Kettlebell workouts seem pretty straightforward, but as with any exercise — and especially those involving weights or functional movement—technique is extremely important to avoid injury. So how can you perform a kettlebell single arm snatch routine to get fit without getting hurt?
Here are five tips to ensure you’re doing kettlebell exercises the right way (and if you need a visual reference, here’s a great video to check out):
- Don’t think of the snatch as a series of big swings. It’s actually four separate, tightly controlled arcs: one from between legs to shoulder, one from shoulder to above the head, then two more of the same arcs back down. Remember: if you’re not in control of your exercise equipment, you’re not in control of the workout.
- For the first arc, always make sure to bend your elbow when you have the kettlebell at shoulder height. That way, you can press up into the next arc, giving you a better workout and keeping you from pulling a muscle, too.
- For the second arc, the one that goes from shoulder to above the head, straighten out—but never lock—your elbow.
- Use a lighter kettlebell than you normally would. Snatches tire muscles out quickly, and relying on the kettlebell’s momentum instead of maintaining good form and proper control could injure your arms, shoulders, or back.
- Don’t twist your arm or wrist. It’s tempting to rotate your elbow in when you straighten up to go above your head, but your elbow should stay rotated out, away from your core, and your wrist should remain parallel with the kettlebell grip.