One-Exercise Workout: Kettlebell Snatch with Olympian Sean Pangelinan

One-Exercise Workout: Kettlebell Snatch with Olympian Sean Pangelinan

Fitness magazines are always trying to sell us gimmicky, time saving workouts, but to be real, most of them are just far-fetched and ridiculous. That said, there are certain compound movements that can help develop total-body power in just minutes. For paddling, the kettlebell snatch is king.

When comparing all Olympic sports, physical tests show that Olympic weightlifters are at the top of the pile in almost every category. Why? Because they move heavy weights explosively, challenging not only their musculature but also placing heavy demands on the cardiovascular system. Who has the best vertical jump? It’s weightlifters, not basketball players. Who’s the strongest? Chalk another one up for the men and women of the lifting platform. And, it’s not just for the pros. One study found that those who did Olympic lifts for eight weeks cut the body fat six percent, lowered their resting heart rate by eight percent and reduced their systolic blood pressure by six percent.

The challenge for standup paddlers is that the main weightlifting movements – the snatch and clean and jerk – are tremendously technical and take months to master. If you want to start incorporating them into your routine, you’re best off going to your local CrossFit affiliate, like world champion paddlers Lina Augaitis and Travis Baptiste, or finding a local gym that has USA Weightlifting’s stamp of approval. That way you can get quality instruction from coaches who know their stuff.

But if you’re the type of person who just can’t wait for results, the kettlebell snatch is a go-to solution. Just ask accomplished paddler and 2008 Olympian Sean Pangelinan of San Diego’s The FitLab (the man in the video above). The variation Pangelinan promotes is easier to learn than its barbell-based big brother, and will give you 90 percent of the benefits.

In addition to building overall muscle mass, developing floor-up explosiveness and boosting your vertical jump, the kettlebell snatch is SUP-specific. It reinforces the hip hinge you need to paddle powerfully and safely, and teaches you to quickly transition between two fundamental movement shapes – the hang and overhead archetypes. Before doing this movement, jog, row or jump rope for five to 10 minutes. Then, add in some bodyweight movements like air squats or mountain climbers.

Next, grab your paddle and do the Burgener warm-up. After that, perform five sets of five reps of the kettlebell snatch, resting for 90 seconds in between sets. Use a dumbbell if you don’t have a kettlebell. You can also play with adding more reps in a 21-15-9 pattern, or more sets of fewer reps. Have a friend watch you and check your form against Pengalinan’s video. Walk or row slowly for five to 10 minutes to cool down, then pick two of the movements from Dr. Kelly Starrett’s post training mobility exercises. In 30 minutes or less you’ll have completed a power building, paddle boosting, lung-busting workout.

Pair your power building workout with these mobility exercises for a well-rounded routine.

Learn more about Sean and his facility here.

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