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Are Kettlebell Snatches Better Than Swings?

author image David Arroyo
David Arroyo is a 20th level nerd with specialty classes in fitness and arts. After getting his Master of Arts in English from Florida State University. He became an A.C.E.certified trainer and health coach. In addition, he completed the Crossfit Kettlebell certification. When not consumed with writing, he's pursuing his purple belt in BJJ.
Are Kettlebell Snatches Better Than Swings?
Proper form for a kettlebell snatch. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

Over the last few years, fitness enthusiasts have been introduced to kettlebell exercises, particularly the basic swing. However, kettlebell training represents a complete system, not just one exercise. Kettlebell snatches are another dynamic exercise perfect for plateau busting and conditioning, but are snatches better than swings? The truth is both exercises are great, but they address different body parts.

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Swings for the Hips

Proper form for a kettlebell swing.
Proper form for a kettlebell swing. Photo Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

The swing is all about hip drive -- rocking back and forth and squeezing the butt to create a ballistic deadlift. The focus is on the posterior chain -- the lats, the glutes, the hamstrings. In doing so, the swing becomes an excellent metabolic exercise that builds muscle and burns fat.

Snatches for Shoulders

The snatch is also great for strength and conditioning. The big difference is a matter of emphasis. While the swing is a ballistic deadlift, the snatch is a ballistic shoulder exercise. True, there is some hip drive, but not as much as the basic swing. The snatch excels at building resilient, rugged shoulders. In other words, if you enjoy kettlebell training use both during your workouts.

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