The Drop

Drop (2)As that old saying goes; “What goes up must come down.” And when it comes to the drop in the Kettlebell Snatch it can either be smooth, painless and efficient or your worst Kettlebell nightmare, especially when it comes to your hands.

Two of the things that dictate a good drop into the backswing are;

  1. The distance, speed and arc.
  2. The amount of hand grip and the re-grip.

Let’s look first at the distance, speed and arc.

Taming the arc has two important advantages. If you think about the path of least resistance, i.e. distance & resistance, a straight line is definitely king. When the trajectory is arced away from our center of mass we create a longer distance to travel and unnecessary resistance throughout our musculature in order to compensate for that imbalance (fighting with the bell). If you’re going to fight with the bell, the bell always goes for the K.O.

Shortening the length of the drop is also integral. When the drop is shortened there is less distance for the Kettlebell to fall into the backswing thus less gravitational pull and its forces to deal with.

Once the arc is tamed and the Kettlebell drop distance and speed is shortened and slowed we need to redirect that energy to set up the backswing. This is where that Kung Fu grip comes in.

Grip Tip: If you’re going to tear your hands during the snatch it’s most likely because of griping and re-gripping issues during the drop.

Some of the mistakes that are made when it comes to the grip are: too much of it or firing it too early or too late.

During the initial execution of the drop the grip needs to be relaxed and loose, you want to shadow the kettlebell, not hold on to it for dear life. Let gravity do it’s thingy. This is an important step in saving your hands and keeping your grip. Gripping the bell too tightly at this point will ultimately cause it to pinch and pull during the re-grip phase, you want to set it up for a clean jump (palm to fingers), not a scrap across the barnacles (calluses).

The jump happens in the re-grip phase, this is the point where the bell reaches the apex going into the backswing. Now this is the tricky part, well tricky if you’re giving the handle a tad too much of that KF grip.

Think about a rock climber, they don’t hang on with their palms they hang on with their fingers. We use our palms for pushing, we use our finger flexors for gripping and pulling.

The ideal handle grip would be with our thumb locked on top of our index finger while the others assist in stability and alignment. This technique unfortunately sometimes isn’t possible with smaller sized hands and wider handles, so all of the flexors would need to be recruited into the lift, but the jump remains the same.

Now that I’ve created Paralysis through Analysis, here are a few simple takeaways to hopefully keep things in perspective.

The Drop

  • Keep the grip loose in fixation. That way you won’t be over-gripping before the drop.
  • Give the Kettlebell a clear straight path like a zipper by directing it to the center with your pinky finger.
  • Move your head back to move your upper torso back, this helps tame the arc.
  • Flex at the knees to shorten the drop.
  • Re-grip with your finger flexors at the apex of the backswing.

Obviously there are many more aspects of the Snatch Technique but through experience, trial and error, lots of trial and error I have found that mastering the drop has been the most rewarding in increasing my numbers, saving my hands, grip strength and helping me move on up to the BIG Red 32 kg.

Master the drop and you’ll master the lift.

Just take it one drop at a time.

Coach Tim Bell

OKC, IKSFA Level 1 Coach

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