KBell Snatch: A&A, Q&D, ...?

Harald Motz

> 2k Posts
Certified Instructor
7
I was watching the videos posted by @Harald Motz , above, and it seems like he is gripping/squeezing the bell on the downward swing. So maybe it is ok. I'm worried my palm-skin will get ripped up.
good observation Eric. When I snatch heavy I grip the hell out of the bell with plenty of chalk. The handle is deep into my palm and I 'overgrip' it. The handle in the hook of the fingertips thing has its limits: usually the weight that can be used, definitely makes sense to learn it from the start and using it on the snatch test.

I want as much grip as I can, to snatch powerfully. When the grip is questiobable it does nothing good to the mechanics of the snatch.

And don't worry about your skin: it will rip at some point. It can happen that every repeat the hands hold up nicely, and then on the next out of a sudden...ripped. Some skin abuse is just part of the A+A snatch business.

It seems you really enjoy the process and make nice progress. Like it should be. Good stuff.
 

william bad butt

More than 500 posts
7
good observation Eric. When I snatch heavy I grip the hell out of the bell with plenty of chalk. The handle is deep into my palm and I 'overgrip' it. The handle in the hook of the fingertips thing has its limits: usually the weight that can be used, definitely makes sense to learn it from the start and using it on the snatch test.

I want as much grip as I can, to snatch powerfully. When the grip is questiobable it does nothing good to the mechanics of the snatch.

And don't worry about your skin: it will rip at some point. It can happen that every repeat the hands hold up nicely, and then on the next out of a sudden...ripped. Some skin abuse is just part of the A+A snatch business.

It seems you really enjoy the process and make nice progress. Like it should be. Good stuff.
Thanks Harald! Yes, so far I am really enjoying the workouts. Right now with A&A and my strength training, at 40 yrs old, I am feeling great! Likely in my prime! And hopefully still increasing!

Regards,

Eric
 

william bad butt

More than 500 posts
Still plugging away at A&A, for several months now! Feeling pretty good. I'll comment on the results or transformative benefits, later. But my approach has settled on a slightly different path than what I was expecting, initially.

Background: I have been doing the "10/20/Life" strength training program 3 days per week. Saturday is training the Big 3 (pause squats, pause deadlifts, and floor presses). Sunday I go to Planet Fitness and do some light hypertrophy/recovery training (it's my fav workout of the week, ask me about it sometime). And Wednesday do some Accessory stuff (weak point training, lots of unilateral excersises. I keep thinking that I am going to "take a break" from the barbell and do some doubles kbell or something else, but my progress is so great it would be insane to stop right now.

For A&A, I am doing this 2.75 times per week. Let me explain. Twice a week I am doing 20 repeats. Easy sets with the 32 kg. I was going heavier but I think the 32 bell is good for me right now. When going heavier, I was feeling beat up since I am still hitting the barbell hard and heavy. The three quarters workout ("2.75 times per week"), on my 10/20/Life accessory day, I am doing 10+ repeats (<20 repeats) with a 40 kg bell (and 36 kg too). I'm doing this just to get some heavier snatching in. I like alternating between the heavier 40 kg bell 1 day per week and the light 32 kg bell 2 days per week. I'm doing all of this while sloooooooowwwwwlllllyyyyyyy dropping down to the 220 lb weight class for a future, TBD, powerlifting meet. I'm mindful that focusing on the barbell lifts, while doing A&A, while dropping weight might be too many goals and could be a recipe for disaster. But so far so good. I'm focusing on nutrition and sleep (8-9 hrs!!!!! This has been a big change for me in the last year!) and only pushing the barbell and A&A moderately. For aerobic excersise, I am just walking daily and at least 1 long walk per week. I am getting stronger. And I am leaning out. I feel great!

Similar to those who chase a specific goal but continue to train S&S the minimum 2 days per week. Why can't the same can be done with A&A snatches? And the beauty is that it is more minimalistic since it is 1 movement. Not sure if I am conducting the Pure Strongfirst approved A&A program, but I think my A&A will ebb and flow throughout my training year. For the months I'm focusing on powerlifting, A&A may be less days/week and lower volume/intensity. For the off season, the intensity and volume and frequency can increase.

Regards,

Eric
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Great report, Eric. Glad it's working well for you. And it makes sense -- I think you may be getting some synergistic effect, so you're getting more benefit than just your 2.75x/week. When I switched from heavy A+A kettlebell programs (swings, then snatches) in 2016-mid2017 to barbell strength in mid2017-mid2019, I was actually struck by how similar it was, more than how different. Hard effort, rest, hard effort, rest, repeat for 30-70ish hard efforts in a session. Even though it was a different focus, different tool, and totally different program, I think what is different is less significant than what is the same.

Now that I'm doing Olympic lifting training with the barbell, it seems even more similar to A+A kettlebell. Hard power effort for 1-3 reps, rest, repeat 30-50 times in a session. The internalized A+A principles are serving me well in the new endeavors.

Another thing that helps you get benefit from your A+A time is that you're actually using heavy weight. As Pavel says in Q&D (and I think is true for A+A also), these who have a significant base of strength/skill can actually see more results from it.
 

william bad butt

More than 500 posts
@Anna C

Yeah I think there is synergy. The programming mindset is similar as well as the mechanistic execution. PROGRAMMING MINDSET: As you mentioned, lift heavy for about 3 to 5 reps, take a long break to fully recover, repeat over and over again. This applies to the snatches, this applies to the squats. MECHANISTIC EXECUTION: It fascinates me how my kbell snatch looks and feels like my deadlift, which looks and feels like my squat. Even my bench press in some regards... Some of my internal cues and visualisations are the same. I think it makes sense. It probably doesn't matter what the implement is (barbell or kbell), biomechanically there is a BEST way to move the load.

With these recent years of increasing your strength via barbell grinds and now barbell ballistics, it will be interesting to see the impact on the kbell lifts. Especially with someone like you, who is at such an advanced level. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if you could go up a bell with only maintenance level kbell training. This is what happened to me, by the way! There was a time, years ago, where kbells were my main modality. Now they are my secondary modality/focus. But I am using significantly heavier bells now even though I am not focusing on kbells. It is, of course, because I am stronger. And you are right, now I seem to be reaping benefits that I missed before, when I was using smaller bells.

Heavy weight is relative I guess. My lighter bell is now the 32kg. I really like this bell! After several months, I am now at the point where I can really power this bell. I don't need to grab it at all (in my fingertips the whole time) and I can really power the bell downwards during the drop (what Pavel calls "shadow swings/snatches" in S&S). This powerful drop, or forced negative, or forced eccentric (or whatever you want to call it) adds something that I am still trying to quantify. I can snatch the 40kg just fine, but I cannot power it down as hard as the 32kg bell without giving the handle a death grip (and even if I can it fatigues me, almost like CNS fatigue, over multiple weeks), I'm not strong enough, yet. I have to rely more on gravity. This is my bodily feedback to know when I can go up a bell --> Capability to power down the negative AND being able to do it with a looser grip (essentially my fingers without the thumb contributing as much). But I recognize there is value in snatching the 40 (even if I haven't mastered it yet), and so I do it once per week.

I really like A&A. To me A&A is the most efficient and generally valuable (useful) conditioning protocol that I have been exposed too. PERIOD. And it also delivers, somewhat, in the strength department. So much so, that you could probably get away with only using A&A as a standalone program. And the ceiling is so high. I could stick with this for years. I can still progress up to bigger bells, OR, maybe even do it with double bells!

However, to me, I still think it is important to complement A&A with some progressive strength training. Western power lifting training (1 or 2 days per week) + A&A snatches a few time per week, seem to be a good match.

Regards,

Eric
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
@Anna C

Yeah I think there is synergy. The programming mindset is similar as well as the mechanistic execution. PROGRAMMING MINDSET: As you mentioned, lift heavy for about 3 to 5 reps, take a long break to fully recover, repeat over and over again. This applies to the snatches, this applies to the squats. MECHANISTIC EXECUTION: It fascinates me how my kbell snatch looks and feels like my deadlift, which looks and feels like my squat. Even my bench press in some regards... Some of my internal cues and visualisations are the same. I think it makes sense. It probably doesn't matter what the implement is (barbell or kbell), biomechanically there is a BEST way to move the load.

With these recent years of increasing your strength via barbell grinds and now barbell ballistics, it will be interesting to see the impact on the kbell lifts. Especially with someone like you, who is at such an advanced level. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if you could go up a bell with only maintenance level kbell training. This is what happened to me, by the way! There was a time, years ago, where kbells were my main modality. Now they are my secondary modality/focus. But I am using significantly heavier bells now even though I am not focusing on kbells. It is, of course, because I am stronger. And you are right, now I seem to be reaping benefits that I missed before, when I was using smaller bells.

Heavy weight is relative I guess. My lighter bell is now the 32kg. I really like this bell! After several months, I am now at the point where I can really power this bell. I don't need to grab it at all (in my fingertips the whole time) and I can really power the bell downwards during the drop (what Pavel calls "shadow swings/snatches" in S&S). This powerful drop, or forced negative, or forced eccentric (or whatever you want to call it) adds something that I am still trying to quantify. I can snatch the 40kg just fine, but I cannot power it down as hard as the 32kg bell without giving the handle a death grip (and even if I can it fatigues me, almost like CNS fatigue, over multiple weeks), I'm not strong enough, yet. I have to rely more on gravity. This is my bodily feedback to know when I can go up a bell --> Capability to power down the negative AND being able to do it with a looser grip (essentially my fingers without the thumb contributing as much). But I recognize there is value in snatching the 40 (even if I haven't mastered it yet), and so I do it once per week.

I really like A&A. To me A&A is the most efficient and generally valuable (useful) conditioning protocol that I have been exposed too. PERIOD. And it also delivers, somewhat, in the strength department. So much so, that you could probably get away with only using A&A as a standalone program. And the ceiling is so high. I could stick with this for years. I can still progress up to bigger bells, OR, maybe even do it with double bells!

However, to me, Western power lifting training (1 or 2 days per week) + A&A snatches a few time per week, seem to be a good match.

Regards,

Eric
Great post, @william bad butt ... Sounds like we have arrived at very much the same place over the past few years. Yes it's great how the kettlebell gets easier and the skills are still there while magically using a heavier one after doing barbell strength for a while. BTW let me know when you're back in Mississippi! I've got a set-up to train with barbells or kettlebells.

I still think it is important to complement A&A with some progressive strength training.
Al has a Pilot Protocol specifically for this - A+A + strength, in addition to many A+A protocols. Anyone who is interested in Al's programs can contact him through his site, www.bewellandstrong.com.
 

william bad butt

More than 500 posts
BTW let me know when you're back in Mississippi! I've got a set-up to train with barbells or kettlebells.
Its looking like I'll be back for late March. I have to head down for a week for work. I'll probably also spend the weekend and visit my brother. He lives in Lizana, just north of Gulfport. Once I get the dates confirmed, I'll reach out to you to check and see if you are available: I'm about 10-15 years behind on getting my swing form checked!

Regards,

Eric
 
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