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How To Up Your Kettlebell

I can remember the first time I picked up a Kettle bell and started with your basic exercises: Swings, Squat Presses, Rows, etc. I had no idea what the heck I was doing and many people in the gym came up to me and said, “What is a meat head like you doing with Kettle bells ?” That was when I decided to do some homework and understand the training principles behind the Kettle bell, eventually incorporating them into my overall training program.

author
Ava Flores
• Friday, 13 November, 2020
• 8 min read
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I watched so many Kettle bell techniques and exercises in gyms, with trainers, and online, then gave them all a try. These things are the real deal and can turn your workouts into fast and EF- festive blasts of fun.

As I was falling in love with Kettle bell training, I ran into Michael Castrogiovanni. I learned so much about Kettle bells and how to properly train with them that I saw a huge gain in my strength and conditioning in short order.

With one piece of equipment, you can do a non-stop circuit of Squats, Cleans, Jerks, Snatches, and Swings. When doing Kettle bell workouts, I always add a sprint or a distance run after my strength circuit.

I try to incorporate Kettle bell training twice a week with anywhere from two to four exercises per workout. One day I’ll do four Kettle bell exercises with sprints after they’re completed.

To keep the training fun and effective, I will sometimes take a pair of Kettle bells to the beach, swing and launch them, then run after them and repeat. Some people will think you’re crazy, but if they knew how effective and explosive this training was, they’d probably want to join in.

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If you don’t have a beach to train at, you can always use your backyard or any surface that will support the landing of a thrown kettle bell. Note that this will leave huge dents in your yard; avoid if you like your grass.

There is nothing better than being on top of a hill or mountain and doing a Kettle bell workout with a breathtaking view. You can do over head walks, presses, lungs, squats and many other lifts with this set up.

Also, you can use straps or chains and put them around the bells and have them hanging from your squat rack. The kettle bell swing is a core training staple that can help to build total body strength and power, but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly?

For this explosive movement, you shouldn't settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it's such a simple, essential exercise that should serve as one of the centerpieces of your training plan. Let Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Before you pick up a weight and start waving it around, take note that it's extremely important to pay attention the movement here. The way that you start your swing position is essential, as is your body's posture throughout—so let's break down everything you need to know.

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Even more than that it is a move that lets us explosively express what’s called “hip extension.” If you do those things right (and because we increasingly sit so much, we occasionally do it wrong), you’re squeezing your glutes and your lower body is driving your ability to stand up.

This action is crucial to moving and standing correctly, and critical to improving your athleticism (and your squat and dead lift movements). This doesn’t just miss the point of a kettle bell swing (hip extension) but it’s dangerous for your shoulders, too.

You end up trying to finish the swing with your shoulders, placing your rotator cuff tendons in a compromised position. The height of the kettle bell is strictly a function of how aggressively you straighten your legs and squeeze your glutes.

Problem two: if your shoulder mobility isn’t ideal; you'll compensate by arching through the lower back. You absolutely must maintain the stiffness through your torso over the life of your swing set.

Ex says: This is a lower body move, and your arms shouldn’t be anything more than a lever for the bell. If you explosively and powerfully stand up, and really exaggerate that glute squeeze, your torso will naturally pop up and the bell will translate forward.

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Ex says: Critical in the kettle bell swing is not letting your lower back drive the movement. If you’re having trouble getting that response, think of actively squeezing your glutes to drive the bell.

Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. But for some weighted moves, especially ones that require an explosive movement, kettle bells reign supreme.

You can also hold them by the handle or the bell (the round part of the weight), which allows you to get a different range of motion depending on the kettle bell exercise you're doing. Plus, the shape of a kettle bell lets you work your muscles a little differently than a traditional dumbbell, Jessica Sims, a NASM-certified personal trainer at the Hitting Room in New York City, tells SELF.

When you take a class with kettle bells, or any other new type of equipment, it's normal to feel a little lost. Oh, and a quick lesson on the lingo: The “ball” refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom, and the handle is the part attached to it.

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The handle is also referred to as the “horns,” and can be gripped at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball. Adding a kettle bell increases the resistance your body has to work against to stand back up, challenging your muscles even more.

In addition, holding the kettle bell close to your chest helps you nail proper form. “When you pick up heavy grocery bags, you should squat down like this so you don't hurt your back.”

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, gripping the sides of the kettle bell handle with both hands at chest height. They also secretly challenge your core, since you have to keep your abs tight to avoid arching your back.

Sims says to choose a heavier weight with a dead lift—since you're not bending your elbows at all, you're mostly using your glutes, which are likely the strongest muscles in your body. Hinge at your hips and push your butt back as you lower your torso and the weight toward the ground.

“Make sure that you don’t let the kettle bells swing, keep them stable by your side like actual suitcases,” Sims says. Push through your heels, putting most of the weight on the back foot, to return to the starting position.

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Adding weight to a sit- up adds an extra challenge for your core, and the press at the top works your shoulders and arms, too. For these sit-ups, Sims says you can either keep your knees bent or put them in butterfly position, depending on what feels comfortable for your hips.

Start in a sit- up position, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Kettle bell swings are great for your butt, legs, and lower back, Sims says.

You can probably go heavy here, but she suggests nailing the technique with a lighter kettle bell before adding too much weight. To perform a swing with proper form, you have to “thrust your hips aggressively to get the kettle bell up, don't use your arms,” Sims explains.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with both hands. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs.

Stand back up ; use the momentum from your hips to swing the weight to chest height. Your form here should be similar to a traditional dead lift, except your legs should be wider than shoulder-width distance and your feet should be turned out a bit.

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Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and toes angled out. Switching to one-handed swings isolates one side at a time, which makes it harder and helps improve stability.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to thread the kettle bell between your legs.

Bring your now-empty hand to meet the weight at the top of the movement (so you don't slam it into your chest). Grasp a kettle bell in each hand, palms facing out, arms bent so the weights are resting at each shoulder.

Bend your knees just a few inches, and as you stand back up, press the weights straight up overhead. To protect your lower back and make sure you're using your triceps, don't arch your back, Sims instructs. The key here is to straighten your arm completely at the top—that'll let you work the triceps through a full range of motion.

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Grip the kettle bell by the ball at the base of the handle with both hands and raise it directly overhead. Keeping your elbows close to your ears, lower the kettle bell behind your head to neck level.

The trick is to keep your core tight and hold your torso stable as you rotate your arms and the weight. Lift the ball to eye level and slowly circle it around your head to the left.

Hold the kettle bell handle in your right hand with your arm hanging straight at your side. Holding a kettle bell above your head at the top of a crunch challenges your core and lower abs—so does the flutter motion of your legs.

Start with the weight above your shoulders, and to make it more difficult, bring it a little behind your head, Sims says. Make sure to keep your core super tight and lower back flat on the ground.

If your back comes off the ground, or you feel any strain, bring your legs up a couple more inches. Stand in front of a box or step, holding a kettle bell by the handle with both hands at your chest.

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Related Videos

Sources
1 www.onnit.com - https://www.onnit.com/academy/6-ways-to-mix-up-your-kettlebell-training/
2 www.menshealth.com - https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a28439541/kettlebell-swing-form/
3 www.self.com - https://www.self.com/gallery/beginner-kettlebell-moves