The kettlebell swing and kettlebell snatch are two staple exercises in kettlebell training. The kettlebell, a round, cannonball-like weight with a looped handle, is different than a dumbbell because it does not have an even weight distribution like a dumbbell does. This uneven weight distribution makes the kettlebell the ideal weight to use in explosive exercises such as the swing or snatch. Both the snatch and swing are intermediate to advanced exercise moves and should be done with a trainer to ensure proper form.
Kettlebell Snatch Benefits
Kettlebell snatches help to build endurance and explosive speed and power in your upper body. The exercise requires all of your large muscle groups, making it an ideal total-body workout. With all of those muscles being engaged, snatches also ramp up your heart rate to help you burn calories and shed excess fat.
How To Perform A Snatch
To perform a snatch, stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell between your legs. Squat down and grab the kettlebell with one hand. Pull the kettlebell off the floor by straightening hips and knees and swinging the kettlebell upward. Once the kettlebell reaches hip height, flip your hand around so that the kettlebell now rests on the back of your wrist. As the movement continues upward and reaches shoulder height, thrust the bell upward with your arm.
Kettlebell Swing Benefits
The swing is a total body toner and fat burner. The movement of the swing forces you to engage your lower body and your core, and no pressure should be felt on the arms or shoulders. The kettlebell should float through the air as your legs power the momentum. The combination of strength and endurance in the swing exercise provides a double benefit of a high calorie burn, as well as strength training.
How To Perform A Swing
To perform a swing, stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell between your legs. Squat down and grab the kettlebell with one hand. Pull the kettlebell off of the floor as you reach back between your legs with the bell. Quickly swing the bell through your legs by extending your arm forward and pushing your hips forward while straightening your legs. Let the kettlebell fall back between your legs as you fall back into your squat.
Which Is Better?
Both the kettlebell swing and kettlebell snatch have significant benefits. The swing, however, is a more basic move and can be added into any workout regimen. It takes a while to learn the proper form for a snatch, and this exercise should be monitored by a trainer to avoid injury. If you are a beginner, swings are the better option for you to add into your workout routine. Advanced exercisers under the supervision of a trainer can receive immense cardiovascular and strength gains from the snatch.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.