Kettlebell Sport Basics: Snatch Part 3: The Rules for Traditional Snatch

Kettlebell Sport Basics: Snatch Part 3: The Rules for Traditional Snatch

The Hardstyle One Arm Swing Reading Kettlebell Sport Basics: Snatch Part 3: The Rules for Traditional Snatch 5 minutes Next Steve Cotter Part 2: Squat & Press Variations

The Rules for Traditional Snatch:

1- Lifters have 10 minutes to put up as many reps as they can, changing hands one time.

2- Once the lifter puts the bell down, their set is over, but they don't have to fulfill 10 minutes to win.

3- There are typically 5 weight classes for the lifters and the bells used in competition range from 12kg to 24kg for women and 16kg to 32kg for men, in 4 kg increments.

4- Lifters must wear shoes.

5- Knees and elbows must be visible to the judge, so shorts and t-shirts are worn.

6- Wrist guards and knee wraps are permitted.

7- Only chalk can be used on the hands and handle of bell.

8- In the event of a tie, the lifter with lighter body weight wins.


What Constitutes a Rep or a No-Count:

1- When the bell comes into fixation, a momentary stop of both the bell and the lifter’s body is necessary, with the elbow and knees straight.

2- The bell must be lifted in a continuous manner without stopping or adding an additional press.

3- The lifter is not permitted to touch the kettlebell with the freehand or

use it as a support for the execution of the lift.

4- The lifter is not permitted to perform extra swings or bring the bell to the rack position.

5- There must be no excessive leaning or rotation in fixation. The lifter’s body must face in the same direction.

6- The lifter is not permitted to rest in a hanging position with the bell motionless.

If the above actions occur, the lifter will get a No-count and command to switch if on their first side or a Stop command will be issued for the second side.

The lifter can change hands whenever they choose.

Factors of Pacing for Snatch:

There are various ways to approach pacing. One of the easiest methods is to start with 2 to 2.5 minutes each arm with a light bell at a slow pace, about 12 rpm or one rep every 5 seconds.

As you build on your time and add to your pace, you’ll divide the reps into the minutes. For example:

1-14 rpm = 7 reps every 30 seconds or divided into quarters = 4/3/4/3 for each minute.

2-15 rpm = 5 reps every 20 seconds.

3-16 rpm = 8 reps every 30 seconds or divided into quarters = 4/4/4/4 for each


4-Depending on where you are in your training cycle, you can include interval sets of shorter time but faster pace.

Let’s say a male lifter wants to achieve Rank 1 with a 16kg bell. He needs to fulfill 164 reps, so he’ll train to eventually fulfill 10 minutes at an average of 17 rpm. This is fairly easy and he’s consistent with the pace from beginning to end.

His next goal is to achieve Candidate for Master of Sport (CMS) with the 24kg bell. He needs to fulfill 150 reps, but this is a challenging weight and he’s still developing his technique and endurance. In his training he sees that he cannot maintain 15 reps through the full 10 minutes yet because his pace slows at the end of each side due to fatigue.

His strategy will be to front load additional reps as a cushion when he slows at the end. His pacing may end up being 17,17,16,14,12 (+4) 80 reps, going 5:15 on first side, then 17,17,16,14,6 on his second side. Ideally, he’d like to be consistent throughout the entire set, but it doesn’t always work that way, especially when starting to compete with heavier weights.

Accessory Drills:

1-Snatch with cotton gloves. Perform with a light bell after your main set, starting with 3 minutes each side, 12 rpm.

*PLEASE be very aware when you set up your environment! Don't do these sets if there are pet, children or breakable objects nearby. Nobody loses the bell intentionally, it happens when you least expect it.

2-Snatch with extra swing. Perform with a light bell, starting with 2.5 minutes each side, 10 rpm.

3-Heavy low swings. Start with 30 reps each side

4-Heavy low swings switching each rep. Start with 3 min total.

Next up will be Swing Clean


Lorna is a 5-time World Champion in Kettlebell Sport, with Absolute National records in 24kg and 20 kg Snatch.

She is an author and personal trainer, with a Bachelors in Exercise Science. Coaching certificates from IKSFA, WKC, AKA Certified Coach and personal training through NASM.

Lorna's been featured in SHAPE, Prevention, Women’s Health and twice in The New York Times, but her greatest triumph is not evident to the eye. Her journey was shaped by a relentless hunger to experience her full potential, guiding her to the highest ranks in Kettlebell Sport and to bring a personal, results-oriented approach to her personal training clients.