The 5 minute snatch test is the most iconic kettlebell challenge.
For a lot of certifications, like RKC and StrongFirst, it's mandatory to pass.
And it's often used as a race in kettlebell or fitness competitions. Not so much how fast can you do 100, but how many total snatches can you get in 5 minutes?
When I completed my RKC certification, I trained hard for this test!
Luckily I passed, but I did see some students fail and struggle.
A few years later, I competed in the StrongFirst Tactical Strength Challenge and was once again faced with the 5 minute snatch test. I think I got around 120 snatches!
What's the trick?
What are the secrets to passing the test and accomplishing 100 snatches in under 5 minutes?
Of course you have to know how to do kettlebell snatches , but aside from that here are a few tips and training suggestions.
Tips For The 5 Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test
Break the reps down. 5 minutes is a LONG time and can seem intimidating. Instead, break it up into minutes. To complete 100, you have to knock out 20 a minute. This also allows you to figure out a good rep plan.
Have a rep plan. You can switch hands whenever you want, but you don't want to pass too often since that eats up time! Consider doing 10-20 reps before passing. If you're feeling good, you can do more.
Don't walk away. I saw this happen a lot! Do not put the kettlebell down and walk away to breath. If you need to put it down for a second to shake out, that's okay. But stay in your starting position. Walking away can waste up to 15 valuable seconds.
Use chalk and wrist guards if allowed. Those hands are going to get sweaty and the wrists are going to get beat up. Prep as best you can with a little chalk and if your coach allows it, toss on some sweat bands or kettlebell guards to protect the wrists from bruising.
Know it's going to suck. Embrace the suck and the challenge. It's going to be hard! Focus on breathing through each rep, loading your hamstrings with each hip hinge and exploding through the glutes and legs. When you want to give up, don't.
Pick out 2 pump up songs. Choose 2 songs that make you GO. Most coaches will play music during the challenge, so request something powerful. When you hear your song it's like your body goes into GO MODE.
Practice intervals. Since you know it's 20 reps/minute. Practice that. Complete 20 reps as fast as you can, then rest for 60 seconds. Repeat for 5-10 rounds. As you get stronger, decrease the rest time to 45 seconds to 30 seconds to 20 seconds... etc.
Practice with a heavier kettlebell. The bell you use is based off your weight. If you're able to snatch the next weight, try practicing with that at least once a week. For example, if you have to do the test with a 14kg, practice with a 16kg. When you pick up the 14kg on testing day it feels EASY.
Give yourself time! Don't wait until you're a week out. Ideally, you want 6-8 weeks to train if you're on the beginner side of endurance kettlebell work. 4-6 weeks if you're already pretty efficient.
Have fun. Yes, it sucks and it hurts. But there is something enjoyable about the training and the overall experience. Take it in and enjoy the journey. Plus, you'll have a fancy certificate waiting for you at the end.
Are you ready?
If you're feeling your kettlebell skills could use some work, join me in FWW Live so I can help!
We do kettlebell workouts every week and because you get access to me and Dan, we can answer questions to help build your confidence and skills!
Let me know how the 5 minutes goes!