Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Snatch Variation for Fighting Power!

Not all exercises are created equal.

Some exercises like the Squat or the Swing are great for building general levels of strength and conditioning. Other exercises, however, are much better for training that is more specific to the martial arts and combat sports.

A martial artist or combat athlete is heavily dependent on movements that are anaerobic, explosive, and (typically) unilateral in nature. So, we want to utilize, as much as possible, exercises and training methods that focus on those qualities.

I think I've got just the exercise for you.

The Split Stance Snatch - 

I'm a huge fan of unilateral movements: Pistols, 1 Arm Kettlebell lifts, 1 Arm Pushups, Bulgarian Squats, ect.. - I can't think of many I don't like.

I like unilateral movements so much because of the many benefits they offer:

  • They Build Stability - Unilateral lifts challenge your balance and core strength in ways other lifts like the Squat or Deadlift simply cannot. Consistently training the right unilateral lifts will teach your body to be firm and stable - which means more strength and less injury.
  • They Engage More Muscles! - This is really a big deal for those who want hit harder, hit faster, and keep hitting until their opponent is down. You see, not only are you training your prime movers with unilateral lifts, but you're also training the stabilizers. By teaching those, normally 'dormant', muscles to innervate during a movement you are teaching your body to generate more force. (*Hint: That's a good thing.*)
  • They Are More "Specifc" to the Combat Athlete/Martial Artist - The idea of specificity gets thrown around a lot (misused by most) but in general when we're talking about the need for specificity in a program we mean that an athlete should train certain attributes and skills that are relevant to their chosen discipline.

    Generally it's just a fancy way of saying "Boxers should Box, Swimmers should Swim, and Runners should Run". However, in regards to strength training and conditioning it also means that athletes should spend a good deal of time working at intensities, speeds, and with movements that are relevant to their sport.

    Ultra-Distance Runners won't get much benefit from training the bench press and Boxers don't get much benefit running marathons.

    Unilateral movements are more specific for martial artists because, in general, everything we do is with one side of the body at a time: We punch with one arm at a time, kick with one leg at a time, takedowns are often done on either one leg or in a "lunge" type position...ect. Even the typical fighting stance is a unilateral stance.

    So, you can see why unilateral lifts are important to you. 
The unilateral lift I want to talk about today is the 1 Arm Split Stance Snatch

This is a great lift because you get all the benefits of a regular one arm snatch: you train power/explosiveness, coordination, stability, ect... BUT because of the Split Stance (kind of a "lunge" type movement) you essentially double the above mentioned benefits and you squeeze a little more specificity out of the movement.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Here's a video of me performing the lift with a 24 kg kettlebell:

When To Use It -

There are all kinds of ways you can throw this lift into your current routine. I'll just give you a few examples:

1. As an explosive power lift, you can use a heavier weight/lower reps. I, typically, like to throw in my explosive power lifts after a "grind" type lift: Deadlift, Military Press, ect... But there are days were I'll just focus on heavy singles of only this lift.

2. For conditioning do the opposite and use a lighter weight for more reps. Keep the reps above 10 and the rest periods low.

3. You can also work this lift to develop speed-strength. Take a light to moderate weight and perform the lift at maximal speed. Keep the rep range low and do no more that 3-5 sets.

Conclusion -

However you choose to "cook" it I'm sure you'll see some real benefits from consistently training this lift.

You'll build stronger, more stable legs and core. You'll build speed, power, and unreal stamina. Hell, do enough of these and you may just build a pretty damn impressive physique too.

Not too shabby.

Train Hard,
Josh Skinner

Indian ClubsKettlebell Quick Start Kit for Men


  1. Hello!
    How are you?
    Thank you for teaching all of us today.

    I learned so much from this dispatch. Many things clicked for me. Wonderful insights!

    I am off to buy a kettle ball. I think these techniques you shared will work well with my Hop Gar.

    Looking forward to more.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    I'm sure you're gonna love your kettlebell. :)

  3. what would be the benefit of doing these with a barbell?