“Unlike dumbbells, kettle bells can be used not only for slow, muscle building exercises, but more dynamic, cardiovascular challenging movements like swings and snatches that improve power and strength. This means that, no matter whether you are trying to burn fat or tone muscle, are a beginner or more advanced, you can select exercises to suit you.”
Whether you are in a gym or at home, the humble kettle bell (KB) can be used to achieve a challenging whole-body workout with just a little imagination. “Rows are one of the ultimate back builders but also use some biceps, especially when using a narrower or underhand grip,” says Fauci.
Stand strong and stable with weight evenly distributed across the feet and back position set. Grab a kettle bell in each hand and retract your scapula, pulling the elbows back until you feel a contraction.
How to: Grab the kettle bell by going underneath the handle, twisting it up so that the weight of it rests on your forearm. From here you are going to squat down and as you come up, plant your feet and power your arm up and over your head in a press movement.
“This exercise works the anterior deltoid, lats, traps, biceps and triceps,” says Dr. Nicole Lombard, a physical therapist and CrossFit Level 1 Coach. According to Bryan Carrying, lifestyle + fitness coach and creator of REHAB and founding trainer of revolutionaries, this exercises works your triceps, biceps, and shoulders.
Modification: take the first two fingers of the opposite side and help guide the KB up to a full press. According to Kline, this effective exercise hits your traps, back, core, and shoulders.
How to: Standing shoulder width apart, bend at the knees to grab the kettle bell with one hand. When you think of a kettle bell workout, you probably think of the traditional swing movement that works primarily your legs and core.
Related story These Are The Best Arm Exercises Recommended By Real Personal Trainers “A kettle bell is arguably one of the most versatile pieces of training equipment you can have in your arsenal,” Justin Fauci, NASM-certified personal trainer, co-founder of Caliber Fitness, tells Shows. “Unlike dumbbells, kettle bells can be used not only for slow, muscle building exercises, but more dynamic, cardiovascular challenging movements like swings and snatches that improve power and strength.
This means that, no matter whether you are trying to burn fat or tone muscle, are a beginner or more advanced, you can select exercises to suit you.” Whether you are in a gym or at home, the humble kettle bell (KB) can be used to achieve a challenging whole-body workout with just a little imagination.
“Rows are one of the ultimate back builders but also use some biceps, especially when using a narrower or underhand grip,” says Fauci. Stand strong and stable with weight evenly distributed across the feet and back position set.
Grab a kettle bell in each hand and retract your scapula, pulling the elbows back until you feel a contraction. How to: Grab the kettle bell by going underneath the handle, twisting it up so that the weight of it rests on your forearm.
From here you are going to squat down and as you come up, plant your feet and power your arm up and over your head in a press movement. “This exercise works the anterior deltoid, lats, traps, biceps and triceps,” says Dr. Nicole Lombard, a physical therapist and CrossFit Level 1 Coach.
According to Bryan Carrying, lifestyle + fitness coach and creator of REHAB and founding trainer of revolutionaries, this exercises works your triceps, biceps, and shoulders. Modification: take the first two fingers of the opposite side and help guide the KB up to a full press.
According to Kline, this effective exercise hits your traps, back, core, and shoulders. How to: Standing shoulder width apart, bend at the knees to grab the kettle bell with one hand.
This unique piece of workout equipment can be a great way to get in shape and increase your strength. What’s more, there are fat-burning kettle bell complex exercise programs you can do that will have you melting off body fat in no time.
Not only do kettle bells allow you to get stronger and more fit, but they really help put you on the fast track to fat loss. Because a kettle bell has an offset handle, it creates an unstable source of weight that requires you to use both coordination and strength when lifting.
Push your hips back and lower your upper body to grasp the handle with both hands. Straighten your legs and torso as you lift and swing the kettle bell in front of your body and upwards.
Control the movement as you let gravity bring the kettle bell back down again and let the momentum carry it through your legs and behind you. Once your arms are about parallel with the ground or above, allow the weight’s momentum to swing the kettle bell back and down between your legs and repeat the movement.
Similar to the movement you used to engage the swing movement, from a standing position, while holding the kettle bell straight down in front of you with both hands, you’ll push your hips back (also called a “hip-hinge”) bending at the waist while bending slightly at the knees until the kettle bell touches the ground. Instead of setting the bell down in front of you, it will touch the ground directly between your ankles, which will help you push your hips back and stay in proper alignment.
Then, instead of swinging the kettle bell forward, you’ll simply straighten your legs and lift your torso until you are in an upright, standing position. Repeat the movement by bending your knees slightly, pushing your hips back and your torso forward, until the kettle bell is near the ground (again, right between the ankles) before straightening again.
While keeping your torso upright and your core tight, slowly bend at the knees, and lower into a deep squat. Once you are as low as you can go, push back up through your heels, straightening your knees to return to an upright, standing position.
A kettle bell lunge can also be very useful for ramping up the calorie burning and getting those legs and glutes toned. Take a giant step forward with your right foot and bend at the knees, keeping your torso upright.
Bend until your knees are bent to 45- to 90-degree angles (so your front thigh is not quite parallel with the floor) and then push up and forward through your heels to bring your left leg in line with your right as you return to the standing position. A kettlebellpress will have you begin by standing with your feet about hip-width apart, with the knees slightly bent, holding a kettle bell with your right hand in front of your chest.
Much like we went over in the dead lift and squat, the overhead press is a great movement to build strength and it complements well with the kettle bell. Traditionally the overhead press is done with a barbell or dumbbells; however, the kettle bell can provide a different, and even advantageous, way to get the most benefit out of the exercise.
Most overhead pressing variations with the kettle bell start from the rack position which we discussed in our hard style squat series. The kettle bells can be supported neatly and close to the body making it much more comfortable to rest in the rack position.
With the barbell, where the hands and arms are fixed, it is nearly impossible to slightly adjust the path of the weight overhead to compensate for shoulder mobility limitations. For pressing success it’s important to start with a good rack position and ground connection.
Doug Farinelli is the owner of Rise Above Performance Training demonstrates the Overhead Press Set up in an athletic stance with the kettle bell in the racked position where the handle sits low on the hand, wrist is straight and the bell close to the body resting in the pocket. Overhead pressing does require a good amount of shoulder mobility and stability to achieve success in the lift and with our daily lives constantly pulling us forward, this might be a struggle.
A little rotation in the shoulders, hips and even the torso can help the stubborn bell reach the top of the mountain. Moving the two bells simultaneously does not allow for much compensation in the surrounding joints which is why I feel the technique used to carry out this lift is so important to its success.
A fun variation using two bells is to press one while completely resting the other in the rack position and then switching between sides. I have seen the strongest of people traditionally press a lot of weight be completely humbled by this variation.
In the push press use a slight knee dip and drive up with the hips; this will create upward momentum where you can actually bump the kettle upward off the chest to get the bell moving in the desired direction towards the strict lockout at the top where the hips and knees are straight at the finish. In the jerk the initial motion of the knee and hip dip is essentially the same as in the push press however the goal is not the strict lockout immediately following the leg movement.
In the jerk the bell is only moving upward with momentum ever so slightly and the body drops underneath it allowing for a strong squat to complete the repetition. You now have all the tools needed to perform a proper kettle bell overhead press and numerous variations to make your shoulders strong and resilient to injuries.
So you have done your kettle bell clean and press ladders and have put in your volume. You either lift your shoulder first or don’t get the required amount of full body tension or something messes it up.
Every powerlifter knows that being able to do heavy weight for a top set of three or five reps does not always convert to a great max single. This program is designed specifically to increase your ability to press a kettle bell for a single rep.
The basic concept is teaching the body how to apply maximum force at all times. Learning to move medium to light weights quickly is an advanced skill as is a half body weight press.
With no eccentric loading first on the dead lift, or the kettlebellpress for a single, you have to be able to commit all your energy and focus into driving hard into the rep without losing any form or total body tightness. Many miss that rep, not because they are not strong enough, but because they don’t have enough experience with maximum effort for just one repetition.
The purpose of the speed day is to teach and develop perfect form and acceleration abilities in the standing kettlebellpress. Using compensatory acceleration (meaning each rep will be done using as much acceleration force as possible) while still maintaining perfect form and short rest periods, the necessary muscle tension will be developed in the groove.
Think of shoving the bell from rack position to lockout in one movement. The lower body has to be rock solid and not give an inch as you shove the weight overhead for this to work.
Learning to move the weight very fast will require optimal biomechanics. You can only do 3-6 repetitions above 90% 1RM effectively, but in this method you will be trying to do 30 reps with 100% force (or as close as feasible).
Westside uses jump stretch bands and/or chains to accommodate leverage in the squat and bench exercises, and while this can be done with a kettlebellpress, it’s not done this way in the starting phase. The ability to keep pushing and not lose the groove is the key to making max effort lifts.
I suggest a few basic variations, but it’s up to the individual lifter to decide which movements actually transfer for them into the main lift. It’s very important to understand that max effort lifts must be done with no psych or increase in blood pressure.
What is important is that you get used to pressing very heavy weights for single reps almost casually—just another day at the office. The only problem with a program of maximum loads is that you only get two to four weeks of progress before you go backward.
This way you get your body used to very heavy single reps but in a neurological pattern that is slightly different from the classic lift for which you are training. Choose a bell approximately 60% of your current best 1RM standing military press.
Start each press from dead pause in the rack position. Loaded Cleans: 5 sets of 5 with two-second pause in rack, focus on zipping up the entire body into a standing plank.
5-6 sets of 8 of a challenging kettle bell (don’t worry about pushing this weight up its for hypertrophy) Kettle bell Side Raises: Hold light kettle bells (or dumbbells) at your side and with slightly bent elbows lift them to shoulder level or slightly above.
The kettle bells give it a slightly different feel, but the goal is to work the medial deltoid and create more shoulder mass and stability. The idea is to prepare both physically and mentally for one-rep sets and get used to grinding through maintaining perfect form.
A “loaded” clean is where you do a regular kettle bell clean, but tighten up the entire body, from the toes to your nose, as if someone where hanging their entire body weight off the kettle bell in the rack position. The ability to tighten up the entire body just before pressing is vital for single max rep success.
On your other training days, do as you like but don’t fatigue the pressing muscles. Most important is controlling your mind so it does not wander when it comes to starting and finishing that heavy weight.
Visualize the lift from start to finish every time you are to get under a max effort. Good luck comrades and please report back with your progress or any questions you have.
Up until 45 years ago, the overhead military press was actually the third event in Olympic weightlifting, along with the... Back in spring of 2015, Mark Limbaugh came up with the concept of a step/wave hybrid cycle.
When I was a kid, a merchant marine friend of my parents gave me a treasured gift, a calendar with scenes from Enter the... I’ve been asked numerous times to formally outline my triple progression system.
Mark found the kettle bell in 1998, was certified in 2005, and has been teaching others around the globe since. Mark opened the first ever kettle bell -centric gym, Girl, The Art of Strength in 2003. As a coach, he has worked with Olympic gymnasts and was the Head Coach for Women's Team USA in 1995 and the first ever Pan American Powerlifting Championships in 2000.
He was the personal coach for one of the most successful American female powerlifters Catherine Kelli. He was also personal coach and training partner for Pro Mr. America and bodybuilding legend Scott Wilson.
Mark has been writing in the field since 1979 and has been published by Iron Man Magazine, Muscle Mag International, Milo, Runners World, and Veto. He has authored Mastering the Hard style Kettle bell Swing, Lats, the Super muscles, and BodyMaintenance, the Users Guide, and Restoring Lost Physical Function.
Mark's current project is co-authoring a book with Dr. Ken Ford on delaying sarcopenia (muscle wasting). It was never designed to be a lifelong program to follow — if such a thing even exists — nor did I consider the exercises necessarily the most important kettle bell drills.
Given that we’re looking for exercises that fit kettle bells the best, you have to start with the question of what that means, and then choose the most effective movements accordingly. So let’s walk through that discussion and I’ll share what I believe to be the three most effective kettle bell exercises for the advanced trainee.
Among the many benefits of using long cycle, he found that it contributed to improved military PT testing and other varied athletic events such as obstacle courses (the infamous “WTH effect”). In addition, body weight increased, blood pressure decreased, and in Return of the Kettle bell, Iron Tamer Dave Whitley (former Master SFG) is quoted as saying, “The long cycle added 15lb to my dead lift , even though I had not done dead lifts in over a year.”
For those wanting some research that is a little more modern and Western, there is ample evidence to back up the use of faster eccentric training for muscle growth. If you’re after big arms and shoulders as well as some serious strength endurance, then long cycle may be the best kept secret in the training world.
Having had the luxury of being around the kettle bell scene for quite a while, I can remember a time when the famous “program minimum” (what would later become Pavel’s Simple & Sinister) did not include the get-up. It was the bent press and the snatch, not the swing and get-up, that were regarded as being the two most essential exercises, provided you had the requisite shoulder and hip flexibility.
But the thing to remember about steroids is that while in the right dose they can help deliver powerful athletic performances, they can also give you cancer and you can die. In other words, the windmill and bent press are more powerful than the get-up as exercises and train more components of movement to higher degrees, but for many people they may be too much to begin with.
Strength pioneer Bob Hoffman wrote in 1938, “The bent press is the making of a lifter. It promotes efficiency in all lifts, and its practice will promote a great increase in strength development.” To perform the bent press, and its earlier progression the windmill, you will need a good hip hinge and flawless thoracic rotation.
Exercises like farmer walks and rack carries are a fantastic way to develop real-world core strength and stability. But not many people have access to a free-range style of gym like mine at RPT, and they lack the space to effectively carry.
The anterior load makes squatting better easier, as it forces the abdominal to engage fully, which in turn allows the hips to free up and work better. That placement of load also allows for a more upright torso angle, meaning there is less stress on the lower back.
Speaking of your back, the lats, which are an essential element to core stability, will have to fire up like crazy to stop you dropping the bells in front of you as you squat. And strength and conditioning specialist Tony Gentile recently said, “It humbles people.
Even large humans who can seemingly squat Ohio will find this variation challenging. The windmill and bent press include high degrees of hip and shoulder mobility and stability, which will injury-proof you and keep you supple and strong.
He is both a black belt and an Iron man and has been honing the craft of training for over twenty years. Having trained alongside industry leaders in everything from Taekwondo to Brazilian Jim Jitsi to boxing, as well as kettle bells, running, triathlon, and weightlifting, Andrew has a wealth of experience to draw from. Kettle bell STRONG!’s goal is to get you brutally strong with a pair of kettle bells and one expertly executed exercise: the Clean and Press.
Written some seven years ago by Geoff Expert, former Strongest Certified MasterInstructor, Kettle bell STRONG! From SFG II candidates and strength aficionados to individuals who simply prefer double kettle bell training, we get many questions.
Given what we’ve learned about mitochondrial functioning since its original release, are the skills and programs still valid? Brett Jones, Strongest’s Director of Education, asked me to write an overview of Kettle bell STRONG!
I was promoted to Master ROC in early 2010, just before the release of my book, Kettle bell Muscle. When Pavel formed Strongest, I followed and was a Strongest Certified Master Instructor until 2014, when I stepped down for personal reasons—to devote more time to my growing family, because I had returned to school full-time, and to grow another business.
In April 2016, completely burned out from the fitness industry, I retired. My athletic background is college wrestling and Olympic-style weightlifting—I was a state champion and National Championship qualifier in O-Lifting.
And of my 30-year lifting history, I spent most of the first 20 recovering and working around some pretty major orthopedic injuries—broken bones, dislocations, compressed nerve roots, cartilage damage—that sort of thing. Within the greater kettle bell community, I was best known for my strength and fat loss programming.
In contrast, wrestling is a power-endurance sport—explosive movements like takedowns followed by lulls in the action, like riding time. A wrestler must train to overcome the effects of hydrogen ion and lactic acid accumulation.
So my programming for performance has always been geared toward maximum force production and minimizing fatigue, regardless of the goal. Is that you can get brutally strong with one pair of kettle bells by repeatedly performing one compound exercise well—the Clean and Press.
The first is an 8 to 12-week block that trains your strength, based upon your 4 repetition maximum (RM), keeping the number of repetitions low—between 1 and 3—and the number of sets high. Both are designed to make your old 4RM starting weight feel like a toy.
This does start to get mildly glycolysis, but if you choose the “Slow and Steady,” it is not intolerably so. Your body adapts very well, and those who stick with it are rewarded with the “Holy Grail” of strength training—more muscle mass, increased strength levels, and (usually) lower body fat levels—though this will be strongly influenced by dietary choices.
This is achieved in around ninety minutes per week, regardless of age or training experience. The majority of folks opt for the “Slow and Steady” for this reason.
The third and final phase is a 5 to 8-week program that capitalizes on all the work you’ve done to date, and is focused on fat loss. In fact, most people stop after the “Slow and Steady” and start over, using heavier kettle bells, with their leaner, more muscular bodies.
It’s a conditioning program meant to be performed using the Double Swing. And how should you use the “Strong!” and “One” programs if your main focus is anti-glycolitic training (AGT)?
However, if AGT is your primary training focus, there are two easy ways to make the program work for you: Stay with the first phase of the program and recycle it with a heavier pair of kettle bells.
Double or even triple the prescribed work sets over the course of time and use it as a pure A+A program. First, in light of the insights learned in and from Strong Endurance, the “One” program can truly be considered a glycolysis peaking program—and a longer one at that.
Second, in order to modify it for AGT purposes, since it’s already on a one-minute clock, I’d turn it into a low-rep Mom program, extending the duration of the program to build mitochondrial density. Third, once you’ve built up significant “anti-acid” capacity using AGT protocols, then bolt on the original version for a peaking cycle.
If you’d like to mix the two training strategies and lean towards the AGT side, I recommend the following: Do the first phase of “Strong!.” Then, double or triple the volume and continue running the cycle, making it a true A+A program.
Then, you will have built enough capacity to survive the “Short Course”—so run that as a 4-week cycle. Then, if you’re up for it, you should be fully prepared to run the last fat loss program.
The “2020” AGT-friendly variation would simply alternate different cycles of “Strong!” and “One:” 8 weeks of the first phase of “Strong!” followed by 8 to 12 weeks of “One,” modified to a low-rep Mom program. For Men: Hold half of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position for 30s minimum.
For Women: Hold a third of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position for 30s minimum. For Men: Press half of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells at least once.
For Women: Press one third of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells at least once. Use a pair of kettle bells you can press 5 times, but would struggle to get 6 reps with.
Perform one clean, followed by the prescribed number of presses. Session # 3: Perform a Rep Max (RM)* with the same pair of kettle bells you’ve been using.
Session # 3: Perform a Rep Max (RM)* with the same pair of kettle bells you’ve been using. Rest as much as necessary between sets to get the prescribed reps. Do light mobility work or walk on non-training days, but nothing else.
Everything you need to know about the “Strong!” program inside Kettle bell STRONG!, how to modify it to meet your anti-glycolitic training goals, the qualification criteria for starting the program, and two different ways to prepare yourself to meet those criteria so you can reap the benefits from the program itself. Sags can also master how to perform and teach double kettle bell skills by attending their Strongest SFG Level II instructor certification.
Our most recent program at Queensland Kettle bells has included a lot of floor presses, with good reason. He’s been in the strength & fitness industry since 1993 and has worked as a personal trainer, Division 1 strength and conditioning coach (Rutgers University), a personal training business owner, and an education provider.
He has trained people from all walks of life, from middle school athletes, to military special operators, to arthritic grandmothers in their 70s. ULTRA, Kettle bell STRONG!, The Olympic Rapid Fat Loss Program, Six Pack Abs 365, The Permanent Weight Loss Solution, and Pressing RESET: Original Strength Reloaded.
Geoff has presented workshops on advanced kettle bell training, body maintenance and restoration, and Olympic lifting all over the world, including the US, Europe, SE Asia, and Australia. Geoff currently trains clients online and lives in Colorado with his beautiful wife and his two children who are growing like sunflowers.
Kettle bell workouts are intended to increase strength, endurance, agility and balance, challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total-body movements. Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, London, Ottawa, Kingston, Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill, North York, Ontario.
Kettle bell workouts increase strength, endurance, agility and balance, challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total-body movements. Training with Kettle bells will: Develop total body strength to easily handle the toughest demand Condition you for peak fitness to gain the edge in your chosen sport Generate fast weight loss to forever remove unwanted fat Restore youthful flexibility to reduce injury and improve mobility Redesign body shape to enhance your physical appeal
However, not too many people realize that kettle bell training is a great way to pack on some functional size and strength.