Coveting the Snatch Test

russian reds2RKC has one, SFG has one . . . a 5 minute Snatch Test as part of the certification process. You’re even given a finite rep count: 100 of them . . . in 5 minutes. The weight isn’t particularly heavy, but it does get cumbersome for most before minute 5 or before rep 100. In fact, both organizations, Dragon Door & Strong First, respectively, have a lot of people re-test.

What does it take to Snatch a Kettlebell 100 times in 5 minutes? Practice, lots of it. Rare is the person who can pick up a Kettlebell for the first time and ace this test. Maybe it’s never been done . . . or maybe someone out there really is that skilled and that crazy.

I’m often curious about timed tests like this . . . what it takes, how it feels . . .

As discussed in Learning to Finish What We Start, sometimes we do better to back off the specified weight and build a solid base with a lower weight. Snatching 24kg is not a problem, doing it a hundred times in five minutes can cause problems unless we have a solid base of practice & work.

Dan John, who was RKC then SFG and is now RKC again, wrote a great piece on the process, How to Nail the RKC Kettlebell Snatch Test Once and for All. If anyone is qualified to help people pass this particular test, it is certainly Dan John, Master RKC.

There are movement hacks & tweets that help with the Snatch, and those are covered in the article . . . particularly the drop. Focus on these tips during your warm-up, they do help significantly.

True to form (see Unadulterated Grunt Work) I took his advice and did three 5-minute tests today at 12kg . . . 3 minute rests between each test. My time with the 12kg Kettlebell looked like this:

  • 5 minute Test- 104 reps
  • 3 minute Rest
  • 5 minute Test- 116 reps
  • 3 minute Rest
  • 5 minute Test- 120 reps

Even with the lighter weight, my first test was low . . . more than 100 reps, but barely. It took that first one to begin the groove of what 100 reps in the allotted time feels like. By the second test, and even in the last one when I was starting to feel the effects of 3 sets of this mayhem, getting well over 100 reps at 12kg was not a problem. In Test 3, all 100 reps were complete at the 4 minute mark. Everything else was just me conditioning myself to not pull the bell down until time is called.

There really isn’t any reason to show up at an RKC Certification (or SFG, for that matter) without having performed 100 reps of Snatches in 5 minutes. I certainly wouldn’t consider rolling in there having only done the 100 reps with a 12kg, knowing that I will be tested with a 24kg, but the confidence of knowing what 100 reps feels like will help propel our training towards our goals.

Take every opportunity to learn about what & how to make this skill one of your skills. Study it, practice it, and when the time comes, perform it without undue & unnecessary stress.

Semper Fortis


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