It’s hard to get too much practice in the basics of any skill or discipline. Kettlebell training included.
See, what often happens is that people move forward and try to progress in their practice before they’re actually ready. And out of this, all sorts of problems arise.
Today’s video covers the proper kettlebell rack position – something very basic, but also VERY critical to your ultimate training success. Check it out – I bet you’ll learn something new, even if you’ve been training with KB’s for a while:
This is a foundational kettlebell training skill that you MUST get down to get the most out of your training, and stay injury-free.
So, two ways you can get the kettlebell up to the rack position. Number one, you can do a clean, which we won’t cover in detail in this video. Or, if you are just getting started, what I recommend you do is what we call a “cheat curl”. Grab your ‘bell, and simply cheat curl it up to your shoulder.
Now what we are going to cover is the rack position. What we have here are three checkpoints. My thumb is touching my collarbone, my forearm is straight up and down, and the kettlebell is touching the forearm and the upper arm. My shoulder is nice and square, I have a little tension in the glutes, a little tension in the abs and the ‘bell is close in to the body. It isn’t out in what we call the broken arm position. It’s like I’m blocking a punch and the elbow is closer to the frame. So this is what we need to get a solid base for doing our pressing or doing something like a windmill that’s how we’ll get the ‘bell up there. Even sometimes if we’re going to do snatches that’s where we might start. You can even do Turkish get ups and do presses from different positions in the get up. But it all starts with getting a good rack position.
So hopefully that’s helpful for you in getting into proper kettlebell rack position. Practice that and get a feel for it before you move and start doing cleans or other exercises.
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The other day, one of my private training clients, let’s call him “Ben”, came to me with a gripe.
He LOVED the results he has been getting from our kettlebell workouts. But his complaint was that we were doing too much of the same thing. We have been working on the same routine for about three weeks, and he was getting a little bored.
Now, as a fitness professional, I know what is best for Ben and his goals – and that is to stick with the same program framework for at least a couple more weeks. He has been making progress, and has not hit a plateau, so there is no reason to switch things up. He just needs to get tough 🙂
BUT – I also am very careful to listen to my clients, and I want to do my best to keep them happy, having fun, etc. So we decided to introduce some of what Pavel calls “same-but-different” programming into the mix. We stuck with the same basic workout framework, but did variations of some of our exercises to change things up and keep them interesting. This was a great solution for Ben. He started enjoying his workouts again, and in fact started making even FASTER progress because of it!!
For this approach to work though, you have to do it in a very specific way. You can’t just go substituting exercises willy-nilly. You have do switch out and progress to moves that are “same-but-different”.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that your workout calls for a kettlebell press. What you can do is different versions of this press.
So let’s say that the first day of your routine calls for a double kettlebell press. You’re doing your double press as part of a superset or by itself or whatever. There are all kinds of variations you can do of those presses.
One variation is an alternating press.
You can do alternating double kettlebell presses.
You can also do, for example, a see-saw press. That’s where you take both of your ‘bells and one is coming down and the other one is getting pressed up. That’s one of my favorite press variations right there. That’s a tough one.
Another option is a walking see-saw press. So you do that see-saw press but you take a small step forward, press on the right, take a small step forward and press on the left. Repeat that for reps.
You can use this concept with MANY exercises.
Another good example is with kettlebell swings. You could be doing two handed swings, one hand swings and hand-to-hand swings.
You can do it with body weight exercises. For example you can do squat thrusts which is like a burpee without a push up or a jump. You could do a burpee without the push up. You can do a burpee with a push up.
This simple concept can make a HUGE difference in your training. I use it in my personal workout planning as well as with my training clients on a daily basis, and it works great. I hope you can dig it and work it in to your programming to see some increased results!
I just shot a quick video for you with some new and unique kettlebell partner workout exercises to try. These will straight-up smoke you out – and I’m willing to bet that you’ve never tried doing these exercises – in this exact way – EVER before.
Whether you are training by yourself or with someone else, you’ll get a killer workout using these combos. And they are a great example of how you can combine relatively simple and basic kettlebell exercises to continually change up your workouts and keep them exciting and fresh.
And remember, you’ll get LOTS more kettlebell partner workouts like these (156 over the next year, to be exact), when you take advantage of the special offer going this week on the new-for-2013 FVT Coaching Club. Don’t miss it. Check it out here:
So I am always preaching about the benefits of sticking with the same workout plan for a period of time, and not changing things up too often. However, I also am fully aware of the potential resistance to this concept. That you probably want to change your workouts up frequently and keep them interesting, for the sake of fun and variety if nothing else.
In the video below, I cover the best solution to this problem. This is the approach we take in my Sacramento, CA boot camp classes, and it works great. Check it out:
Today I want to talk to you about how to keep your body weight and kettlebell workouts interesting, and also continue making progress.
So with this question, a lot of trainers will tell you that you don’t want to do the same thing over and over because your body will adapt and then you’ll stop making progress. This is true … but on the other hand, you can also go overboard with this. If you change your workout every day, every single time and do something completely different with no rhyme or reason…that’s actually bad. That gives you no chance to, for example, progress on a certain exercise. You can’t see if your kettlebell swings are getting better, or if your technique is improving. You can’t see if you can do more pull ups. You can’t see if your squat poundage is improving, or whatever you are working on.
So what we actually do in the boot camps at my training studio in Sacramento, to keep our body weight and kettlebell workouts interesting, is we will change the workouts up frequently, but we also have a theme that we work with each day. For example. In any given week, we’ll alternate between a strength based day where we do heavier lifting (although we usually still have some sort of cardio element). We’re lifting heavier weights to focus on building strength those days. We’ll alternate that with a conditioning day where we are doing more body weight based movements, we’re keeping the heart rate up the entire time, we’re incorporating running, stuff like that. We’ll alternate back and forth so that, number one, people can train every day. Number two, we have sort of a general theme we’re working with but it still allows you to keep making progress over time, getting better at certain exercises and working towards a specific goal.
I hope that helps you with keeping your body weight and kettlebell workouts interesting, and also continuing to make progress over time!
PS – If you liked this video and article, stay tuned for some exciting stuff. I’ve come up with a way to give you several brand new high-intensity, 30-minutes-or-less, do-anywhere FVT workouts that you can use yourself, with your training clients, boot campers, etc. – every single WEEK – at a super low cost. I’m pumped about it 😉 Talk soon!
If you’ve been lifting kettlebells for awhile, it’s likely that you’re familiar with one form or another of the snatch test.
The kettlebell snatch is one of the premier kettlebell exercises. It’s tested in Girevoy Sport (GS)as one of the main lifts. It’s also one of my favorites.
Lots of beginners want to move into it quickly. But it is quite a bit more technical than the swing, which is it’s foundation. I recommend that you spend a few months of consistent work building your technique and foundation with the swing before moving onto the snatch.
That doesn’t mean you can’t practice the snatch. Far from it. But a good foundation should be in place before you pursue snatching at a higher level, which any form of the snatch test will do.
So let’s talk about different forms of the kettlebell snatch test.
In GS you are allowed a single hand switch over a span of ten minutes and attempt to get as many reps as possible.
The limitation here will almost always be the grip and it becomes very technical as you work to spare the hands from the weight as much as possible. Because of this the technique is done in as relaxed of a manner as possible and is often quite slow, with time spend waiting in the lockout.
Great for a sport, but I don’t think it’s the best thing for the average person since its requirements are quite specific.
USSS Snatch Test (Multiple Hand Switches)
That stands for the United States Secret Service Snatch Test, as that’s how this form first came into popularity. I don’t know if many people call it that anymore, but it was a big thing when kettlebells first became popular.
In Pavel’s Enter the Kettlebell, its still one part of the Rite of Passage. For a man you need to work up to 200 reps in 10 minutes with a 24kg kettlebell.
The difference between this and the GS test is that multiple hand switches are allowed. You can even set the kettlebell down and rest. But once the clock starts it runs, and here again you go for 10 minutes.
Often times for people the hands will still be the weak point. But here the focus is more on speed and conditioning.
I made it my goal to break 300 reps on this which is almost as fast as possible the full time. Some people say I wasn’t locking out every rep so it doesn’t count, but no matter how you cut it, the endurance needed for this is crazy.
Higher or Lower Minutes
Just because the main time frame used is 10 minutes doesn’t mean you can’t change that up.
I will tell you a five minute test feels like nothing compared to ten. Those second five minutes are the really hard ones. This will make it less of a test of endurance and generally more of speed.
You can also go longer. I haven’t done this one much, as 10 minutes of the same thing is about the limit of what I want to concentrate on before I get bored. This of course would make it more of an endurance game and less one of speed.
Beast Snatch Test
The typical weight for men is 24kg. If you’re competing in GS men will have to work up to 32kg to compete at the elite levels. For women its usually a 12kg bell or something a little higher.
There is a version of the USSS Snatch Test done with the 32kg for guys. This is brutal. In the near future I plan to beat 200 reps in this. But lets take it even further.
Snatch tests are not typically done with heavier weights. But I want to change that and issue a challenge out to anyone reading this.
By heavy for men I mean 48kg aka The Beast. That is the heaviest kettlebell I own though, if you have heavier you can go for it too. For women I propose a 32kg kettlebell.
Once again the time frame is 10 minutes. Of course this will have to be built up to. (So will snatching the beast for most. I remember many years ago how happy I was when I snatched the beast for the first time ever.) This is done in multiple hand switch, and rest allowed, style.
Here is my first attempt at a 5 minute version of this test. I managed 34 reps in this time. My goal in the future is to break 100 reps in a 10 minute time frame so I have a little ways to go.
For this I propose some small changes to how snatches are usually done. Since the weight is quite a bit heavier you’ll likely end up with some dip at the lockout, especially in later reps. This is fine, as long as it gets locked out overhead, and you stand up fully with it.
Secondly, because it’s a heavy weight, and the potential for injury is higher, as the weight can pull you out of place, instead of bringing it all the way done from the top, the kettlebell can be lowered to the shoulder, swung down and then snatched again. You’ll have to figure out the pacing that works for you best on this one as it will certainly be different than the other kettlebells.
Logan Christopher has been called a physical culture renaissance man for his wide range of abilities in strength and fitness. One of his specialities is kettlebells in doing the snatch, and his favorite, kettlebell juggling. But that’s only a small part of what he does which includes bodyweight training, heavy lifting and feats of strength. Check out Legendary Strength for more ideas and signup to receive 5 special reports as your free gift.
I am SO sick of people making this training mistake. It could very well be the #1 cause of kettlebell training injury.
If anyone made this crucial error at the RKC – which, unfortunately, they did 😉 – our chief instructor made us ALL do 50 penalty burpees.
Although the burpees sucked, I think it was a good idea. Because you can really injure yourself doing this. And it’s so easily avoided. Watch the video below to see what it is:
Today I’m going to cover something pretty basic but very important and that is how to pick up a kettlebell, or any kind of weight for that matter, up off the ground. Now this is like if you are shifting the ‘bell off the ground, or if you are moving it around to get ready for your set.
What happens all the time with new people in our boot camps is they go to pick up the ‘bell and while they are focused on using good form during the set, they are moving the kettlebell around and getting all sloppy and being totally careless moving the weight around between sets.
So anytime you pick up the KB, make sure that you have a nice flat back, use good form like you are doing a deadlift. It might seem like a small thing, but I can tell you from personal experience that the only time I’ve actually tweaked my back with kettlebells was between sets and moving a heavy ‘bell while being careless.
So that’s a basic tip for you, but is really important for long term safety when doing kettlebell training.
Okay. Quick, simple, but CRITICAL tip to keep your KB training safe for the long haul. Train hard, and talk soon –
PS – If you liked this video, please share it with your family and friends! And – if you haven’t grabbed your free copy of my Beginner’s Guide to KB Training – make sure to do it now by dropping your best email address into the box at the upper right of the page.