The main reason for practicing this exercise before exercises like the Kettle bell Swing is because motor control, mobility and correct muscle activation must all work together in order to maximize effective movement and minimize the risk of injury. It is the big hitter of movements and fundamentally helps us lift heavy objects from the floor using the power of the legs, buttocks, back, and core muscles.
Quadriceps Hamstrings Glutes Adductors Erector Spinal Trapezium Lower back Forearms Core There are many other stabilizer muscles worked with the KB dead lift but these are the big prime movers.
As you lift from the floor you are pulling the weight up using the power of the Glutes and Hamstrings while keeping the back in an isometric position with the strength of your core muscles. In an age where we spend a lot of time sitting and leaning forwards the KB Dead lift helps counteract this posture and pull everything backwards, opening up the chest and shoulders.
The more muscle mass you can use when you exercise the more energy (or calories) are required to fuel that movement. Push the hips backwards maintaining a flat back Keep your weight back on your heels and chest up Allow the kettle bell to lower to the floor with a straight arm Pause at the bottom of the position Drive your hips forwards and stand tall Squeeze your buttocks tight and don’t lean backwards
The deadliftkettlebell focuses on movement from the hips while keeping a flat and isometrically (statically) maintained lower back. The knees should bend as you reach down to pick up the kettle bell but the hips should be forced backwards with the weight on the outside of the feet and onto the heels.
By concentrating on the distribution of weight over your feet you will feel the activation up and into your Glutes (buttocks). Keep a good grip on the kettle bell to help correctly activate your shoulder stabilizers.
You can practice the Dead lift with kettle bells of various weights, ironically many people find using a heavier weight enables them to better feel the Glutes and Hamstrings working and forces better activation through the lower half of the body. Use two boxes, one under each foot with a gap in between for the kettle bell to be lowered closer to the floor.
Lifting the kettle bell from the side rather than between your legs puts additional demands onto your core stabilizers. Using two kettle bells for the suitcase dead lift does increase the demands on the legs and buttocks but it also reduces the core stabilization that you get with the one handed variation.
First you would perform the kettlebellrow while leaning forwards with a flat back and then stand tall to complete the dead lift movement. The single-handed dead lift is pulled from between the legs which naturally puts the torso into a slight rotation and increases cross body core activation.
If you start to snap your hips though at the top of this exercise it is also great preparation for the kettle bell swing. If you want to learn to connect the top of the body to the bottom via the core muscles then this is the exercise for you.
You will need good balance and core strength in order to complete this exercise correctly. Benefits — a great beginner workout that teaches the basic dead lift movement pattern.
The slingshot movement is added as active recovery so the kettle bell is not put down between circuits and the heart rate is kept up. Again great for the beginner who is improving their core stabilization and looking to get strong on their hands for push-ups etc.
Variations — the shoulder taps can be replaced with Push Ups, Cross Body Mountain climbers or regular front planks. Benefits — a cardio based workout that keeps the heart rate up throughout.
Variations — swap out the Fast Mountain Climbers for Squat Thrusts or even Burpees, if you are at that level. The side plank hits the core in a totally different direction than the dead lift so a great combination.
Benefits — great workout for stabilization, the suitcase dead lift is like a dynamic side plank so excellent for the core. Variations — if your squat is strong then you can progress to the static or dynamic lunge with or without a kettle bell.
The suitcase dead lift works on the core muscles at the side of the body and the squat thrust on the front. Add in the extra cardio and strength benefits and it’s a great workout all around.
Variations — switch the Squat thrusts for Burpees or Fast Mountain Climbers. Benefits — using two kettle bells means that you can dramatically increase the demands on legs and buttocks.
Variations — try using different weights in the left and right hand, this will add further stabilization demands and improve core strength. Benefits — strengthens the sling system that runs from shoulder to opposite hip via the core muscles.
This workout will highlight core weaknesses, if so more time should be spent on the weaker side. Variations — once mastered you can progress the depth of the exercise by standing on a low box allowing the kettle bell to fall lower than the foot
Variations — add further stabilization challenges by holding different sized kettle bells in the right and left hand. The kettlebelldeadlift is a fundamental movement pattern that relies on the muscles of the legs, buttocks and back.
Often referred to as a posterior chain exercise because its works the muscles of the back line. The dead lift works more into the back of the body whereas the squat has more emphasis on the front and the quads.
The kettelbell looks intimidating and scary, but once you learn a few basic kettle bell moves, you'll find yourself wanting to reach for the 'bell over other pieces of equipment because it's so versatile and effective. Bend your knees, driving your hips back with your chest lifted, and gently tap the kettle bell to the floor between your feet.
If there is one exercise that makes me cringe and fear for peoples safety it’s when I see them performing the upright row with a kettle bell. The upright row is performed by holding a kettle bell with both hands by the handle and then pulling it directly upwards to around upper chest height.
In principle the exercise appears quite straightforward but it is what is happening to the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles that is cause for concern. In short, the shoulder is placed in a position that it is naturally not designed to be in and through repetition starts to aggravate the soft tissue.
Many people can perform the upright row without feeling any pain at first but over time shoulder issues will start to present themselves. As a personal trainer and kettle bell instructor one of the common problems I get presented with is an over activation of the upper back or trapezium muscles.
Due to most peoples daily routine of sitting in front of computers, mobile phones, or TV’s, bad posture is more common than ever. One of the easiest ways to further exacerbate upper back and neck issues is by performing the kettle bell upright row.
The kettle bell is an incredible workout tool that can produce some truly great results quickly and efficiently. The reason that many people perform the kettle bell upright row is to develop the upper back and shoulder muscles.
However, as I’ve mentioned above over activation of the upper Trapezium muscles can lead to serious postural issues and pulling a weight while your arms are internally rotated can damage your shoulders. First you should work on your shoulder stabilization with exercises including the Turkish Get Up, Overhead Holds and Windmills.
Then second progress to more prime mover shoulder based exercises including the clean and overhead press. One final point to bear in mind is how the kettle bell upright row has no real impact on your daily life activities.
Using exercises that have a natural carry over into daily life are generally safer and utilize your full body. Not only is the farmers carry practical but it’s also an excellent exercise to develop the shoulders and trapezium muscles in a way that is better for counteracting bad posture.
The farmers carry pulls the trapezium muscles down rather than elevating them which is what happens when sat at a desk all day. You can choose much more effective kettle bell exercises for both the shoulders and upper back that are both safe and will help prevent further postural issues.
If losing weight is one of your goals then there are also more effective exercises that you can choose that activate more muscles and burn more calories without the risks.