Since we tend to get less flexible as we age, increased range of motion may be the most lasting benefit from kettle bell training. Specifically, the shoulder girdle and upper back tend to hold tension and, as a result, motion in the area becomes restricted.
Synovial fluid helps reduce friction in the shoulder girdle and upper spinal vertebrae. Maintaining mobility in the shoulder and thoracic spine can assist in activities of daily living such as reaching or pulling while twisting, or turning your head to look behind, especially when driving.
When performed properly, the kettlebellhalo can help you to develop core stability that assists with balance and other essential functions. Specifically, exercise physiologists have stated that the halo helps improve reflexive stability—a precursor to core strength.
Reflexive stability in the core region (throughout the torso) helps your body to stay steady and upright when confronted by resistance. For example, a mother carrying her infant needs reflexive stability to keep the baby safe if a toddler is forcefully tugging at her legs.
As the name suggests, the halo is performed by making tight circles around the head with the kettle bell. Hold the kettle bell in front of the body, grasping the horns (the vertical sides of the handle).
Finish the circle by bringing it around the left side of your head back to the starting position. Begin by circling to the left and finish by coming around the right back to the starting position.
If you choose to use a dumbbell, hold it vertically in front of the chest with one hand on top of the other. In a standing position, it is easy to move through the torso to increase your range of motion.
If you notice that your waist is bending to make your circle bigger or if you find yourself arching the back to bring the kettle bell behind your neck, then your posture is not solid enough. Plant your feet hip-distance apart, soften the knees, and tighten the torso before you begin.
It is very typical for exercisers to hold their breath when performing sustained movement over the head. By supporting the torso and lower body in a seated position, you eliminate some spinal stability benefits.
But you'll be able to safely increase range of motion through the shoulder girdle to prepare for a more advanced version of the exercise. A variation called “Angel of Death” is an advanced move where you add a squat or lunge between each circle around the head.
Lower into a squat or lunge and hold while you complete another halo, then return to the starting position and begin again. Work with your healthcare provider or a qualified professional to make sure that the movement is safe for you and that you are performing it correctly.
While resistance training is not contraindicated during an uncomplicated pregnancy,those women who are in their late second or third trimester may have a harder time completing this movement because of their forward-shifted center of gravity. Guidelines from national and international organizations often advise a more conservative approach to resistance training during pregnancy.
Either add this exercise to an established routine or use it instead of a shoulder press in a complete upper body series: (For an incredible workout that’ll make your abs, quads, and biceps pop—check out the new Measured EXTREME transformation program from Men’s Health.)
That’s because it requires full concentration and a team effort from your shoulders, triceps, back, and core to maneuver the unwieldy weight around your head. As a result, you can stay focused, boost intensity, and get the most out of every single rep.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. The kettlebellhalo is also a great strengthening exercise for seniors to use for the shoulders.
Keep the elbows tucked in and nice and close to the body all the way around the head. Ensure that the kettle bell stays as close to the base of the neck as possible.
The closer you can keep the kettle bell to your neck the more you will work on improving your shoulder mobility. The best way to warm up is by reproducing the same movements used within your workout but with little or no weight.
The halo especially works your shoulders, triceps, and upper back and is a great mobility warm up exercise. The KettlebellHalo is a great exercise for strengthening your core and improving mobility in the shoulders and thoracic area.
This movement can be carried out using a barbell plate as well as a kettle bell. This is a great exercise for athletes such as swimmers and martial artists and football players that require strong and mobile shoulders.
The muscles that are affected by the KettlebellHalo include the shoulders, upper back, abdominal, trapezium, obliques and chest. Improves stability in the core, obliques and lower back.
Lowers risk of incurring a back injury. Improved mobility in the shoulders and thoracic areas.
Pick up a kettle bell upside down by the horns with both hands. Hold the kettle bell at in front of your body at chest height.
Maintain a shoulder width stance. Lift one arm and move the kettle bell around the back of your head in till it reaches your ear on the other side of your head.
You hold the kettle bell by the horns -- the outer edges of the handles — pointing the weight toward the ceiling and rotate the bell in a circle above your head. The kettlebellhalo works the deltoid in the shoulders and the pectorals in the chest, the muscles that lift the arms, notes online fitness instructor Ray Fleet.
Your triceps, the muscle at the back of the upper arms, obviously play a role in controlling the heavy weight behind your head. The trapezium, the muscles of the back and shoulder girdle, brings the bell up past your ears and forward to the start position.
Memo to your midsection: The core muscles have got their work cut out for them to keep the body stable as the heavy bell moves in ways that seem geared to put you slightly off balance. Select a bell that is light enough to control easily and that permits you to complete the deceptively challenging halo for two minutes.
Maxwell recommends one minute of clockwise motion and one of counterclockwise as part of a warm-up that also includes the around-the-body pass and figure 8s. Kettle bell halos won't actually turn you into a celestial being—but the shoulder workout the exercise will give you am downright heavenly.
All you need is a kettle bell to drill down on shoulder rotation and stability, which makes the kettlebellhalo a go-to move for superhero trainer Don Saladin, who has helped to whip Ryan Reynolds, David Harbor, and Sebastian Stan into fighting shape. Saladin told Menshealth.com that he loves the kettlebellhalo because of the wide range of benefits that come from the relatively simple move.
The bulk of the weight can be above (as demonstrated by Saladin in the video) or below your hands, and you can stand or kneel, depending on your own preference. While squeezing your glutes and core to maintain a solid base, rotate your shoulders to circle the weight around your head and back to the original position.
Just because the motion is simple doesn't mean you can concentrate on form any less, either—be careful to move deliberately, never just throwing the kettle bell around your head. Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, an associate 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.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. In this article, I will provide some details on how to grip the kettle bell for swings and how to execute the kettlebellhalo that can make a difference in your results.
“Grip it and rip it” might be a common saying for golf, dead lifts, and other activities, but in the kettle bell swing it can set you up for issues with calluses and blisters. With its thick handle and offset center of gravity, the kettle bell provides grip benefits not found in more traditional implements.
This may feel like a solid grip, but this placement will pinch the palm at the base of the fingers and result in calluses and blisters. Also, keep in mind that a strong grip is not necessarily a “death grip.” Over-gripping the handle can be the cause of many issues especially when you progress to snatches, where the kettle bell has to be able to move in the hand.
Guiding the arm back to the ribs with the lat(s) and hinging once you are reconnected will keep you in sync during the eccentric portion of the swing. Have the patience to stay in sync with the rhythmically repetitive nature of the swing.
The kettlebellhalo is used as part of the Simple & Sinister warm-up and is recommended as a shoulder opener, but there are some additional details that will help you in correctly applying this movement. A deceptively simple drill of moving the kettle bell around the head, the halo has some key points to be aware of:
The range of the halo can extend so the kettle bell drops behind the head and down the back to open the shoulders. Beginning from the bottom-up position at the start, the kettle bell will tilt and the bottom of it should point where you are moving it (see video).
It is a good way to warm up or increase shoulder motion, but should not be performed for high reps or as a “main dish.” As with most of my articles, these details and tips resulted from working with my own students and from my own teaching at events.
A well performed kettlebellhalo can be great for the shoulders and getting ready for a practice session, but missing details like the neutral wrist and the “pointing” of the kettle bell in the direction can make the halo feel “off.” For this article, I would like to dive into a few training observations I have made in my recent practice.
Simple & Sinister, Pavel Tsatsouline’s new book, is eloquent in its simplicity. He is also a Certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from High Point University, a Master of Science in Rehabilitative Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSA). With over twenty years of experience, Brett has been sought out to consult with professional teams and athletes, as well as present throughout the United States and internationally.
As an athletic trainer who has transitioned into the fitness industry, Brett has taught kettle bell techniques and principles since 2003. He has taught for Functional Movement Systems (FMS) since 2006, and has created multiple DVDs and manuals with world-renowned physical therapist Gray Cook, including the widely-praised “Secrets of…” series.
Brett continues to evolve his approach to training and teaching, and is passionate about improving the quality of education for the fitness industry. We live in a world of infinite knowledge, yet we rarely stop to think about the dangers of such innovation.
Well, maybe not that many, but in this day and age of strength and conditioning the kettle bell is turning into a standard training tool among coaches and trainees. If you’re new to the kettle bell and want to jump in with both feet, three full body workouts hitting each movement pattern per week is plenty.
The conventional gyms and department stores of the world would have you believe that a 10lb kettle bell is all a man needs and a 5lb is plenty for a woman. 99% of the time (a statistic I just made up to prove a point but is still going to be high) trainees go too light.
There’s no set standard per se as each person is different, but here’s a good guide for non-injured, healthy men and women: Challenging yourself is important, but if you’re breaking form for the purposes of lifting a certain weight, then the potential harm outweighs any good could be doing.
If I had a nickel for each time I’ve seen someone attempting a technical move like the snatch at a conventional gym with zero knowledge of the movement outside of watching a video I’d be a rich man. Finding a reputable coach in your area or absorbing instructional videos will do your body good.
Juggling, intense movements, and programs with a ton of volume can look enticing, but if you’re not ready for it take a step back. Check out the Durability channel on Innit Academy On Demand to work through tight areas and open up new movements.
Double kettle bell work, heavy one arm swings, bent presses, goblet squats, and incredible flows will do far more than get your heart pumping. A powerful routine that will build incredible strength AND conditioning is utilizing the kettle bell (or a few) for a strength-geared circuit.
For example, you can perform a press, goblet squat, renegade row, and one arm swing. This gives you PLENTY of room for growth since you can’t change the weights easily.
The bell can help you get rid of quite a few of those stubborn, sticking points that are holding you back. Between get-ups, arm bars, windmills and sots presses kettle bell deliver amazing strength, but also incredible mobility from your hips to your shoulders and everything in between.
You can incorporate challenging movements as a warm up or what I do is pick the toughest ones based on my body’s abilities and spend a whole session playing with them. For example, I’ll incorporate a longer mobility warm up and then hit multiple sets (never to failure) of sots presses and deep goblet squats using lighter weights.
Because of the position of the kettle bell even simply pressing it will pull your arm back a bit further stretching your lats and opening up your shoulders a hair more. Just about everything from jumping higher, running faster, kicking harder and better posture.
Your glutes and hamstrings are your power source for building hip speed and explosive strength. Sets can be broken down and performed ladder-style, on the minute, or pair them with a calisthenics move like push ups for a more robust session.
A strong grip is more useful than the mainstream fitness world gives it credit. The off-center placement of the bell gives the kettle bell an advantage over other tools as it forces you to keep a flexed forearm while in the rack and overhead position.
Combine that with kettle bell flows, juggling, and ballistic movements to strengthen your grip from every angle. Eventually, you can try tougher routines and juggling complexes to unleash the power of the bell.
Most strength training is done with trunk flexion and extension with the occasional rotational movement medicine ball throw. Squats and dead lifts are awesome, but when you combine powerful movements with the likes of rotational swings, lateral punches, and 360 snatches you’ll build strength from a multitude of angles.
Strength in motion (what we’ve dubbed the outside the box thinking and kettle bell flowing) is almost meditative. There are no sets and reps. You just move, and this allows you to explore different ranges of motion, planes, and movement patterns.
If you’re a coach or group class leader kettle bells are fantastic to lead clients through a plethora of movements that will deliver strength and conditioning in record time. If you’re a solo practitioner nothing beats the simplicity of one or two bells and some fresh air.
Some simple complexes and movements can help you continue on your strength quest without skipping a beat and minus the tons of equipment and weight needed. An easy way is to limit your tools to a kettle bell and club or mace, a suspension trainer and your body to build a high-functioning physique without all the fluff.
This will help you take your kettle bell abilities to the next level and help you unlock your imagination for some fantastic, out of the box strength and conditioning sessions.