If you’re likewise looking for the best kettle bells to buy, you’ll quickly find lots of options and some might seem very similar to others. I’ve found a lot of value in even basic exercises, which challenged my body in gym-worthy ways, an especially significant value in workout gear as we head into winter.
It’s easy to use and ultimately gives you unrivaled flexibility with what weight size you want in your kettle bell given you have the appropriate dumbbells to match with it. Heidi Pocono, a personal trainer and manager of training at GYMGUYZ, recommends a vinyl coated cast iron kettle bell.
By Steve “Coach Fury” Holier, Senior ROC, Dirt Master Chief Instructor I’ve been fortunate enough to teach/co-teach five Hard style Kettle bell Certification (HK) workshops in the last 8 months.
My buddy Josh Hen kin, Master ROC and Dirt Creator, and I had the great privilege of teaching two of those HK workshops to the United States Marines. Somewhat to my surprise, I get a deeper appreciation and respect for the HK every time I lead a new group of candidates.
The pull-up test back then was the first time I trained for a specific goal. But at the time I went to my first HK workshop, I was just an enthusiast with zero interest or intention of becoming a coach.
More importantly, the HK provides you with the exceptional education to progress, regress, troubleshoot, coach AND perform these three movements. If you’re someone that LOVES kettle bells, or you are thinking about becoming a trainer, this is the perfect first start.
If you do feel a bit overwhelmed, the HK manual is pure gold and will support everything which is taught at the workshop. For more seasoned trainers/coaches, the HK will sharpen your own kettle bell technique, coaching ability and likely your own movement patterns.
Improving movement and learning to create tension (and relaxation) will show great rewards in anything else you do. There are so many amazing people who are part of the HK /ROC/Dirt/ PCC /Dragon Door family.
The more I coach, the more I find the importance of the swing, get-up and goblet squat. Steve “Coach Fury” Holier’s superhero headquarters is Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC.
Sadly, I think this is the correct order that we should approach weightlifting. First, we need to establish the correct postures and patterns, then work around reasonable “numbers” of movements in a training session.
At the HK, we learn what I consider to be the key patterns to human movement: the swing, the goblet squat and the get-up. The HD has two ends: the swing and the goblet squat.
Training sessions should put you on the path of progress towards your goals. I have a simple answer for most people: control your repetitions.
In teaching the get-up, or when using this wonderful lift as a tool to discover your body, keep the reps “around” ten. The goblet squat seems to lock in around 15-25 reps per workout.
10 Swings 5 Goblet squats (put the bell down between your feet under control) Inchworm out to the push-up position (walk on your hands) 5 Push-ups Inchworm back to starting position 10 Swings 4 Goblet squats (put the bell down between your feet under control) Inchworm out to the push-up position (walk on your hands) 4 Push-ups Inchworm back to starting position 10 Swings 3 Goblet squats (put the bell down between your feet under control) Inchworm out to the push-up position (walk on your hands) 3 Push-ups Inchworm back to starting position 10 Swings 2 Goblet squats (put the bell down between your feet under control) Inchworm out to the push-up position (walk on your hands) 2 Push Ups Inchworm back to starting position 10 Swings 1 Goblet squat (put the bell down between your feet under control) Inchworm out to the push-up position (walk on your hands) 1 Push-up Inchworm back to starting position One of the great insights, among many, that I picked up at the ROC is the idea of doing twenty swings with one kettle bell and ten swings with two kettle bells.
After doing literally hundreds of swings a day, I noted that my technique held up fine in that ten and twenty range. It is the basic teaching of sports: don’t let quantity influence quality.
I usually call these the “Punch the Clock” workouts and I think they are the key to staying in the game. Tim Ferris, ASCII, tells us in his excellent book, The Four Hour Body that there is a minimum effective dose (MED) of everything fitness related.
Doing the little “Humane Burpee” with a big kettle bell is a killer workout. When you look at movement first, then reps, then for whatever reason, the loading makes more sense too.
In a one-day course, we learn and do (a lot of “do”) the three core movements of the kettle bell world. Prepping for the HK is not as complex or deep as the three-day ROC.
Showing up “in shape” and ready to learn would be ideal, but I would also recommend include some additional mobility work and perhaps some work on the hinge, squat and some basic rolling to prep for the event. The time you spend prepping for the event pales in comparison to what you do AFTER the HK.
I always send along the following Twenty-Day Program to guide our attendees deeper along the ROC path. From there, I show the one arm press and introduce the kettle bell clean.
I trained for the ROC with clean and press, swings and what I thought were snatches at the time. Fresh from a new learning experience, there is always a tendency to want to do everything at once.
But that approach is tough to do and fraught with long and short term issues. The first twenty days after the HK experience should be a time to strive for mastering the movements and training the positions.
Each week, take one day to do a full “toes to top” mobility workout. It is recommended that you do the hip flexor stretch during each warm up and cool down period; it can be done very well with an easy set of goblet squats.
The three movements of the HK Care the core to conditioning, mobility and goal achievement. Master ROC, Dan John is the author of numerous fitness titles including the best-selling Never Let Go and Easy Strength.
An All-American discus thrower, Dan has also competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, Highland Games and the Weight Pentathlon, an event in which he holds the American record. Dan spends his work life blending weekly workshops and lectures with full-time writing, and is also an online religious studies instructor for Columbia College of Missouri.
If we add push-ups (15-25 a day), we might have a routine that will provide fitness, longevity, health and performance. I keep this tradition alive every weekday morning when people join me to work out at 9:30.
I always ask the client or athlete to look ahead twenty years. The checks you write with your body with “Hold my beer and watch this” activities will be hard to pay twenty years from now.
“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” the best lesson of Jurassic Park, is also wise programming advice. But, can we still look ahead two weeks and identify the issues and problems which will lead to missed workouts or bad food and beverage choices.
A nice thing about single kettle bell work is that you only need to count the total reps, because the load never changes. Spending time to examine volume is often the first clue in determining Minimum Effective Dose, and working with the “less is more” philosophy many excellent coaches and trainers live by.
With the same load and same exercises, completing the workout in less time means progress. When discussing progression with single kettle bell workouts, density is truly the most important of the three terms.
One quick hint: don’t let the press dictate kettle bell selection, especially with women. On one heavy workout, one of our females just picked up a 28 kg kettle bell and did five minutes of swings.
She thought she’d chosen a 20 kg kettle bell, and didn’t notice it was actually a full eight kilos heavier. She had built up to the 16 kg kettle bell in the Top, but could easily use more for swings and goblet squats.
The workouts in this article are only for two-hand swings, but feel free to adapt them as appropriate. A few years ago, I was asked to write about the 10,000 Swing Challenge.
Repeat for an additional nine times for ten total giant sets. This variation allowed us to use heavier kettle bells, and it also doubles the longer rest periods.
Most of us don’t take any rest at all through the workout, but feel free to stop when necessary. To make it harder, just increase the goblet squat and push-up reps to ten.
Again, let the goblet squats descend (5-4-3-2-1) on each consecutive set to give you a total of 50-75 swings, 15 goblet squats and an “interesting feeling” in the whole region of muscles that squeeze things together. You will soon see a lot of racing and the participants will quickly learn that they were underestimating the bear crawl.
Once we get moving with horn walks and bear crawls, it is time to add loaded carries to our basic work. I’ve named the loaded carry workouts after the birds of the raptor family.
7 goblet squats, then march back to the starting location with the kettle bell in the right hand Your anti-rotation muscles will be working overtime with the asymmetrically loaded walks, and then they will have to join in to support the squats.
Hold the kettle bell in the rack position and continue to walk until you feel yourself losing integrity again. Once you can’t hold the kettle bell in that position, switch hands and start from the beginning.
Naked (unweighted) Turkish get-ups for five minutes Mobility sequence Practice a few hip hinge drills and a few additional prying goblet squat movements Pick a “One Kettle bell Workout” listed above, and time it, if appropriate Turkish get-ups, one to five per side Spar hawk, Cook drill or Cooked drill as a finisher Come back and do it again tomorrow! Master ROC, Dan John is the author of numerous fitness titles including the best-selling Never Let Go and Easy Strength.
An All-American discus thrower, Dan has also competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, Highland Games and the Weight Pentathlon, an event in which he holds the American record. Dan spends his work life blending weekly workshops and lectures with full-time writing, and is also an online religious studies instructor for Columbia College of Missouri. As a Fulbright Scholar, he toured the Middle East exploring the foundations of religious education systems.
Functional fitness is such a catchall term it has probably even surpassed the core as being the most over-hyped, but misunderstood. The implement used, whether it be a barbell, body weight, a kettle bell, or a cable stack are simply tools.
The simple truth is what makes an exercise functional is that it transfers to improved performance. On a shallow level we teach people at the ROC how to instruct others in the safe use of kettle bells.
Looking at the FMS system one of the ways we teach the body to get the pattern right is with what’s called core assistance. In this case the abdominal brace to resist that flexion force and the result is a cleaner squat.
Holding a kettle bell in front of you by the horns will act to flex the trunk and the abdominal will have to brace to resist that. The training continuum starts with developing mobility and stability, progresses to muscular endurance, and then onto strength and power.
And if we go all the way to the other end of the screen and look at the inline lunge, do you know what one of the final corrections is? They both appear to just be a collection of exercise progressions, but if you start to get to know them in-depth you’ll see why they can be all the training you need.
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I'll retest the Esq in the next week or so...really looking forward to that day. The testers expect you to do the movement right, and believe me they are watching closely.
I thought my kettle bell practice was pretty good, but I saw a whole new level that day, both in myself and in the other HK candidates. I have gotten many people ready in under two months (although not novices to weight training, they were totally new to kettle bells).
You can get ready for ROC, with zero experience, in 6-9 months (although in that person's case they trained with me 5 days per week that whole time). 4-5 workouts per week for 45-60 minutes will see you get strong and fit enough quickly.
By raising the bar higher you will make big jumps in your training. You know what they say “If you aim at the moon, even if you miss, you land among the stars”.
The HK that I attended there were 4 who did not pass that day and all were due to not meeting the pull up requirement. I went with a shoulder problem and tennis elbow, so I knew that I was not going to get the actual certification, but went for the overall instruction and teaching part of it anyway.
There were some there that had just started with KB's and were able to pass due to the quality of instruction that was given. I hope people don't misunderstand my comments on passing.
In fact, before I came along and started running regular seminars only one other ROC had been very active. So what we have is a bunch of people who either train GS, or have never had any solid instruction.
I think there are many more opportunities in the US to get quality training simply because of the volume of RCS there. Hopefully we will fix that as we progress and have more available teachers and training options.
All true Andrew, but, as important, be prepared to TEACH WHAT YOU LEARNED. HK Prague November 13Thanks for the article since I took the advice and booked the closest HK date that would work with my husband's schedule...so here I go, less than 3 weeks away.
The stress on teaching skills is actually a very important side to our system. I can't find anything locally that even comes close to the teaching progressions and tool box of the ROC.