Kettlebell 101

Another weekend, another workshop! Today I attended a kettlebell basics workshop given by one of my old mountain biking friends who’s now a certified kettlebell instructor. I’ve been wanting to work with kettlebells more, but didn’t want to dive in too far without proper instruction on form.

This workshop was exactly what I needed.

Deadlifts: I currently do deadlifts with barbells. They’re fine, but if I only do deadlifts with barbells they start to get boring. We spent some time going over kettlebell deadlift form, foot placement, back engagement, angles, breathing. It was good to come away with a good checklist.

Goblet Squats: I liked these because they’re similar to front squats, but I don’t end up strangling myself with the bar. (That’s entirely my own deficiency, not a knock on front squats.) I pretty much have the mechanics down from years of squats in general, so this is an easy one to add to the rotation.

Kettlebell Swings: I’ve done these here and there, seen people do them well and not so well, watched countless instructional internet videos on how to do them, and read more than a few articles on proper form. All of that doesn’t even come close to having an instructor watch and critique you for several reps. I came away with a list of tips to keep in mind, as well as a much tighter feeling swing.

For posterity, my list, transferred from a sticky note:

  • Start with kettlebell in front, handles tilted toward you.
  • Don’t start in a squat, you should feel tension in your hamstrings.
  • First motion is a pull back.
  • Drive with hips, not arms. (This is the only knowledge I came in with.)
  • Exhale hard on the drive. (I intuitively knew this, but don’t always remember to do it.)
  • Stop driving when you’re in a straight up and down plank, everything tight. Don’t lean back.
  • Keep your body straight as the kettlebell comes back down. Don’t preemptively bend.
  • End with a gentle landing in front, same as the start. A lot of people get hurt because they do this part wrong.

Turkish Get-Ups: This is definitely not a kettle basic, but we were curious about it, so we went over the motion, then practiced just the first part of it without any weight. It was HARD! This will be a fun one to learn someday.

Is it kettlebell day yet?

Update 2019-01-20 @ 1:12 PM

Slow motion video analysis of your form? So valuable.

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