I have received numerous questions this week about passing the StrongFirst and RKC Snatch tests. There are numerous ways to get it done. It really depends on what your starting point is to decide the appropriate program. If you have never snatched a 24 kg kettlebell your program is going to look very different than the program I am about to lay out. This program is good for someone that is intermediate to advanced. This is good for someone that hasn’t passed the test yet but may be close or has passed it but barely and wants some more wiggle room. I strongly suggest that you can pass the test in under 4 minutes and 30seconds prior to attending the cert. Also if you tell me you have passed it but your hands were hamburger afterwards, you are not ready. Your hands will be sore a beat up at the certification you need to OWN this snatch test before you go. Meaning….. You need to be able to pick up that 24kg bell cold if need be and pass the test with time to kill. One more thing… Probably THE MOST IMPORTANT piece of advice I can give. DO NOT use the snatch test as a training protocol. I hear guys all the time saying I have been doing the snatch test every week and I haven’t passed yet. This could be the worst idea for your preparation. Remember it is called the Snatch Test…Tests are tests not training protocols. This is a great way to burn out and rock your CNS.
So here is a basic protocol. Just 2 days of snatches per week. You really don’t need more than this.
Training Session 1:(higher weight lower repetitions): Snatch with testing bell weight (24kg for most men 16kg for women): 5 right/5 left on the minute for 5 minutes. Each week add one repetition per arm per minute. Week 2 is 6/6, week 3 is 7/7, week 4 is 8/8, week 5 is 9/9, Hint: week 6 is 100 snatches in 5 minutes. Also week 6 does not need to be done on the minute. It should just be your snatch test. Set the clock for 5 minutes and go to town.
What if you are not ready to snatch the 24kg for the SFG Snatch Test?
For those of you that have poor form with snatching or can’t manage your snatch sized kettlebell, start with a kettlebell size you can manage. When you have completed 6 weeks of this bell you have then earned the right to move up a bell size. Start the program with the 20kg Kettlebell. When you are able to pass the snatch test with the 20kg kettlebell then start the same progression with the 24kg bell.
What if you have already passed the Snatch test, but just want to get faster with 24kg?
Simple. Do the above protocol with the 28kg kettlebell. Then do the snatch test with the 24kg on week 6. Problem solved. Again if you have almost passed the snatch test with the 24kg kettlebell don’t use the 28kg bell for this protocol.
Training session 2: Higher Volume/Speed snatching day: Should be done 3-4 days after Training session 1.
I do like the VO2 max protocol of training for this method. 15seconds of snatches Right:15seconds rest: 15sec snatches Left : 15 seconds of rest. Work this progression: start with a light bell (1-2 sizes below you snatch test weight). Most men should start with the 16kg bell. In the beginning the goal is to get 10 minutes of hitting 7 repetitions in the 15 seconds. When that is accomplished the goal is to hit 8 snatches in the 15 seconds. The goal is speed with good form. I don’t see the added benefit of going for 9 or 10 repetitions in 15 seconds. For most people what you end up getting is sloppy repetitions. Remember, form is crucial. When you are hitting 7 repetitions you will have completed 140 reps in 10 minutes(with a 35lb Kettlebell that is almost 5000lbs of volume). When you move to 8 repetitions you will have completed 160 repetitions (5600lbs of volume). So sloppy reps add up and could cause issues.
Days can be spaced out as needed and you can always do more swings on other days as long as you aren’t driving yourself into the ground. Days 1-4 are not meant to be consecutive days.
On a side note, if your hand is tearing with these protocols you may need to look at your technique or have better hand care. If you are advanced in kettlebell training your hands should be conditioned for this program. There isn’t too much volume . Hand tearing is usually the result of poor technique, using too heavy of a bell or too much volume. Remember, hand ripping is not a badge of honor, it is an injury and a result of careless training.
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