Date of Submission



Kettlebell exercise has grown in popularity in the last decade. One of the exercises commonly performed is the kettlebell snatch, which is a key exercise within kettlebell sport. The kettlebell snatch involves swinging the kettlebell from between the legs to overhead in a continuous motion and is generally performed for multiple repetitions. In kettlebell sport the snatch is performed for up to ten minutes with only one hand change. A judge determines if the repetitions are performed correctly and allocates a point accordingly. Little research on the kettlebell snatch currently exists. When this thesis was started there was a single study, analysing the myoelectrical activity and internal kinetics of the spine (McGill & Marshall, 2012). During the course of this research program an additional three studies regarding the kettlebell snatch were published. Firstly, improvements in VO2peak of the kettlebell snatch were investigated (Beltz et al., 2013). Secondly, a comparison was made between the external kinetics of the swing and snatch (Lake, Hetzler, & Lauder, 2014). Lastly, an intervention compared circuit training and kettlebell snatch intervals (Falatic et al., 2015). This research looks to further explore the kinetics and kinematics of the kettlebell snatch. Study 1 (Chapter 3) recruited four international elite kettlebell sport athletes with the aim to gain insight into the trajectory and the variability of movement during four key points of the trajectory during the kettlebell snatch. In study 1, the lifters performed 16 repetitions of the kettlebell snatch with a 32 kg kettlebell over one minute. The analysis showed the kettlebells trajectory followed a ‘C’ path within both the upward and downward phases. There was a smaller ‘C’ path during the downwards phase and a larger ‘C’ path during the upwards phase. Moreover, there was low end point variability in the overhead lock out position, particularly within the vertical plane.

Study 2 (Chapter 4) aimed to quantify the external kinetics within amateur Australian kettlebell sport athletes within a six minute set. The snatch was found to produce differences in ground reaction forces between the ipsilateral and contralateral legs. The differences were found within the anterior-posterior (F (1.11) = 885.15 p < 0.0001, ESF = 7.00) and mediolateral vectors (F (1.11) = 5.31, p = 0.042, ESF = 0.67). Finally, the peak mean force applied to the kettlebell was reduced when the first and last 14 repetitions were compared suggesting fatigue (F (1.11) = 7.42, p = 0.02, ESF = 0.45). This was further supported by decreased hand grip strength (p= 0.001, ESD = 0.77).

In summary, these studies provide a valuable insight into the kettlebell snatch. Study 1 showed that there is inter-individual difference within the kettlebells trajectory, however some key similarities exist within elite level athletes. 1) Low variability within the overhead position, 2) the kettlebell followed a ‘C’ shape within the upwards and downwards phase, 3) the downwards phase followed a narrow ‘C’ shape. Study 2 found that the kettlebell snatch imposed different demands upon each leg. Additionally, there were changes within the force applied to the kettlebell during the six minute set.


School of Exercise Science

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


130 pages

Degree Name

Master of Exercise Science (Research) (MExSc(Res))


Faculty of Health Sciences