T Nation

Kettlebell Pulls


Hi coach Thibaudeau,

I really aspire to the "power look" that you describe in many of your posts on here, and I understand that you recommend explosive pulls to achieve it.

My question is - is it possible to achieve similar results with heavy double kettlebell variations of the high pull, snatch and clean?

Thank you very much for your time, I really appreciate all of the assistance that you give on these boards.


Also - if you do recommend them - what sort of frequency, intensity and volume would you suggest? Obviously it is impossible to be precise with kettlebells as the loads jump increments so much, but just ballpark ideas.

Thanks again for your time.


not CT, but i think he would agree that the magic of the high pulls is the snatch grip (stimulates delts a lot more). a snatch grip with KB's is pretty much impossible to do with any decent amount of weight.

just my thoughts!


Ah ok thanks for your input! I did consider that, but hoped performing the pull outside the knees rather than inside would simulate the effects of a wide grip.

Thanks again.


I actually do not hate KB high pulls. My issue is more about lowering the KB ... the chance of hitting the knees, especially when tired, is fairly high. But if that can be avoided it would be a good movement. I actually like the fact that you from outside-in slightly when you pull. I personally do KB high pulls but prefer to go one arm at a time. This allows me to mix inside-out (between the legs, pulling slightly out) and outside-in (outside of knees pulling slightly in) pulls. It will not build the same amount of strength as high pulls since you can't go as heavy, but for higher reps/hypertrophy I like KB pulls.

Some good complexes would be:

Right KB high pull inside-out x 8-12
Left KB high pull inside-out x 8-12
Two-hands (one KB) sumo stance high pulls x 8-12


Right KB high pull inside-out x 5-8
Right KB high pull outside-in x 5-8
rest 30 sec then do left arm

Right KB high pull x 8-12
Right KB swing x 8-12
rest 30 sec then do left arm

Right KB snatch x 5-8
Right KB high pull x 5-8
Right KB swing x 5-8


Ct I assume all of these are done with the swing between the legs etc,and not from a dead stop(ground).


Thanks so much for the reply CT!

Those complexes are exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, in particular that last option looks perfect for me. I will implement them immediately.

All the best!