The Kettlebell Snatch is one of the trickiest basic kettlebell exercises to learn.
The Kettlebell Snatch is one of the trickiest kettlebell exercises to learn …
Check out this quick video for a technique drill that’ll help improve your form and prevent the dreaded ‘forearm slap’:
To review, you’ll do:
3 One Arm Swings
3 Low Pulls
3 High Pulls
The idea is to get the kettlebell to ‘float’ for a second at the top of the High Pull movement, and then to get the hand around the ‘bell – vs. just letting the KB come over the top of your hand and smack you on the wrist. Give this drill a try and see if it improves your form in the Kettlebell Snatch – and keep training hard!!
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For one of my first kettlebell workouts ever, a local RKC put me through a short warm up of Wall Squats, ‘Pumps’, and Halos, and then what felt like 20 sets each of Swings and Turkish Get Ups – a textbook workout from Pavels’s Enter The Kettlebell. I thought I was in pretty good shape going in – but this seemingly simple workout left me totally spent.
So as I finished off my last set of Swings and got ready to retreat to the locker room to collect my thoughts (and settle my stomach), my trainer had a surprise ‘finisher’ up his sleve: Tabata Kettlebell Thrusters.
I grabbed what seemed like a pair of light kettlebells – a pair of 12k’s – and did many Thrusters as I could in 20 seconds, rested for 10, and repeated this eight times. And this four minute finisher put me over the top; every muscle in my body was toast – and my stomach was, for lack of a better term, now unsettled 🙂
While I don’t recommend doing the Tabata Protocol with Kettlebell Thrusters the very first time you try them, it’s a great total body move to add to your kettlebell exercise arsenal. The Kettlebell Thruster is simply a Kettlebell Squat combined with a Kettlebell Press (the name ‘Thruster’ was coined by the folks over at CrossFit).
To perform the Kettlebell Thruster, start by doing a Kettlebell Squat (check out the full post on how to do the Kettlebell Squat here) and go directly into a Kettlebell Press. The exercise can be done with one or two ‘bells; this video shows how to do the single KB version:
One of the keys to doing the movement efficiently is to keep the elbows tight to the body – this will help with getting the momentum generated by explosively extending the hips to be transferred to the ‘bells effectively and efficiently. Also, there should be no rotation of the kettlebell at the top. Keep the hands facing each other at all times. This makes for a much more efficient movement.
You can add this exercise as a finisher-type of move (like I did in the workout described above), as a stand-alone exercise, or as part of a circuit.
The Kettlebell Thruster combines two basic kettlebell moves – the Squat and the Press – for a killer total-body metabolic challenge. Take your time to learn the Kettlebell Thruster properly and start building it into your kettlebell workouts ASAP for improved strength, power, and conditioning!
Train hard and train smart
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My feeling is that, aside from in-person instruction, video is one of the best ways to learn new kettlebell exercises and perfect your form. Different people learn best through different mediums, but learning with video is great because you can actually see someone performing the movement correctly in action, vs. just relying on written description or pictures.
Here are five unique kettlebell exercise videos for ‘ya – remember, mastering the basic moves – the Swing, Get Up, Squat, Clean, Press, and Snatch – should come before you move on to more advanced exercises. But these are great to add into your routine as your training progresses to that next level:
The Cross Legged Kettlebell Press
Here’s a unique one demonstrated by Anthony Dilugio. Crossing your legs helps you keep your back flat while doing seated presses.
Again, mastering the basics of kettlebell training should come before trying these moves – if you need a basic, comprehensive guide (that now includes video corrections for each of the basic kettlebell exercises), make sure to check out my KettlebellBasics.net Quick Start Guide here:
I keep getting emails asking about what one of my kettlebell boot camp workouts actually looks like. So I thought that, from the standpoint of helping you put your own workouts together, I would walk you through a typical day:
2. Then we move on to a ‘strength circuit’ – this is sometimes kettlebells only, sometimes kettlebells and body weight or dumbbell exercises mixed together. It’s usually a combo of two exercises, performed for a specific amount of reps each and rotated back and forth for 5 minutes non-stop. This is a great set up that allows folks of various fitness levels to all get a great workout in a group setting. Here’s a video of one of my favorite combos (this is actually a sample video from a brand new workout program I have out – I’ll give you more details about it at the end of this post):
3. Then, we do two ‘conditioning circuits’ – this might be something like:
10 Kettlebell Squat Cleans
5 Kettlebell ‘Renegade Rows’ each side
10 Walking Overhead Kettlebell Lunges
And we’ll run through these sequences in the same fashion as many times as we can for 7-10 minutes.
4. I then take about 5 minutes to do core and/or corrective work – Planks, Hip Bridges, stuff like that.
5. To finish, we do a simple static stretch at the end.
In 45 minutes you get resistance training, conditioning work, core work, exercises for injury prevention, and flexibility – and that’s tough to beat 🙂
That’s the structure of a typical kettlebell boot camp workout at Forest Vance Training, Inc. Hope that helps you design your own boot camp workouts in the future!
Oh, and the video above is from my new 30 Day Rapid Fat Loss Challenge total transformation plan … if you’re trying to lose body fat, it’s for sure at least worth checking out. Heck, I’m giving away bonuses with it for the next few days (3 days to be exact) that are worth more than the actual product, including a free copy of the KettlebellBasics.net Quick Start Guide … and on top of that, the package is over 50% off. Get the details here:
The Turkish Get Up is a tricky movement … but it’s one of the foundational kettlebell exercises, and it’s essential that you perfect it if you want to get the most out of your kettlebell training. In the experience I’ve had over the last several thousand kettlebell-based personal training sessions, here are three tips that will help you ‘iron out the kinks’, so to speak:
1. Don’t sit up to start the movement – roll instead
‘Punch’ up towards the ceiling while rolling on to the elbow at the same time to get yourself off the floor. This small detail makes getting up so much easier – and it’s how the exercise is supposed to be performed.
2. Learn the first half first
The best way to learn the Get Up is by learning the first half of the movement; if you try to stand all the way up from day one, you’re going to make things a lot harder on yourself. Just come up to where your down arm is locked out and is supporting your weight, and then return to the ground. You can actually get a lot of milage out of the movement by just practicing the first half; here’s how to perform the half Get Up:
3. Do a sideways Windmill to stand up
As you bring the foot through and go to your lunge position, aim to get your knee close to your hand – then do a sideways Windmill to stand up. Don’t sit back on your hand – this is a very common mistake.
These tips might be a little hard to visualize – see if you can pick out what I’m talking about as I go through the movement in this video:
Apply these Turkish Get Up tips to your kettlebell training today and I know you’ll see some fast improvements. And keep training hard!
P.S. Kettlebells From The Ground Up by Master RKC Brett Jones and world-renowned physical therapist Grey Cook is a fantastic resource if you’re looking to really master the Turkish Get Up and get everything you can out of it – you can check out a recent review I did of the product here:
However, double kettlebell training can take your workouts to a whole new level. As I mentioned in this post on Return of the Kettlebell by Pavel, double kettlebell training gives you a whole lot more ‘metabolic whallop’ for your buck. It’s also great for putting on muscle – moving more weight stimulates more muscle.
In this article, I’m going to give a quick overview of five ‘basic’ double kettlebell exercises: The Double Swing, the Double Clean, the Double Press, the Double Squat, and the Double Snatch. Next time, I’ll give you a couple of double kettlebell sample workouts you can try.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but mastering the basic kettlebell exercises with one kettlebell should come before trying to learn them using two. Make sure to read through the archives of this blog for technique and workout tips if you’re still looking to get the basic exercises down.
The Double Swing
The mechanics of the Double Swing are identical to the single kettlebell Swing, with a couple of exceptions:
1. You’ll have to take a slightly wider stance than you would with a ‘normal’ Swing to get the kettlebells to clear your legs.
2. Turn the handles in slightly as you bring the kettlebells down and back to pre-load the external rotators
Here’s a video demo of the standard Swing to review:
The Double Clean
The Double Clean is, like the Double Swing, very similar to its single-kettlebell counterpart. You’ll simply clean both kettlebells at the same time up to the shoulder. Also, same as the Double Swing, make sure to internally rotate the kettlebell handles to pre-load the external rotators as they come down and are hike-passed between the legs.
The Double Press
Same mechanics as the single-arm Press. Here you’ll just be working with more weight total, and actually be more balanced during the press.
Here’s a good video demonstration of the Double Kettlebell Clean and Press:
The Double Squat
The Double Squat is actually a good sub for a traditional Barbell Front Squat. It’s a lot easier on the wrists and is pretty darn challenging – a double front squat with a pair of 32k’s will challenge even a strong man.
Here’s what the Double Kettlebell Squat looks like:
The Double Snatch
This one is a little tricky, largely because of the weight of two kettlebells is going to have the tendency to pull you down. In many instances, you’ll be snatching upwards of half your entire body weight. So, what you want to do is snatch the kettlebells up above your head, and then bring them down to your shoulders before you snatch them back up.
Here’s a video that does a good job of explaining the Double Swing to Double Snatch progression:
There you have the basic five double kettlebell exercises: The Swing, Clean, Press, Squat and Snatch. Next time, I’ll outline a couple of sample double kettlebell workouts for you. Keep training hard!!
P.S.S. One thing about double kettlebell training: You’ll probably need to order more kettlebells 🙂 As you know, I personally use and highly recommend Dragon Door kettlebells – check out this post if you want to know why
P.S.S.S. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on all the latest from KettlebellBasics.net (and to get first word of the next post in this series) – just drop your name and email into the box at the upper right of the page
The importance of a proper hip crease during the Swing
Why you should feel like you’re hike passing the KB back during the ‘bell’s decent phase
How to ‘lock in’ your upper body throughout the exercise
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The Swing is a movement that can almost always be refined. I’ve said this many times before, but mastery of the other basic balistic kettlebell moves (like the Clean and Snatch) all starts with the Swing. In this video with Senior RKC David Whitley and RKC Matt McBryde, you’ll learn:
Background and history of the kettlebell
Why ‘cushy’ shoes are a no-no for your kettlebell training
How to learn the ‘hip hinge’ and the proper swing movement pattern from the KB deadlift
For the forth installment of the Kettlebell Basics Combo series … The Super Full Body Attack!!
This one is really just a single exercise, but I’m calling it a combo because it’s a bunch of kettlebell moves all mixed together … it’s truly a smoker. I challenge you to find a muscle group in your body that this exercise doesn’t work.
Here’s the video:
Start this one in a standing position with the kettlebells about six inches in front of you. The first trick is to make sure the KB handles are placed in such a way that your palms can face each other when you jump back to your Push Up.
Jump your feet back to a Push Up position – like a Burpee. Do a Push Up. Now, jump the feet forward in one motion and make sure your feet land outside of the kettlebell handles.
Clean the ‘bells up, do a Front Squat, and move straight from the Front Squat to an Overhead Press. Rack the KB’s, return them to the ground and you’ve done one rep.
For a quick, incredibly tough full body blast, do 50 of these for time. You must pay very close attention to your form with this combo. Especially as the rep count starts to climb, your form can easily break down.
If you’re just starting out, you can of course scale the workout down and do maybe half the amount of reps. You could also do more if 50 is too easy.
(BTW, I got the idea for this one from the ‘original’ full body attack – I’ve just added a Push Up and Front Squat to make it tougher.)
Here’s a video of the original for reference:
That’s it for kettlebell basics combo #4! Enjoy and keep training hard.
Still strugling to learn the basics of kettlebell training? Your first move is to read through the archives and check out the videos on this blog – there’s a ton of great info here. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, and you’ll get a free Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training – you can do that by simply inputing your name and email into the form at the upper right of the page. For a more complete and in-depth guide that teaches you basic kettlebell exercises and workouts, check out my KettlebellBasics.net Quick Start Guide. And last but not least, visit the recommended resources page of this blog to order kettlebells and all the other stuff you need to make your kettlebell training a great experience!
Kettlebell Basics Combo #3 incorporates four basic kettlebell drills into a giant circuit: Clean and Presses, Snatches, Goblet Squats, and Hand to Hand Swings.
To complete the circuit, you’ll perform 2 Clean and Presses on each side, 4 Snatches on each side, 12 Goblet Squats, and 16 Hand to Hand Swings. Repeat this circuit 5 times for an amazing, efficient, full-body-blasting workout!
Don’t forget: You can get free access to the Kettlebell Rx video and a free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training by signing up for our newsletter! Just drop your name and email into the box at the upper right of the page.