The resistance of the kettlebell strengthens and challenges your muscles. However, because the snatch works so many muscles and is done quickly and explosively, it also challenges your aerobic energy system. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, concluded that the kettlebell snatch workout easily meets industry standards for improving aerobic fitness. Participants maintained 86 to 99 percent of their maximum heart rate during the workout. The kettlebell snatch is a very efficient exercise. In as little as 20 minutes, you can perform both a cardio and strength workout.

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