How to Burn 20 Calories per Minute With the Kettlebell Snatch

Updated on August 25, 2017

The Case for Kettlebells

Recently an article came out in the A.C.E. magazine, Fitness Matters. A.C.E. stands for the American Council on Exercise. In it is an article by Chad Schnettler, M.S., John Porcari, Ph.D., and Carl Foster, Ph.D., with Mark Anders.

This article reports on a study to done to determine the real effects of Kettlebell training on caloric expenditure. Their goal was to look at the calorie cost of energy and the level of intensity brought on by a 20 minute Kettlebell Workout.

In the study, they first test the subjects on a treadmill to get their baselines of oxygen consumption and heart rate. They also took the subjects RPE (rating of perceived exertion).

After they had their baselines, they then took each subject through a 20 minute Kettelbell Workout known as the MVo2 or Vo2 Max.

Vo2 Max is your maximal oxygen consumption.

The Vo2 Max Protocol for Kettlebells is taken from Kenneth Jay, Master RKC, who literally wrote the book on Vo2 Max training and Kettelbells, called Viking Warrior Conditioning. In this tome of fitness written by a guy also know as the "Dane of Pain", Kenneth details for us in precise detail his research in developing what Pavel Tsatsouline calls, "a foolproof blueprint for achieving Olympian conditioning in record time - while simultaneously improving one's body composition dramatically."

In his research, Kenneth used the Kettlebell Snatch.

The Kettlebell Snatch is a ballistic drill where one swings akettlebell with one hand between the legs and driving with the hipslaunches the kettlebell over head in one crisp, clean movement.

The initial beginnings of the Vo2 Max workout has you spending 5 minutes finding your snatch cadence. In the five minutes, the subject works up to a one minute maximal effort with the kettlebell snatch and then divides that maximum effort by 4. For example if their 1 minute maximum was 24 snatches, then their magic number is 6.

So now, the subjects spent 20 minutes performing 6 snatches in 15 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. Switched arms and did it again.

The results of that test showed the following:

The average calorie burn was 272 calories, but that doesn't take into account the calorie burn that comes from the "substantial anaerobic effort."

Aerobically, the subjects were burning 13.6 calories, but anaerobically, they were burning an additional 6.6 calories, which adds up to 20.2 calories per minute!

According to Dr. Porcari, "That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace. The only other thing I could find that burns that many calories is cross-country skiing uphill at a fast pace."


Keep in mind, top marathon runners are about at a 5 and a half minute mile.

The researchers say that the big reason for these dramatic results is because the Kettlebell snatch is a whole body endeavor that is performed with great speed and power. It is also done in an interval style which has always been an effective method of training.

The study also showed that the trainees were working at an average heart rate of 93% of maximum. That, my friends, is training. That is a workout there!

So what have we learned here today? Kettlebell training is good work. It is ideal for those on the go with little or no time to train or go to the gym. It combines resistance training and cardio all in one. Kettlebell training is not only good for your ticker, but good for over all health, conditioning and strength.

Wow! After reading this, I think I'll give Kettlebells a try!

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    • profile image

      Frank Cruthers 23 months ago

      I started using kettle bells in my training for a half marathon, I ran a 1:41 at 50 yrs old. I know if I get this right I can get back to a 1:35 I did at 35 and be stronger than ever. I love the science but looking forward to being a "Warrior". Thanks

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 2 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Attack those Kettlebells (make sure you use perfect form) start with the Swing before progressing to the Snatch

    • seigfried23 profile image

      seigfried23 2 years ago

      That's it; it's settled. I've been putting off kettlebell use for several years now and it's time to transform my body. I've been eating greek yogurt as a start, but the results aren't coming quite quickly enough lol.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Kettlebells can look difficult, but when you invest the time to learn to use them properly, you will reap many, many rewards.

    • bojanglesk8 profile image

      bojanglesk8 7 years ago

      Kettlebells look difficult. Good hub.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 8 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      kettleballer, make sure to get a copy of Kenneth Jay's Viking Warrior Conditioning for more on the science of the MvO2 max protocol. Thanks for taking the time to read the Hub.

    • kettleballer profile image

      kettleballer 8 years ago

      Thanks for the hub. My non-scientific evaluation was "these will smoke you" Now I can back it up with science.