Friday, August 18, 2006

Improving Snatch #s - Heavy and Light

Photo above from Washington State KB Championship. I'm snatching the 32kg/70# KB.

Had a great session yesterday. I was able to use my friend's full set of competition ketlebells, designed by Valery Fedorenko, and made to meet the International size standards. They are all the same size, but their weight varies from 12kg/26# to 32kg/70#. They are cast steel, with smooth handles, which are slightly thinner than the standard Dragondoor KB handles. The size really makes a positive difference with the lighter bells. The larger bell size ensures a larger contact spot on your wrist. The 12kg and 16kg are great for warming up the shoulders.

My workout consisted of snatches, clean and jerks (1 and 2 handed) and overhead squats. After about 35 minutes I was wrapping up my snatch work with the 32kg. I felt pretty good and decided to snatch the "Bulldog", the nickname for the 40kg/88# KB. I haven't snatched it in quite a long time, probably over a year, and I've snatched the 32 only a few times over the past year. I did 17 reps with my right hand, and 18 with my left. The only thing that bugged me was the roughness of the (older) Dragondoor handle. Probably could have got 20-22 with smooth handles.

After that, I decided to get a small taste of "Beast" training (48kg/106# KB). My friend has a pair of those, so I though "When in Rome..." Did some 2 handed swings. Felt great! Much nicer than cleaning a pair of 53s because you can keep your feet closer together, making it better for the hip snap and easier on the knees, since they track better. Then just did a couple of sets of Clean and Jerks, 3 reps each hand. One thing about the Beast, it really reinforces keeping yourself tight when accept the Clean and Locking out it out. As Rif says "It's all easy until it gets heavy!"

Today I had a "Light" snatch PR, doing 224 reps with the 20kg/44# KB in 10 minutes. Last time I did 205, so this was a nice gain. Wore my heart monitor - started at about 80, at 5 minutes was at 180 (avg. 160), took a short break, then did the last 4+ minutes hard, averaging 170 beats a minute. Reps went (R/L) 23/23/22/21/15/15/5 (rest) 15/15/10/10/15/10/8/14.

224 reps with 44# = 9,856# of "work" [not scientific definition]
170 reps with 53# = 9,010# [previous best with 53#]

200 reps with 53# = 10,600#
250 reps with 44# = 13,250#

My goal is to do 250 reps with the 44# the next time I test, then it will be test time with the 53#. I want to bild a solid base, ensuring my joints are conditioned enough to take the full 10 minutes with the 53# KB. I want to "own" 200+ reps, which means I can do it and NOT be too tired, sore and I'd be able to do it the next day if I had to.... Obviously I won't be volunteering to do it!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Awesome Snatch Technique

Ran across this video clip at a KB site in the UK. It shows a Latvian Kettlebell Sport (Girevoy Sport/GS) Champion named Artur snatching a 32kg/70# KB in training in what I assume is a gym somewhere in London. He placed 4th in the World Championships, which is no suprise to me after seeing his smooth and flawless technique.

Here are some technique points worthy of your attention:

1) He keeps his upper arm tucked tightly against his upperbody as he snaps his hips. This ensures no "leakage" of the power he generates from his legs and hips.

2) He keeps his arm straight throughout the pull (also to transfer the power from his hips), but he also keeps it straight as he "punches through", getting the bell to slip around his wrist.

3) After his hip snap, he pulls back with his upper-back, traps and shoulder instead of bending his arm. This is a personal choice (other KB Champs bend their arms a bit) not a requirement, but it does put less stress on your elbows, and spreads the force among larger muscle groups.

4) From the head-on view, you can see how he lifts his shoulder and keeps his bicep very close to his ear as he locks-out. This keeps the bell from drifting outward, prematurely fautiging the shoulder.

Enjoy the clip. It takes a few seconds to download.