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Kettlebell Exercises Made Easy


Kettlebell Exercises Made Easy

These five basic kettlebell exercises and circuits will help you gain strength, burn fat, and improve your athleticism.

Many athletes have recently begun to include kettlebells in their daily training regimens to improve their explosiveness, gain strength, and increase their work capacity. While kettlebells can be traced backed to early Russian history, they have become a part of Amercan training culture in the last 10 years. The kettlebell is a great tool to train “triple extension”, extension through the ankle, knee, and hip which is what is being trained in the Olympic lifts (likes cleans and snatches) as well. Additionally, kettlebell training targets grip strength and shoulder strength and can be a great tool to improve your core. So how can you incorporate kettlebell training into your workout? These 5 basic kettlebell movements, and circuits, should provide you with a great starting point to build muscle and burn fat.

2 Arm Kettlebell Swing

The 2 arm swing is the most basic of all the kettlebell movements and one which every other movement will play off of. To begin, place both hands on the handle of the kettlebell and let it hangs down between your legs with you feet hip width apart. Next bend your knees and drop your hips back so you are in a squatting position. The next part is the swing. It’s important to remember that the swing is created by extending your ankle and knees while popping your hips, as opposed to being created by throwing the kettlebell with your arms. Your arms should stay straight and extended while swinging the kettlebell and the height of the kettlebell should come to eye level. As the kettlebell travels back down on the swing it is important to bend at the knees and drop the hips to return your body into the starting position in order to start another swing. Your back should be kept in a tight and flat position at all times throughout the swing.

1 Arm Kettlebell Swing

All of the swinging motions with the kettlebell require you to perform triple extension. So each starting position should be the same. The only difference in the starting position between the 2 arm swing and the 1 arm swing is that you’re holding the kettlebell with only 1 hand. Make sure your knees are bent and you drop your hips into a squatting position with the kettlebell hanging between your legs. From there follow the same swinging procedures as were described in the 2 arm kettlebell swing.

1 Arm Kettlebell Clean and Jerk

Now that you’ve mastered the swinging phase of kettlebell training, you can begin transition into swinging and catching. The kettlebell clean in jerk is performed 1 arm at a time. The starting position is the exact same as the 1 arm kettlebell swing. As you extend and swing the kettlebell, you’ll transition the weight into a flip over your wrist. Keep the kettlebell close to your body to limit the backflip onto your wrist and as you flip the weight over your wrist, bend at the knees to catch the kettlebell (exactly like you would if catching a clean with and Olympic Bar). After you’ve caught it and it’s resting on your shoulder, immediately bend your knees, drop your hips, and drive the kettlebell overhead until your arm is extended. To begin another rep, simply return the weight to the starting position between your legs and perform again.

1 Arm Kettlebell High Pull

The starting position for the 1 arm high pull is the same as the 1 arm swing. The swinging motion is exactly the same as the 1 arm swing, with one minor difference. Instead of keeping the arm straight and extended out in front of you like in the 1 arm swing, you will now bend the arm and bring the kettlebell towards your face. As the weight moves upward in the swing motion, you’ll bend your arm and lead the kettlebell with your elbow pointed up. The weight will end up right on the side of your face with your elbow pointed high. To complete another rep, simply return the kettlebell between your legs and perform again.

1 Arm Kettlebell Snatch

The 1 arm snatch starting position is exactly the same as the high pull position. As you being the swinging motion, think of leading with the elbow again as you did in the high pull. As you extend your hips and bring the kettlebell towards your face with the elbow high, while keeping the weight close to your body, punch your arm through so that it is extended straight overhead with the kettlebell in the flipped over position. It is important to keep the weight close to your body to protect the shoulder.

There are a couple of different ways to include these basic kettlebell exercises into your training. The first is to set up a traditional set and rep scheme of 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. If you have kettlebells of increasing weight, then this is a great way to go. However, if you only have a limited number of kettlebells, then you can incorporate them into a circuit. Here are two different circuits utilizing all five of the swings we just explained.

Circuit 1:

2 arm KB swings -1 minute
Stationary bike -1 minute
1 arm KB swings- 1 minute (Right arm)
Stationary bike -1 minute
1 arm KB swings -1 minute (Left arm)
Stationary bike- 1 minute
1 arm KB clean and jerk- 1 minute (Right arm)
Stationary bike- 1 minute
1 arm KB clean and jerk- 1 minute (Left arm)
Stationary bike- 1 minute
1 arm KB high pulls- 1 minute (Right arm)
Stationary bike- 1 minute
1 arm KB high pulls- 1 minute (Left arm)
Stationary bike- 1 minute
1 arm KB snatch- 1 minute (Right arm)
Stationary bike- 1 minute
1 arm KB snatch- 1 minute (Left arm)
Stationary bike -1 minute

Circuit 2:

Right arm
1 arm swing- 6 reps
1 arm clean and jerk- 6 reps
1 arm high pull- 6 reps
1 arm snatch- 6 reps

Left arm
1 arm swing- 6 reps
1 arm clean and jerk- 6 reps
1 arm high pull- 6 reps
1 arm snatch- 6 reps

The reps and exercises in circuit 2 should be performed with good technique and speed. Once the circuit starts to become easy, increase the number of reps for each exercise. Perform 3 sets with 2-3 minutes of rest time between sets and you'll quickly be able to build muscle, burn fat, and improve your athletic performance.

To improve your recovery after kettlebell workouts, 1R would recommend the following supplements:

  1. Cytosport L-Glutamine - Needed for immune system support, energy production, and the building and protection of the lean muscle mass when stress is increased on the body
  2. Gaspari IntraPro - This post workout protein shake that's loaded with BCAAs, L-Glutamine, and Taurine, will help you recover, and build lean muscle, faster after workouts
  3. Optimum Nutrition BCAA 5000 Powder – Adding this product to your pre or post-workout routine will help build lean muscle mass, increase protein synthesis, and improve energy levels

 



06 / 06 / 2017 1R