Here’s an fairly advanced kettlebell workout that you can do with a single kettlebell or dumbbell. It combines two exercises, the 1 arm snatch and overhead squat. What you get from this combination is a total body workout that you can quickly do to build muscle, increase your strength, lose weight, and get into great shape.
Muscles Trained & Benefits
The kettlebell snatch-overhead squat complex trains all of the major muscles in your body. This includes your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back, upper back, and shoulders. Your biceps and triceps get a workout too. The only muscle group that doesn’t get a lot of stimulation are your pecs. That’s a simple problem that I easily fix at the end of the article.
The benefits this complex affords you include:
- You only need 1 piece of equipment (either a dumbbell or kettlebell).
- You can do the workout anywhere, a spare room in your house, the park, or your back yard.
- It’s efficient. The complex takes about 10 minutes to perform.
- You train your entire body doing just 2 exercises.
- It’s more demanding than doing an hour of machine based exercises. Doing ‘big’ lifts like snatches and squats stimulates muscle growth better than isolation exercises like curls dumbbell flies, and laterals.
- Training this way is a lot more fun than boring machines.
The only equipment you need to perform this exercise is a dumbbell or kettlebell. I prefer a kettlebell since it’s easier to use to perform the 1 arm snatch.
Detailed below are instructions that describe each exercise. I recommend you learn to do each one its own at first. Once your technique is perfected put both exercises together and begin doing the complex as prescribed.
1 Arm Kettlebell Snatch
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a kettbell in one hand with your palm facing away from you. The kettlebell should be between your legs.
2. Bend your knees and waist as if you are performing a kettlebell swing. The kettlebell should swing back and between your legs.
3. Once the weight has swung between your legs, pull it forward explosively. Push from your heels onto your toes. Keep your arm straight and extended throughout the movement. You should be on your toes as the kettlebell approaches chest height.
4. Driving with your hips, pull the weight up until your arm is fully extended and you’re holding the kettlebell above your head.
5. The final part of the movement is when the kettlebell flips over your wrist and rests on your forearm.
6. Continue holding the weight overhead with your arm extended and perform an overhead squat which is described below.
1. Stand holding a kettlebell overhead with your arm extended. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart.
2. Perform a squat just like you would if you were using a barbell or dumbbell. Move your hips back as you bend your knees. Keep your lower back straight, chest out, and arm extended and overhead throughout the movement.
3. Stop squatting when your knees are parallel to the ground.
4. Return to the starting position by pressing up from your heels. Keep your arm extended overhead throughout this part of the movement too.
5. Once you are standing lower the weight and return the weight to the starting position to perform another snatch.
Sets And Reps
Start with 6 sets of 2 reps of each exercise. While this may not seem like a lot, the demanding nature of each exercise will make completing this much work a challenge, even if you’re in good shape.
Add 1 repetition to each exercise every other workout until you can do 8 reps. You can then make the workout more challenging by decreasing the amount of time you rest between complexes. You can also make the complex more challenging by doing reverse lunges instead of squats or adding a shoulder press to the movement.
Here’s A Video That Demonstrates The Workout
When And How Often Should You Perform This Workout?
This complex can be done as a workout unto itself or as the first movement in your workout. I like to do it by itself when I’m pressed for time and only have 10-15 minutes to train. When doing it as the first movement in my workout I will finish the session by doing 3-5 sets of plyometric push ups, pull ups and farmer’s walks.
You can also this complex on your days off with lighter weights as a conditioning movement and to burn extra calories.