Troubleshooting The Turkish Get Up

The turkish get up is a move that, by comparison to some of the other kettlebell drills, is actually pretty easy to learn – one of the biggest issues seems to be figuring out the ‘proper’ way to do it.  Do a quick YouTube search and you’ll get hundreds of videos and dozens of different get up ‘styles’ – everyone seems to be doing it a little differently.

While I’m not convinced there’s one ‘right’ way to do a get up, breaking the movement down into steps does seem to make the learning process a lot easier.  Here’s one of the best YouTube videos I’ve found on doing  just that:

To re-iterate (I’ve broken it down to 10 steps although the video only mentions 5):

Step 1: Safely bring the kettlebell to the shoulder and press it up over the chest.

Step 2: Right knee comes up if the KB is being held in the right hand.

Step 3: ‘Punch’ towards the sky with the kettlebell.  Use your obliques on the right side and drive through the right heel for leverage.  As you can see in the video, the movement is more like a roll than a sit up.

Step 4: Continue the movement and come up to the left elbow.

Step 5: Straighten the left elbow.  The KB should now be at arms length in front of your body and the left arm should be straight – you’re resting on the left hand.  You should be able to hold this postion for a while if you’re doing it right.

Step 6: Pick the body up.  I like to do the RKC-style bridge here – but that’s not the version being done in this video.

Step 7: Swing the leg through.  Keep looking at the KB.

Step 8: Come up to a knee.  Go back and forth through these positions a few times while you’re practicing your form.

Step 9: Stand all the way up.

Step 10:  Reverse the entire movment and finish laying on the floor.

This is a great demo of how to do the turkish get up.  Breaking the movement down into steps is the best and fastest way to learn it – I know it helped me a lot when I was getting started.

Anthony DiLugo of is demoing the exercise – find out more about him on his website.  You can also check out his DVD’s and other info products on by clicking here: The Art of Strength:Providence.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter – just drop your name and email into the box in the upper right hand corner of the page.  You’ll get a free KB training video just for signing up! Quick Start Guide Contest Results and 50% Off Sale

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest … Issac and Trent have been randomly selected as the winners (I had my assistant randomly pick two entries to make it fair)!  I’ve sent both of you an email with a link to download your free copy of the product.

If you’d still like to grab a copy, the entire product package, including the Quick Start Guide, coaching mp3’s and bonus 10 minute workout report is currently on sale for $9.95 – 50% off the regular price!  This special promo pricing won’t last for long, so make sure to grab a copy ASAP.

Click HERE for more details and to order.

How To Fix Your Kettlebell Clean

One of the hardest basic kettlebell exercises to master is the kettlebell clean. Although you’re more than likely to end up with a sore forearm while you’re perfecting your form on this exercise, there are a few points you can focus on to improve your technique fast. Check out this video for three coaching tips:

Don’t forget: you’ve got until 11:59pm Sunday night, the 24th of January, 2010, to enter to win a free copy of the Quick Start Guide! It only takes a minute or two … click HERE to leave a comment and enter to win.

Win A Free Copy Of The New Quick Start Guide!

I’m really excited about this new kettlebell training manual … it’s been in the works for a while and it’s finally coming to fruition.  The Quick Start Guide is going to be released next Monday, January 25th, 2010 … it’s a guide I’ve put together to help you learn the basics of safe and effective kettlebell training.  It brings together all the ideas we’ve covered thus far here on – and obviously a lot more – into an instructional manual and workout guide.  Click HERE for a little more detailed info on the new product.

As an appreciation to the readers of this blog, I’m going to do a little contest: I’ll be giving away two free copies of the guide on the 25th.  The catch: just leave a comment on this post detailing your #1 problem or frustration with learning the basics of kettlebell training before 12am Monday morning.  That’s it!  Pretty simple way to get somethin’ for free … all I’ll ask is for a little feedback from the winners after they’ve reviewed the guide.

So leave a comment already and get yourself entered to win!

3 Tips For Building A Solid Kettlebell Routine

Whether you’re trying to evaluate a pre-designed kettlebell routine or you’re attempting to design one yourself, you’ve got to have a way to determine if it’s going to be effective for helping you reach your goals.  While there are a lot of factors that can make or break a kettlebell routine, a detailed plan, focus on great technique and emphasis on the basics are three things that are very important components of a solid kettlebell routine.

The number one thing when evaluating a kettlebell routine is to make sure it lays out a very specific and detailed plan.  What you don’t want to do is just randomly piece together workouts from this blog or any other source; you want a complete program, such as the one(s) found in Quick Start Guide.

Secondly, great technique is paramount. If you’re training with sloppy form, you’re not only shortchanging yourself on results, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk of injury.  Get some instruction, watch videos, study books (probably in that order of importance, too) to master the basics of safe and effective kettlebell training technique.

Lastly, focus on the basics.  You don’t need to be doing crecent swings or slingshots if you can’t do a basic swing or snatch; you truly can cover all of your major muscle groups by focusing exclusively on swings, get ups, clean and presses, squats, and snatches.

Having a specific and detailed plan, using great technique, and focusing on the basics are three of the most important things you can do when putting together or evaluating a kettlebell routine. If you want a guide to proper kettlebell training technique and a workout plan to go with it, check out Quick Start Guide.  I put this guide together to solve the basic problems that so many people have when getting started with kettlebells.  Keep training hard!

P.S. While you’re here, don’t forget to sign up for your free KB training video – drop your name and email in the box in the upper right hand corner of the page!

Kettlebell Swing Styles: A Quick Overview

If I do a Google search for ‘kettlebell swing’, I turn up with 923,000 results. A YouTube search comes up with 1,330. There’s a lot of information out there about how to do a kettlebell swing -and truth be told, there’s more than one ‘right’ way to do the exercise. I’ll cover three swing ‘styles’ in this post, and how each different style can be appropriate for specific fitness goals.

The first style I’ll cover is the hardstyle, or RKC swing. This is the swing style we teach here at This style, put most simply, focuses on power production, not power conservation. It’s for increased fitness, not competition. Here’s what the hardstyle swing looks like:

In contrast to the hardstyle swing is the competition style swing. I’m by no means an expert on this style – but the basic premise is that this swing is designed for endurance and energy conservation – not for maximum power production or even fitness. As you can see in the video below, this technique is very different than the hardstyle swing.  If you’re planning on competing in kettlebell lifting, this is the way to go:

The final swing variation is the ‘American’ swing or the CrossFit swing. This is a kind of ‘bastardized’ swing version that goes overhead instead of shoulder level like the hardstyle swing. I think you can run into some problems with this style; it’s easy to let the core go soft and it’s a lot easier to screw up! However, it’s true that the ‘bell does go through a larger range of motion, which could in theory let you get more work done in less time – thus increasing your power production. Here’s what it looks like:

There are quite a few different versions of the kettlebell swing. The bottom line is that each version we’ve talked about here can be useful for different goals – there’s no one ‘right’ way. If you’re going for improved power production and general fitness like fat loss and muslce gain, do the hardstyle swing. If you’re going to do competative kettlebell lifting, practice the competition style. I’m not really a huge fan of the CrossFit style swing – but it could have its uses. It’s up to you to decide the best method for you and your goals. Good luck and keep training hard!

5 Great Kettlebell Websites

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for cool new kettlebell websites to check out … here are five of my favorites you may not have heard of:

1. Straight to The Bar

The ‘home of all things strength’ – not necessarily a kettlebells only site, but has got lots of great articles and discussion on all styles of KB training.  Be sure to check out the forums.

2. World’s Strongest Librarian

Josh Hanagarne – the one and only World’s Strongest Librarian – is one all-around cool dude.  He’s a fellow RKC and a great writer – he blogs about everything from card tearing to tourette’s syndrome to KB training.  Head over and check out his blog.

3. Charm City Kettlebells

Sandy Sommer, RKC writes this blog – he’s all about kettlebell training, primal eating, and healthy living.  A solid all-around KB resource and good choice for a kettlebell instructor if you happen to be in the Baltimore, MD area.

4. Nathan’s Fitness and Russian Kettlebell Blog

A cool blog that’s updated daily about kettlebell training, powerlifting, and a whole lot more.  A great one if you’re into heavy lifting, no-nonsense training and all things strength.

5. The Actionaut

Blog of Philippe Till, RKC – he writes about kettlebells, primal living, and more.  He’s also the only ‘wildfit’ certified coach in the U.S.

These websites and blogs are some great KB training resources – and my guess is even if you’re in to kettlebells there’s at least one or two of them you haven’t heard of.  Any cool KB sites you like?  We’d love to hear about them!

If you liked this post, you’ll love our newsletter – sign up by popping your name and email address in the upper right hand corner of the page.  You’ll get a KB training video as a free gift!

The Kettlebell Squat

The kettlebell squat is an exercise essential to the mastery of kettlebell basics.  We’ll cover in this article what makes the kettlebell squat a killer exercise and the basics of how to perform it properly.

The mechanics of a kettlebell squat are a little unique; they differ slightly from, say, your traditional barbell back squat.  Let’s take a look at each exercise for a starting point:

The Barbell Back Squat

KB Front SquatThe Kettlebell Squat

A close examination of body mechanics and position in each of these photos shows the difference between the exercises.  Among other things, the placement of the weight in the front of the body allows the individual to keep the body more upright.  The bar placement on the upper back in a traditional barbell back squat allows for the use of a greater load, but it also increases stress on the spine and knees.  I’d go as far as to say the kettlebell squat is a superior exercise for your average person who lacks the flexibility, mobility, and core strength to perform a back squat with good form.

The movement is performed by sitting back like you’re sitting in a chair.  The back stays flat, the spine stays lengthened, and the chest stays tall.  Everyone is going to have a slightly different foot position, but a narrower stance than ‘typical’ is indicated.  Most people will do well between shoulder and hip width apart.

You can integrate this exercise into your routine a lot of different ways – as always, practice the movement and perfect your form before you start plugging it into your regular workouts.  Check out some past ‘workout’ articles on this blog for a few examples of how to work it into your routine.

The kettlebell squat is another one of the essential basic kettlebell drills.  It’s a superior choice to other forms of the squat for many people.  Take the time to learn the movement properly and you’ll be glad you did.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out Kettlebell Rx – it’s a video on how to correct three common kettlebell training mistakes.  And it’s yours free just for subscribing to the kettlebel basics newsletter!

New Training Video! Kettlebell Rx: Three Common KB Training Mistakes and How To Fix Them

I remember when I first started training with KB’s:  I had a lot of strength training experience, but the kettlebell was different than anything I’d ever trained with.  I was honestly surprised at the amount of technique involved.

One important thing to remember is that you have to take the time to learn proper technique with kettlebells before you really start seeing the benefits they can provide.  So I’ve created a video that goes over three super common technique problems and fixes.

I honestly think this video and the info in it will help you shorten the learning process considerably.  I go over troubleshooting the swing, the clean, and the snatch.

To get access to the video, just enter your name and email in the box up in the upper right hand corner of the page.  You’ll also get a free subscription to the Kettlebell Basics newsletter by signing up.  What could be better?  Sign up today to get on the fast track to fixing your beginner kettlebell training mistakes!