Monday, October 1, 2012

"Plus 50%" for Snatch-aholics...a double snatch workout using light bells

I have so many training methods going on in this workout!  "Plus 50%", "Work into Rest", "Pacing".  This double snatch workout requires light bells, the intensity will come from the high reps, the speed of light bells, and the short rest periods, and because of these reasons training double snatches becomes doable for most people.

I could do a whole workshop, (a three day workshop!) on how I've developed, over the past few years, numerous ways to train the snatch.  Many of my methods and techniques come from how I program the swing, but there is one method I use that is much more applicable to the snatch than it  is to the swing....and that is pace!

Pacing swings really only makes sense if you are increasing or decreasing RPM (reps per minute, or in how I program and train, per 15 second intervals) when you add 1 or 2 reps.  It does not make sense to train the swing faster, in my opinion, and slower?  Well, again, in my experience slowing down the swing can only be done, and make sense, by 1 or 2 reps.  And can only increase in speed, safely and without compromise to form and technique, by, at the most 2-4 reps (this gives you a range of 8-14 reps per 15 sec, 16-28 per 30 sec, 32-56).  If you speed up the swing to it's fastest possible pace, 14 reps per 15 sec, training it for a 1 minute interval is nearly impossible, especially for a beginner, and not necessary (ever) unless it's for a very specific, sports related purpose.  Otherwise you are just trying it to see if you can do it, which is the same as "testing" your skill and ability, and sometimes that's enough reason, but you don't do that every week, much less every workout!  But seriously, swinging super fast on a regular basis has no room in the average persons workouts when there is so much else to do, and so much else that has greater value than burn out! (jmo)

Okay, so this post is not about swings, it's about snatches.  Snatch training, however, thrives on pace work!  The way I combine pacing with my own "Snatch Combinations" has, and still has, unlimited variety, mix in a few swings and I could go on and on, and on...  Snatch pace can, and does, include "snatch holds", another way to train for strength and stability. That means training snatch pace gives you the options of starting at 1 rep "holds" increasing in speed up to 30 reps per minute (15 every 30 sec, 8 every 15, Max pace), give or take a rep or two, 1-30 rep pace, now that's variety!  Snatch for strength and stability, or speed and endurance, or all of them.

Am I ever going to get to the workout?  I've decided to post as many of my own workout videos that I have time and energy to tape, but I may not do a lot of writing/explaining of the routine. I will write the workout down in my own shorthand, but if you want to try them, just train along with me as I'll lead you through, verbally, on video.

The top video was Saturdays light dble snatch workout, refined by the one I did on Thursday, and it's written out and posted here last (at bottom of post).  Saturdays video workout is shown in it's entirety (over 20 minutes) and Thursdays is separated into two parts.  Saturday's workout starts with a single bell option, but it's not necessarily an easier option because you must be able to snatch for 1 minute and longer with only one hand switch, 12-18 reps each R and L.  It shouldn't be a problem if you have been training regularly for some time and using the appropriate weight.

But I'm going to start with Thursdays workout because, in it, I do much more explaining and coaching of the workout, and I suggest you start with watching and following along with that one first.(#1 below) If you are just starting to experiment with light double snatches, or are a trainer that wants to introduce your clients/classes to this kind of training, this video is the first half of the workout and where you want to start, at a 12 rep per 30 sec pace.  The extra reps, the ones added past the 30 sec interval, are extra bonus work!  Do not do this workout or encourage beginners to #1 add extra reps at all unless you/they can competently complete the first 12!  Also, do not do, or introduce, a workout like this to any client or class that has not yet trained an entire cycle or Max Vo2 training (80 sets of 7-8 reps 15/15)

2 8kg's

12 snatches per 30 sec pace
add two reps until you increase the workload by 50%
repeat adding one rep at a time up to 50%
12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
and finish with one last set of

12 minutes, 187 dbl snatches

Now the pace picks up to 14 reps per 30 sec.  From this point the pace always stays the same! You should hit the 14th rep at 30 seconds, each rep addition will go into the rest period. You will increase your work, AND lose rest...a double whammy!

14 reps
21 x 2, end with one last set of

11 sets, 11 minutes, 192 dbl snatches.

23 minutes, 379 dbl snatches

When I increased the pace to 14 reps per 30 sec I decided to jump up by two reps until I got to 7 additional reps (50%), but I repeated the rotation.  I just couldn't bear going up by one rep at a time!  I saved it for the next workout!  Little did I know this was as much or more work!

"Plus 50%" Snatch-aholics (top video, Saturday's workout)

This version starts with a single bell as a warm up for the upcoming method of adding 50% more work.  The sets are twice as long, 1 minute + because you have to train R and L.  This was the workout I designed for last Tuesday's class and I liked it so much I interpreted it for doubles...which is how this all happened!  This single bell version is another complete workout, and repeated and sped up is super fun on it's own too!

In this full length video I do not tape the first 5 minutes of swing/snatch sets that I always use as a "warm up", the video starts with the first set of the theme of the workout, which is "Plus 50%".  In this workout I add reps, each set, until I have increased the rep count by 50%.  In both of these workouts I start out at a 12 rep per 30 sec pace, and increase it to a 14 rep per 30 sec pace.  The pace is important, and as I add reps, the pace stays the same!  The extra reps will go into the rest period, do not change the pace!

With one bell, each set starts on a 2 minute interval, 12kg

12 reps R, 12 reps L (this should take 30/30, with 1 min rest)
14 reps R, 14 reps L  (approx 70/50 sec)
16 reps R, 16 reps L (approx 80/40)
18 reps R, 18 reps L (approx 90/30)
12/12 (1 min/1min)
10 minutes, 144 snatch reps

With double bells each set starts "on the minute" interval (since you will be snatching both R and L at the same time) double 20 lber's

12, 14, 16, 18, 12
5 min, 72 dbl sn reps

Speed up the pace to 14 reps per 30 sec and increase each set by one additional rep

14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 14
9 min, 154 dbl sn reps

Dang!  Whew, done! and this was less dbl reps than I did on Thursday!  Didn't feel like it!  I did increase my dbl bell weight from 8kg, to 20lb, adding in 4 lbs total.  Still though!  You might even hear me "triple breathe" in the last few sets.

24 minutes, 144 sngl snatch reps w/12kg, 226 dbl sn reps w/20lb bells  (370 total snatch reps)

If your conditioning or skill is not up to this level, and or you are training with someone who is not up to this level, the progression is this order.

#1 decrease the number of reps per interval.

#2 decrease the number of reps per interval, but do not decrease the rep pace.  For instance, if you can only dble snatch 10 reps safely, then only complete 10, but at the 12 or 14 rep per 30 sec pace.  For that matter if 5 reps is you max at that pace that's perfectly fine.

#3 complete only the 12 or 14 reps per 30 seconds.  Do not add additional reps at all.

PS if "knocking" double bells bothers you then you must have a longer inseam than I do! (one of my training partners is 4'11").  Good thing Franz Snideman isn't watching...or should I say, listening!


Hanneke said...

Holy cow! this is not for the faint of heart...:))

My plan was to do some double swings and snatches with 2 20lbs KB. I am tapering for the Chicago marathon this Sunday so nothing too crazy this week.

I did a few rounds of sinister warm up and cool down. Then the first part of dbl snatch 50%. I decided to do 10 reps in 30 sec and then work up to 15. It was very doable but I know 12 is going to kick my butt. Also I am pretty sure I cannot do 14's yet.
But maybe I can.....something to look forward to next week!!

Maribel said...

I'm doing this again on Tuesday! Going up to 14 reps did me in on Saturday so I'm going to attempt the add on's again. Loved this one! (I always say that of every one of your session!)

Tracy Reifkind said...


It will still be here after the race!

I'll be posting some variations using less reps to demonstrate that slower, especially snatches, with the right weight, is not easier!

But I'll write about it! You seemed to have naturally gravitated toward what I consider (10-12 reps) "marathon" snatch rep pace!

The worst thing about 14's is that 50% more = 21! With two 20lbers that equals 40 pounds, the equivilent of an 18kg! At Max Vo2 pace! Light bells? Ya right!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Have at it, but rest up for this Saturday! This all came about from a Plus 50% swing workout that is killer too!

Hanelle said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome - I can't wait to try this! Incidentally, what exactly do you do in the 5 minute warmup, since it's not on the video? Think I may have missed it. Alright, so I'm off to borrow an extra 8kg from the Cairns's if I can, because I don't have a pair of any two bells. :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


I've posted it many times before, and it may look like a "workout" instead of a "warm up"! But my peeps are used to it, in fact they could probably answer that question!

It's basically the same swing/snatch progressive sequence I developed,but it's a good subject for a blogpost. In the mean time just swing/single snatch as a way to warm up the movement before you start!

Hanelle said...

Thanks, Tracy! I'll look out for it - as you say, in the meantime I'll just do my own thing. :) Actually, today was the very first time EVER that I tried double snatches, and I'm feeling thoroughly pleased with myself right now. :D I used 8kg and 10kg and just switched after each set, keeping all sets 12 reps in 30 seconds. Just to get me started. I think it's my new favourite thing. :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


So glad you tried it out! I always introduce "light" double snatches in my classes and to my clinets, and at first everybody kind of freaks out! Double snatches seem so intimidating, but done this way, and trained progressively, everybody is always amazed at their own skill and ability! I'm glad you had the same experience!

Oh, and it's not fun because it easy, huh? It's fun because you can make it "just hard enough", and the speed of light bells "whip around", but pack a powerful punch done in high reps!

Hanelle said...

Absolutely - it was hard work, but still fun because it was such a novelty and I surprised myself by being able to do it. Fun is important for workouts, whatever our definition of "fun" may be. :)

It's a strange feeling to get used to, though: because the bells are light, it's not difficult to punch through them at the top, but I found that the two bells created quite a "pull" at the bottom of the movement where it decelerates. So I'm looking forward to playing around with this, progressing to more reps and eventually heavier weight. It should be interesting - "only" doing 12 reps in 30/30 sets had my heart rate way up even quicker than heavier single snatches usually do. Clearly the punch double snatches pack is quite impressive! And because there isn't always more TIME to workout, adding density to workouts by doing more WORK is always a good idea.

Anyway, thanks again for making and keeping KB training so cool and interesting and "fun". :) I'm really glad I came across your book and website and look forward to learning a lot more from you!