The Secret Service Snatch Test

Quick Tips

Secret Service Snatch Test Kettlebell

The Secret Service Snatch Test (commonly referred to as SSST) is a kettlebell conditioning test that is based on kettlebell snatch proficiency, hand care, endurance and heart.

There is actually nothing “secret” about this kettlebell conditioning test, but the name makes it sound incredibly bad ass and draws attention, so lets just go with it for the time being.

Google it, I didn’t make it up!

If you’ve been looking for an effective natural hand exfoliator, this is it baby.  You’ll strip the top layer of skin off of your hands in 10 minutes flat.  🙂

The test involves completing as many snatches as possible in a 10 minute timeframe, using a 24 kg (53 lb) kettlebell.

In the video, I am using my trusty LifeLine kettlebell.

I completed roughly 238 reps in the 10 minute time frame.  I say “roughly” because counting slow to 238 can cause your eyes to play tricks on you.  So if you have 10 minutes to spare to watch the video, feel free to call me out if I did less or throw me a bone if I did more.

The big dogs in the kettlebell community will get around 270 reps or so.  I’m confident that I can get there.

Secret Service Snatch Test Leaderboard

I took a break during the test and I am not sure why, but I did.  It get’s hard to think clearly during a conditioning test like this.  I could feel the skin tearing on my hands towards the end, which had a detrimental effect my performance.

*** Please take notice of the lockout posture at the top of the snatch.

Kettlebell Snatch Lockout

It could be better.  For the most part, I am leaning forward ever so slightly, which also brings my arm finish forward ever so slightly.  Ideally, I would be completely vertical in the lockout position (overhead with the kettlebell), but my house is old and the ceiling is low.  I don’t feel like having the bell ricochet off of the ceiling onto my skull.  Therefore, I lean forward ever so slightly and “punch” my hand through the bell earlier than normal as it travels from the bottom position to the top of the movement.

Also, I understand that my technique begins to slip toward the later minutes of the test.  It may not be obvious to you folks, but it is to me.  I am not a fan of the “guts for glory” approach to training, but in this case, I made an exception.  My slip in technique was not enough to pull the plug, and this is largely a judgement call on your part if you’re training alone.  I have cautioned you all to be aware of sloppy technique caused by fatigue (while under load/weight) in the past.

Take another note about it because it might save you a horrific training injury, which just isn’t worth it.

Workout Injury


Don’t let it happen to you.

I will retest every couple of months just to see how I perform based on the focus of my training regimen, which shifts regularly based on what i want to come of my workout efforts.

The first time that I ever attempted the SSST, I think I was around 180-185 reps.  Not bad, but I could hardly brush my teeth for a week because of the hand damage.

*** On a side note, I want you to know that I haven’t snatched a kettlebell in months.  Probably 4 months at least.  I mention this because there are a number of kettlebell gurus who claim in their videos that they haven’t been training for the SSST when they filmed it.  The point is that smart training will have tremendous carryover into any physical activity.  All tools work, don’t be a guru.  Use them all!

Trust your training.

This is a test that should be considered dessert for weeks, months or possibly years of dedicated training efforts.  It’s not for beginners and it’s not for someone who’s fit but never touched a kettlebell before.  It’s also not for impressing that guy/girl you’re into, or your friends.  53lbs is an aggressive weight to be thrown overhead for 200+ reps.

If you do know how to snatch a kettlebell I would suggest:

Work into it.


Cheers to snatching your way to local glory!



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