The Secret Service Snatch test has been both a physical and gut check standard ever since Pavel wrote Enter the Kettlebell.

The SSST rules are simple: it consists of do as many snatches as possible in ten minutes. That’s it. Unlike the rules for girevoy sport (GS), you may switch hands as often as you like, and you may set the kettlebell down whenever you want to. Men use a 24kg kettlebell.  The challenge in the book is get 200 snatches with a 24kg in 10 minutes.  This of course was inspiration for the RKC snatch test standard of 100 reps in 5:00. Simple, tough and doable with some practice.

As time went on, the number 200 kept creeping higher and higher. Lots of guys were getting numbers in the 230 to 240 range and several broke into the 250+ category (my best ever was 260 in summer of 2007). A few very tough guys pushed the number  up towards 300.

A question was posed to me online that had me think about it in a different way. How QUICKLY can you get to 200? If I calculate by my previous best pace, which took about 3 months of dedicated practice to achieve, I have gotten there in just under 8 minutes.   Since having my knee surgery in Jan., there has been an emphasis on repatterning  my movement, power training under the guidance of Marty Gallagher and  a LOT of swings….but not much snatching. Looking back through my training log I have snatched 6 times in the past 5 months.

On the 4 week post-surgery date I completed the RKC test with no problem and much effort. So at 21 weeks and 2 days I decided to give this idea of 200 snatches as quick as possible a shot, with 8 minutes being the target time.  Here is the video:

A few thoughts upon watching it:

  • I am pleased overall, since I did not do any specific training for this.
  • Some of the reps look pretty good, some could be better.
  • There is a pretty obvious difference from right to left in the lockout, which I expected because I am working on a t-spine rotational asymmetry in my current training.
  • RKC and FMS training principles and methodology work.
  • The mental aspect of this kind of thing cannot be overstated. The last 39 reps were tough. I call it spanking my inner child.
  • I wore my Heart Rate Monitor which revealed that I hit a peak HR of 177 beats per minute during the set. My age-related theoretical maximum is 179. Not bad for an 41 year old fat guy. BTW, I weigh 265.5lbs in that video. The day of surgery I was around 290lbs. Regaining my ability to move  means an increase in both movement quality and quantity. This of course means more fuel is burned. More about that later….

Makes me wonder what would happen if I made this a focal point of my training plan for a few weeks? I predict that the right side lockout would improve, but probably not much else. I don’t really see it getting much easier, because the only tough part was the last minute and a half. I don’t see it getting much faster, except that there might be less rest time without the KB in hand.

Maybe I’ll try it and see….