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Kettlebell Snatch Tutorial part IV – Correct Breathing Patterns

Welcome to part 4 of the Snatch Tutorial series. In case you missed them, here are Part 1Part 2 and Part 3

In this edition we look at the breathing patterns behind successful snatching. Kettlebell lifting happens best of we follow the anatomical breathing pattern. In simple terms this means that as the body expands, you inhale, as it compresses, you exhale.

This is contrary to the majority of lifting practices, but has solid reasoning behind it. For most lifting, a heavy barbell lift, say a squat or deadlift, you take a breath in to lower and exhale to lift. In other words you compress the body with a bellyful of air and only let it out as you fully expand. This is known as paradoxical breathing but it serves to keep the intra-abdominal pressure high in order to create stiffness through the torso and keep the spine safe. Ideal for maximum effort or high threshold lifting but no good for endurance.

Kettles are not maximal weights. Well, not usually on the Snatch, and certainly not if you’re only using one kettlebell (we’ll cover the double snatch in a future post….)

So the need for maximal intra abdominal pressure is greatly reduced once good form and good technique is learned. And to be fair, if you learn to swing properly, you should be already swinging bells heavier than you can snatch.

If we switch to using the anatomical style of breathing we will be able to get more air in and out, you’ll even manage more breath cycles per rep and in doing so will be able to work for much longer.

If you plan on taking on the “Hard Style” secret service snatch test or compete in a kettlebell sports event, then you’ll want as much oxygen going through you as possible.

This video goes into a good deal of detail on the hows and why’s of breathing for maximum efficiency in the snatch:

I’ve written about breath control techniques before and talked about how extra breath cycles, with an emphasis on the exhale, are the key to both power endurance and fast recovery. You can read that one HERE

And if you like these posts on Kettlebell Technique, please have a look at the Kettlebell Manuals available by clicking on the image below:

Click Image for more info

Click Image for more info

Next week we discuss the flight path of the Kettlebell and also footwork for the snatch.


Dave Hedges

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