Room to Swing: An open area with a flat surface, generally free of obstacles. Dirt, packed sand, rubber floor matting, and lawn work well.
Cushioned soles do not work well as your feet may shift during dynamic movements. Workout clothes: should be loose and provide ample movement in the hips.
As stated above, moving the kettle bell involves accelerating it and decelerating it through space. The picture on the top is a proper catch, with head up, eyes level, chest up and lower back strongly curved.
Below that on the left is a picture of a low back injury waiting to happen. The first is a proper press, with head up, torso upright, midsection tight, shoulders sunk in their sockets.
Pay close attention to the performance points and concentrate more on perfecting your form than on “getting through” the exercise. This exercise activates the muscles of the midsection to maintain an upright posture and a strong lumbar curve; and the muscles of the rotator cuff to keep the shoulders tightly engaged at the top of their ROM.
Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, bent over with your back straight, resting hands on knees. Reach for the sky with both hands, interlocking your fingers, and trying to drive your head and shoulders toward the ceiling.
Hold the top position, flexing all your muscles as you breathe out strongly under tension for 5 – 10 seconds. Knees straight but not locked, muscles of the legs contracted firmly.
Glutes contracted to drive the hips forward, directly about the heels. Hands intertwined, elbows locked, shoulder blades squeezed to the rear.
Do not thrust head forward, draw shoulders back so that they are directly in line with hips and heels. This exercise primes and activates the muscles of the low back and midsection, as well as stretching the hamstrings and activating them to fire strongly in the bottom of a swing.
Begin with feet together, heels and toes together, legs straight and knees locked. When bending down, actively contract the abs to drive hands and chest as low as they will go.
Concentrate on keeping your hips low when you come to flat back. Keep hands at your chest, or reach behind you and feel the flexion in your low back.
This exercise primes the muscles of the core to control the angle of the hips and low back through their full ROM. It also activates the rotator cuffs to protect the shoulders under load through their full ROM as well.
Knees should be locked, hips engaged, core tight, and shoulders drawn into their sockets, shoulder blades drawn back and together, chest forward and head up with eyes ahead. Drive the hips down to the ground, contracting the glutes and low back, relaxing the abs.
Push the chest up and out, sink the shoulder blades back and stretch the head up. Actively contract your abs to bend your hips toward your thighs, and your chest toward the ground.
The point of this is to generate total body tension throughout the range of motion. Imagine someone punching you in the stomach and sides the whole time and keep your midsection tight.
Stand tall with legs straight but now locked, glutes contracted, hips engaged and directly over heels, midsection firmly engaged, chest up, shoulders relaxed, head up and eyes forward. Begin the movement by bending slightly at the waist so that your hips move back behind your heels.
Slowly, in a controlled fashion, continue to drive your hips back, keeping your chest as upright as possible. Continue to bend at the waist keeping your low back flat.
At the bottom of your squat your heels should be flat, knees bent to maximum, shins almost but not quite vertical, low back flat or only slightly curved, core tight, chest up and arms extended forward for balance. Keeping your core tight, engage your glutes and drive your hips backwards.
At the same time keep your chest upright and flex your low back to keep it flat and return to the good lumbar curve. If you think about bending your knees they will come forward of your toes, which will prime your legs to engage the muscles of the quads rather than the more powerful glutes.
Using your hands like a karate chop to push back on that crease where your leg joins your torso can help reinforce this (see pictures above). You should feel like you are going to fall over backwards if your hips are fare enough back.
This is more a flexibility issue than strength for most people, so it takes time to teach your muscles the new movement pattern. It builds on the squat's activation of legs, hips and midsection, by adding the resistance of the kettle bell, and necessitating the stabilization of the shoulder girdle.
The handle should be parallel to a line drawn between the heels, just about mid foot. When you are low enough to grasp the kettle bell handle, grip it firmly with midsection contracted, arms straight, elbows locked, shoulders firmly engaged in the sockets, head up, eyes forward.
Your hips should be far enough back that the kettle bell is the only thing preventing you from falling backwards. Lift the kettle bell by, contracting your core and glutes while breathing out strongly under tension.
Pause at the top of the movement and contract legs, mid-section and upper body strongly and thoroughly. Concentrate on shooting your hips back, keep your core tight as if you were taking a punch in the gut.
The kettle bell needs to be heavy enough that it can actually counter the weight of your hips behind your heels. When you drive upwards to lift the kettle bells, flex the core first, and then the glutes.
Imagine that someone has placed a walnut between your butt cheeks, and you are going to smash it by pinching it with your glutes. This exercise engages the shoulders throughout their full ROM under very high resistance.
The core and legs must also be engaged firmly to maintain posture. Your thumbs should be inside the loop of the handle with index fingers against the ball.
Lift the bell as a dead lift, but give it a little thrust with your hips and rack the kettle bell against your chest, handle down, ball up. Turn the kettle bell around your head, keeping your elbows tight and close.
Keep the kettle bell close to your head, but do not drag it across your shoulders, chest or back. It engages every muscle in the body, especially the midsection and the shoulder girdle, lifting the kettle bell in an irregular movement pattern.
This forces the arms and midsection to stabilize the weight at every angle of movement. Shoulder sucked in, elbow locked, wrist perfectly straight.
Resist this by curling the hand forward, flexing the muscles of the front of the forearm. Draw up the knee on the same side as the kettle bell and plant your foot as firmly as you can.
Flex the core to drive the chest up so that you rise up on one elbow. Keep the arm straight and upright, shoulder tight, elbow locked, wrist straightened by contracting the muscles of the forearm.
If the kettle bell starts to get off center, and you feel it pull at your shoulder, dump it. Take the straight leg, the one on the opposite side from the kettle bell, and sweep it back under your hips so that it is behind you.
Press off with the downward hand, and brace the core until you are in a kneeling position. You should feel the line of force running from the kettle bell hand to the opposite knee.
This exercise is easiest if you try to pose apically at every point. But our current Western lifestyle of constantly sitting and very little physical activity has made our bodies immobile and prone to injury.
But if you life an active lifestyle already, then warming up for 30 minutes before your workout isn’t necessary. The hollow hang will decompress your spine and open up the spaces between your vertebrae to allow your nervous system to function optimally for strength training.
Incorporating Neck Nods will loosen up your neck and shoulder area for overhead movements and exercises like Presses, Snatches & Jerks. Having a strong and good functioning center is KEY to getting stronger with kettle bells.
Hollow Hang x 30s Jump Rope x 30s Prying Goblet Squat w/Neck Nods x 30s Dead Bug x 30s The offset weight distribution of it requires more muscle groups to contract and stabilize than if you were using a dumbbell or a barbell.
The warm up routine we’ve created focuses on developing underutilized areas that are crucial to performing lifts safely, such as the core, shoulders, and glutes. Cycle for 10 minutes on a stationary bike, jump rope for 50-100 reps, or walk at a steep incline on a treadmill to get your heart rate elevated.
This routine requires one light to moderate weight kettle bell. The beauty of this warm up routine is that it can easily be transformed into a full kettlebellworkout.
Continue to use a light weight for the arm bar movement. With a slight bend in the knees, hinge at the hips and sink the chest down to the floor.
Drive through the heels, contract the glutes, and straighten the legs to return to the starting position. Start with feet about hip width apart and a kettle bell in front of your chest in the goblet position, hands gripping either side of the handle.
Start on your back with legs straight and one arm extended, holding a kettle bell over the shoulder. Lift the leg on the side of the loaded arm and bring it across the body.
Start with a kettle bell in the rack position: hand fully inserted so the handle is diagonal across the palm, elbow tucked into the body, and it's resting on the forearm and bicep. Sink down into a squat position, keeping the chest up and weight in the heels.
Drive into the heels and contract the glutes to fully extend the hips and come back to standing position. Lay on your back with legs bent and feet flat on the ground.
Although these exercises are classified as warm up drills, that doesn’t mean they are easy to perform, and you should still maintain good form. Make sure to focus on engaging your core and breathing steadily throughout the exercises.