Monday, October 22, 2007

A Question for The KB Peeps Out There

Lower extremity mechanics for a kettlebell swing are similar to the lower extremity mechanics of the second pull in a snatch or clean? Yay or nay and why. How about a kettlebell snatch--are the lower extremity mechanics supposed to be different than those of the swing?

I'd love to hear what you have to say on the topic.


Anonymous said...

Without being any kind of expert, I'd guess that kettlebell snatch is slightly different than snatch with a barbell -- primarily because you don't have to move your knees back and out of the way. With kettlebells it's a lot easier to keep the weight close.

I often think that the o-lifts with a barbell work sort of like a trebuchet, with its multiple axes and the complex system of weights rotating around each other, vs. a fixed catupult.

Catherine Imes said...


We can discuss on Saturday and I will bring a few KBs. But this is based on my limited experience with Olympic Lifting, but my extensive experience with KBs.

If you are doing a high rep snatch, then it is a swing snatch, that is you allow the bell to swing back. You pop or "yank" at the optimum time to take advantage of the momentum of the swing. This pop or yank/shrug is what is similar (imho) to the 2nd pull.

Now, there is another style of swing or swing snatch that focuses on a tighter arch and a violent hip snap that projects the bell more outward instead of upward. It relies less on the timing I discussed above. The arms in the swing performed this way are straight. So, it doesn't carryover to the swing snatch as well as the above. The carryover to this exercise maybe more like a powerlifting style deadlift.


Catherine Imes said...

One other thing...

The swing as I teach it is identical as the KB snatch in terms of what you do with your lower body; there is a pop, you just don't complete the movement in terms of going overhead.

Anonymous said...

Tracy, Since I'm not savvy with the Olympic lifts...yet....I will offer an opinion/guess. It seems to me the K.B. swing is basically a dynamic squat with a powerful hip extension, unique in that the load is moving. The K.B. snatch is the same except the diretion of the bell is altered with the "pull". Typically it is terminated with full extension, not in the bottom of a squat. I have tried it like that and it's very hard to time it. The K.B. "flips" and lands. I really don't see a second pull in either movement. It's just "tick-tock" so to speak. I know CrossFit had a piece on this very subject. I'll try to find it. Dan

Catherine Imes said...

For clarification, there is not a 2nd pull in the KB Swing or the Swing Snatch. The timing of the snap/shrug is what is "Like" the 2nd pull of the olympic lifts in terms of hip extension.

Like I said to Tracy, we can discuss on Saturday (Dan I take it you are Dan Thacker and we've met). I won't discuss during the actual workshop (unless asked) but will be happy to stick around or come early to talk about it.

The only reason I think it should be discussed is that there are people who think the KB lifts are competitive with Olympic Lifts in terms of building explosiveness. I don't find this to be the case. KB snatch and swing are great conditioning exercises and are far less technical than the Olympic lifts.

Dan, Tracy

My friend Steve Cotter wrote an article for the Crossfit Journal a few months ago outlining the differences in some "Styles". Here is a link to this blog, with a link to the article:

The Iron Maven said...

Catherine, Dan and Anonymous,

Thank you for the discussion! This is exactly the type of dialog I want to have on Saturday--especially for people who are Crossfitters. I recently found the Steve Cotter article (Google) and found it very informative. But thank you, Catherine, for putting up the link. I think others will find it interesting.

There are many differences between using a KB and a BB. Both can be very beneficial, but the athlete needs to be aware of these differences. What one does with a KB or DB, may not easily and automatically transfer to the BB.