Training with kettlebells provides many benefits whether its fat loss, increased muscle tone, rehab from an injury, or performance enhancement. With its compact size, you can take it pretty much anywhere to train. It’s a great tool that I use with pretty much everyone that I train including myself. Here are some tips I think you should know when training with the kettlebell.
Get screened first.
I think this is probably the most overlooked piece in the personal training, strength & conditioning, and rehab world. I personally use the Functional Movement Screen with every person that walks in the door. It’s quick, efficient, measureable, and it allows me to know which movement patterns may inhibit your training. When pain, asymmetries, and inefficient movement patterns are present, your training will suffer.
Learn to Hip Hinge and Deadlift First.
These two are prerequisite skills needed for the basic movements in kettlebell training. The hip hinge is preceded by a deadlift and then to the swing. The hip hinge and deadlift, when done correctly, will enhance your swing and other skills. Far too many times I see this important step skipped in favor of swinging and more advanced skills.
Spend Lots of Time in the Beginning with Swings and Get Ups.
If I had to train for my level 1 certification all over again, I would have spent more time doing swings and get ups. Spending more time swinging, especially heavy one arm swings, would have made my snatch training and test a whole lot easier. Like skipping hip hinging and deadlifting, pulling the trigger too soon on more advanced skills before dialing in your swing will make things tougher. The get up on the other hand offers many benefits including shoulder mobility and stability, all prerequisites for good kettlebell training. A great product that I would recommend after learning your skills is Kettlebell – Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline.
Master the Big 6.
These are your swings, get ups, clean, military press, squat (goblet or front), and snatch.
Learn from a SFG Certified Instructor.
If possible, learn how to use the kettlebell by learning from an SFG kettlebell instructor. StrongFirst is the gold standard for kettlbell training in the industry. Learning from an SFG kettlebell instructor will ensure the proper development and progression of skills while minimizing the chance of injury.
Again, the kettlebell can be a great tool to help anybody with their goals. Take your time and learn the basics.