In the world of kettlebells, the 5 minute snatch test is one of the most demanding conditioning tests, the aim of which is to complete 100 reps with a given weight in the 5 minutes, this doesn’t leave much time for rest as 20 reps takes on average 45-50 seconds!

You could be very fit and strong with a kettlebell, but if your snatch technique isn’t efficient, you’ll gas out before you get the 100 reps.

The test is as much about skill as it is anything else.

Training started approx 4 months ago for this and the results have been spectacular to say the least !

Training ran through phases for two hand, one hand and then eventually snatches were introduced for the final 5/6 weeks.

Here are the results in order from heavier to lighter weight.

  • Duncan Guthrie – 60 reps with 24kg
  • Emma Hills – 100 reps with 20kg
  • Kelly Cotter – 100 reps with 18kg
  • James Humphrey – 100 reps with 18kg (1HS)
  • Jan Sefton – 90 snatches with 18kg
  • Toby Briggs – 100 snatches with a 16kg
  • Claire Cummins – 100 reps with 16kg
  • Liza Anderson – 100 reps with 16kg
  • Martin Dobson – 100 reps with 16kg
  • Glynis – 72 reps with a 14kg
  • Charlotte – 100 reps with 10kg

Any form of progress is an achievement and should be celebrated. Well done to all that took part and I look forward to seeing if you can best your numbers the next time the test comes up in another 4 months or so.

If you’ve been using kettlebells for a while and would like to try this test, here’s the program we used.

Start with a heavy bell that you can swing for multiple sets of 10, but would struggle to swing for multiple sets of 20.

Start by doing ten swings, every minute on the min for ten mins. Train 2/3 times per week, each week add 2 reps until at 20 swings per minute.

Once this is achieved, use the same bell for one arm swing, but reduce reps to 5 each arm. Stay on the min for ten mins.

Add a rep each week until at 10 each arm.

At this point introduce the snatch. Go down 1 or 2 bell sizes from your swing weight and start at 3-5 reps on the min, for the first 5 mins, and then go to one arm swing for final 5 mins. If possible, go up in weight on your one arm swing because you’ll be reducing reps down to 5 each arm and they’ll stay there.

The purpose now is to get comfortable with snatching that heavy weight and over 5 or 6 weeks, look to increase reps up to 6 or possibly 7 each arm. Either way, after 5/6 weeks you are ready to test. You’ll likely need to drop down a bell size or two for the test.

For an example, Kelly was doing 2 hand swing with a 32kg, one hand swing with a 28 and was using a 22kg for her snatch training. She did the test with the 18kg and smashed it.

Good luck!


Personal training Bristol