7 Kettlebell Training Tips You Need To Try
Written By: Sean Flint, The Boxing Club
Do yourself a favor and get into full swing with a solid kettlebell workout. The biggest flex that a kettlebell has to offer is that a kettlebell’s weight is off-center - making your core and grip work a lot harder. A kettlebell workout also doesn’t require a whole lot of time or space. You can switch things up and work certain parts of the body or go full-body blast.
Short history lesson: the kettlebell made its debut in 18th century Russia and was used to measure grain and other dried goods. The competition to challenge each other to lift the heaviest ones ended up starting early and found its way to the circus. Fast forward into the post World War II era, kettlebell lifting became a means of training for soldiers and became an official sport. Kettlebells made their way into the U.S. in the 1940s and have since continuously gained popularity.
Kettlebell Training Tips for Beginners
To begin kettlebell training, it is good to learn the basic exercises.
The best place to start is stabilization. Just like everything else in life, it is always best to start with the basics and build a strong foundation.
The kettlebell provides a really cool and challenging way to light up the nervous system. It encourages a type of communication between your brain and the rest of your body to be responsive to what you are asking of it. Kettlebells bring such an awesome opportunity to work on muscle imbalances / injury and overall athleticism & strength. Since kettlebells can provide such a great workout, it is also crucial that you give the body proper warm up to get the body warm and the blood flow moving.
Devil is in the Details
The main distinguishing feature between the kettlebell and the all-familiar dumbbell is the nature of the off-set load. A kettlebell’s center of gravity is typically six to eight inches away from your grip; therefore, making it more difficult to control. With this knowledge, any exercise is going to require paying close attention to a stricter form for the ultimate muscle activation. Basically - kettlebells encourage you to do the exercise to the best of your ability. And if you can’t or don’t, you’ll know it immediately. A kettlebell is a great way to make sure that you are prioritizing yourself and your form.
Just like keeping great form, kettlebells also make you keep an insanely tight core. For example, while doing a kettlebell swing, you must brace your core to prevent your lower back from rounding at the bottom of the movement. In order to stabilize yourself or fire off harder, your core must be locked tight.
Train for Something
Beginners are prone to poor form, accidentally hitting themselves, or picking out inappropriate (aka too heavy) weight. Figure out why you’re grabbing the kettlebell and what your main goals are in regards to this type of training. Get real with those goals and yourself.
Set Your Swing
Don’t just grab the bell. How you set up your swing matters. Sit your hips back into a hinge, keep kettlebell in front, grab the handle tightly, engage lats and hike the bell back through your legs. As you follow through, remember that the hinge is key for a kettlebell. It is siting your hips back while stretching hamstrings and loading your hips like they are ready to shoot forward.
For the maximum results while using a kettlebell, it is just as important to find the proper way to breathe just as it is form. When extending hips up to an upright position (lock), powerfully exhale. When hinging back down, inhale and breathe in through the nose. Working on breathing and form at the same time really requires max concentration.
Step By Step
Kettlebell training is a journey - you’re not going to be snatching crazy weight in a couple of days. You won’t be picking up a heavier set kettlebell and shooting it up to an overhead press or leave without feeling some tension in your wrist after a session. Invest time and knowledge into your progress. Add to your toolbox constantly.
Form + Technique ---> Weight and Reps
Using a kettlebell is a fun and dynamic way to add to your training skillset. You must invest time in understanding and mastering the form before adding more weights/reps. The injury isn’t worth it… ever.
The Kettlebell Set Up
Here’s the deal: if you’ve been around kettlebells a lot or if you are just not ready to fully commit adding them into your routine just yet, it’s all GOOD! The kettlebell gives you enough feedback to challenge you and light up the nervous system.
You can use kettlebells to get the body warm before going into a legit training session by focusing on enhancing mobility, posture, and technique.
Do a Full-Body Workout
Squat, hinge, push & pull. REPEAT. Chose those movement patterns and you’re set for a solid workout. Might even be one of those that brings you to the ground afterwards and you don’t know how you made it, but ya did.
If you’re wanting to work the kettlebell into your current training, set up a circuit that will get your heart rate up while enforcing good mechanics.
It’s no secret that the kettlebell is fiercely challenging. It’s also no secret that the kettlebell has a whole bunch of potential benefits from strength, weight loss, mobility, and endurance.
Improve Your Kettlebell Training at The BXNG Club!
Make sure to try a complimentary personal training session here to practice your kettlebell skills.