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Magnitude and Relative Distribution of Kettlebell Snatch Force-Time Characteristics

Lake, Jason P.1; Hetzler, Brandon S.2; Lauder, Mike A.1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 11 - p 3063–3072
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000538
Original Research

Abstract: Lake, JP, Hetzler, BS, Lauder, MA. Magnitude and relative distribution of kettlebell snatch force-time characteristics. J Strength Cond Res 28(11): 3063–3072, 2014—The aim of this study was to compare mechanical output from kettlebell snatch and 2-handed kettlebell swing exercise. Twenty-two men performed 3 sets of 8 kettlebell snatch and 2-handed swing exercise with a 24-kg kettlebell on a force platform. Vertical and horizontal net impulse, mean force, displacement, the magnitude, and rate of work performed displacing the kettlebell-and-lifter center of mass (CM), phase durations and impulse ratio (horizontal to resultant) were calculated from force data. The results of repeated-measures analysis of variance showed that: (a) vertical CM displacement was significantly larger during kettlebell snatch exercise (22 ± 4 vs. 18 ± 5 cm, p = 0.001), and vertical CM displacement was significantly larger than horizontal CM displacement, regardless of exercise (20 ± 3 vs. 7 ± 1 cm, p < 0.0001); (b) the magnitude (253 ± 73 vs. 3 ± 1 J, p < 0.0001) and rate of work (714 ± 288 vs. 11 ± 4 W, p < 0.0001) performed to vertically displace the CM was larger than the horizontal equivalent in both exercises, and the magnitude (5 ± 2 vs. 1 ± 1 J, p < 0.0001) and rate of work (18 ± 7 vs. 4 ± 3 W, p < 0.0001) performed to horizontally displace the CM during 2-handed swing exercise was significantly larger than the kettlebell snatch equivalent; (c) this was underpinned by the magnitude of horizontal impulse (29 ± 7 vs. 18 ± 7 N·s, p < 0.0001) and the impulse ratio (23 vs. 14%, p < 0.0001). These findings reveal that, apart from the greater emphasis, 2-handed swing exercise places on horizontal mechanical output, the mechanical output of the 2 exercises is similar. Research shows that 2-handed swing exercise improves maximum and explosive strength. These results suggest that strength and conditioning coaches should consider using kettlebell snatch and 2-handed swing exercise interchangeably for the ballistic component of athlete strength and conditioning programs.

1Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom; and

2Department of Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri

Address correspondence to Jason P. Lake,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.