Secret Service Snatch Test – Is It Really That Bad

Secret Service Snatch Test; A 10 minute test of your muscular endurance and mental fortitude. The only rule is that you cannot quit. Description; Using a 24kg kettlebell (women 16kg) do as many single arm snatches as possible in 10 minutes. You may switch hands anytime. You may set the bell down if you need to. But as I stated above, you cannot quit once you begin.

My Experience With The Secret Service Snatch Test

After hearing about this little gem, and seeing videos on youtube, I decided to give it a shot. Thinking to myself “this can’t be that hard to do”. My workouts are usually short and intense like this anyway. My results were nothing short of eye opening. I honestly didn’t think I would have any difficulty reaching the benchmark of 200 reps. After all that’s only 20 per minute, or 1 rep every 3 seconds. That’s a fairly easy pace.

Fairly easy – for about 2 minutes! Then it starts wearing you down rather quickly.

A Video Intermission – The Mens Secret Service Snatch Test Record Holder


My Weaknesses Exposed

My plan was to use a rep scheme of 10 per arm and then switch on the fly.

After the 2 minute mark the reps got significantly harder. That’s when I noticed that my form had broken down. I had lost focus and lost my hip drive.

A lack of muscular endurance became evident in my lower back and grip strength. That’s when I began sitting the bell down for a few seconds between the switch.

Each set of 10 forced me to stay focused on the hip drive part of the movement as well as maintaining proper back alignment. If I let my guard down I could tell almost immediately as the snatch got harder to drive overhead.

How I Felt During The Snatch Test

Minutes 1 thru 2 weren’t so bad, but I could tell this was the calm before the storm. Minutes 2 thru 6 were intense and challenged my determination to reach my goal of 20 per minute.

I was able to maintain my 20 per minute pace through sheer determination by thinking something along the lines of “come on you candy a**! You’ve only got XX minutes more. You can do anything for that long”.

After 5 minutes I had 100. There was no doubt that accomplishing 200 reps was going to take everything I had.

When minute 6 started I was gassed and my forearms and grip strength were failing me. This was the first minute I missed my 20. It was all downhill from there.

I don’t recall how many snatches I did per minute from that point on. I only know that the minutes seemed to be lasting a lot longer than 60 seconds.

I had to drop from 10 reps to 5 before the hand switch plus a longer breather between the switch. Five reps goes quick and my grip had little time to recover.

Minutes 7 thru 10 required me to push thru the pain and discomfort. I had to reevaluate my end goal and adjust it to 150. How amazing, the first 100 reps in 5 minutes and then only 50 in the remaining 5 minutes.

The Last Minute Of My Secret Service Snatch Test

I knew I would hit the 150 mark. The challenge for me then was to hit 160. I was reduced to 2 – 3 reps per switch because my grip just wasn’t there. Every time the bell came down I thought it was going to fly right out of my hand.

I pressed on knowing my time was short and rest was near. My gas tank was running on fumes but this is where I can mentally push thru and give everything I’ve got left to accomplish the goal.

I finished with 157 snatches.

Here’s Lene Olson. A female getting 237 reps with the 16kg bell


The Aftermath

When the timer sounded the end of the test I immediately hit the ground to get a breather. I was doing this in my living room and my 17 year old daughter got a big laugh outta that.

Even though I was totally smoked, all I could do was kick myself for not pushing harder and getting those last 3 reps to reach 160.

I’ve heard others say that shoulder strength comes into play. I’m certain it does, as this is a big overhead movement. However, my shoulders held up with no problems that I can recall. Others also mention hands getting tore up and forming blisters. This is another thing that held up fine with no problems.

I know, without a doubt, that my experience with short intense workout sessions is the only way I was able to even get the 150 reps during this test of physical and mental strength.

Are You Considering The Secret Service Snatch Test

If so, I say go for it! Don’t be intimidated by the 10 minute duration. If kettlebells are new to you then get some instruction on how to properly snatch the bell and then get a few weeks of practicing the snatch as well as some supporting movements like regular swings, presses, Turkish get ups, and windmills. Getting comfortable with these movements will strengthen the necessary muscle groups you need to get through this thing with some respectable rep counts.

Some Great Resources For Secret Service Snatch Test Info

Explanation and records of the best performances from men and women

The Best Article On Secret Service Snatch Test From Dragon Door

How To Improve Your Secret Service Snatch Test


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