Build a Stronger Back with these 10 Kettlebell Row Variations

 

A strong back will take you far in life. While most people are out there focusing on their “mirror muscles” you’re doing your rows and building a healthy, resilient, muscular back. The row is a compound movement that hits your back, shoulders, arms and core. When programming rows it’s important to maintain a 2:1 (or even 3:1) ratio of pulling to pressing. This will help alleviate imbalances and specifically shoulder issues. A stronger front side because of years of pushing horizontally and vertically can lead to rounded shoulders and less than optimal posture which will eventually lead to pain. A strong back from top to bottom will help alleviate postural issues and create a solid foundation for heavier lifting. 

When it comes to pulling there are many implements you can use. Kettlebells offer an ergonomic advantage with their higher position than a dumbbell. The center of mass with a single base (as opposed to two sides of a dumbbell) makes it slightly...

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5 Kettlebell Mistakes and How to Fix Them

 

5 Kettlebell Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Just as with any tool the kettlebell can do some damage if they aren’t treated properly. Too many trainees see a picture or watch a couple of videos and give the kettlebell a whirl. The devil’s in the details with kettlebell training, but with many explosive kettlebell movements a few bad moves can be exponentially dangerous. 

Some mistakes are obvious and require a complete form overhaul while others are a bit more nuanced. Here are five of the biggest mistakes I see with kettlebell training and the easiest fixes to get you back on track.

1 - Back Pain with Swings 

Swings are a dynamic movement that require a hinge that already puts your back in potential danger and speed. Combining those two things with a client who doesn’t understand moving through tension.

The Fix: Increase intra-abdominal tension through diaphragmatic breathing

2 - Slamming Forearms with Cleans 

Cleans are one of the first movements...

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Can Kettlebells Build Muscle?

 
 
The question “can kettlebells build muscle” comes up almost weekly.
 
My answer?
 
Yes. End of article.
 
Ok, you might need a little more information than that.
 
Any modality can build muscle as long as there’s progressive intensity and volume combined with a caloric surplus and enough rest to facilitate growth. That goes for bodyweight training, dumbbells, barbells, sandbags, etc. As long as the muscle fibers are stimulated with enough weight for a long enough time you’re golden.
 
So why don’t we see huge kettlebellers?
 
There’s a few reasons here…
  1. Too much ballistic work with not enough weight
  2. Too many circuits that burn too many calories
  3. That’s not the goal for most
When I owned and operated a kettlebell-centric gym do you know how many people came in saying “I want to get huuuuuuuuge!” 
 
I can’t even remember one. 
 
The goals were always I want to...
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Flow State and Flow Workouts

 

By: Aaron Guyett, M.A., B.S., CSCS, FRCms, FRAs

Education Director and Master Coach 

So many people are talking about flow, and there is an equal amount of people that have zero clue what these flow-people are doing.

Turns out, many of the flow-people are just using yet another term that has been watered down and turned into whatever feels good at the time.

Person 1 - "Check out this flow that I am doing with the kettlebell." (performs cool sequence of fluid and dynamic movements with a kettlebell)

Person 2 - "I am so flowing right now." (Really into a video game)

Person 3 - "I am flowing." (Gives dog a treat...)

Let's break down what flow state is, and then we can begin to see how flow workouts began to exist in the fitness industry and the Gram (as in Instagram).

Flow State is a heightened state of arousal and focus, also know as being in the "zone."

If you have played sports or even been really into a creative craft or competition...you may have experienced flow state.

Let's...

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5 Single Leg Exercises for Strength and Athleticism

 
The squat, deadlift and Olympic lifts (or weightlifting if you’re a purist) have rightfully taken the spotlight in most training we can’t ignore the fact that single leg work is extremely powerful. 
 
For most trainers unilateral work is what you do during rehabilitation or as some accessory work to your main lift of the day and typically this works. The main problem lies when things become one size fits all and those who really shouldn’t be loading a bar are doing so from the advice from a well-intentioned coach. 
 
Back issues, lower body mobility, and imbalances can all lead to more serious ailments if ignored. Just because you’re going heavier and progressing with the “big lifts” doesn’t mean anything if you’re just becoming a more imbalanced lifter. Unilateral work is not only a way a good way to increase coordination and balance, but also strength while taking the pressure off the old spine.
 
When it...
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3 Ways to Avoid Kettlebell Injuries

If you train hard and push your body to the limits it’s almost impossible to avoid some form of microtrauma, but being smart about your training and kettlebell training will help you avoid MOST major injuries.
 
Most of the time the overuse of any movement pattern will eventually lead to potential repetitive use injuries. That goes for running, pushups, kettlebells work, or just about anything done with too much volume and intensity. 
 
It’s easy to get a little overzealous with a challenge that has a thousand attached to it. Thousands of swings, snatches, squats, (pick your poison) will definitely get you fitter, but at what cost? With just about everything you do you should be thinking about your athletic longevity. How can you move like an athlete as long as humanly possible. 
 
For me that means avoiding injury and here are three ways I like to assess and incorporate things to help me do just that.
  1. Always look at the Risk/Reward of...
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What Size Kettlebell?

 
What is a good starting weight for kettlebells?
 
So you’re sold on the idea that kettlebells can make you stronger. Welcome to the club. Now it’s time to pick a bell (or three) to add to your training arsenal. Here is what you should know before getting started with kettlebells.
 
It’s easy to get caught up in the "bigger is better" mentality and want to grab a few heavy bells. The truth is you want to master with full control each weight before moving on to the next. Certain movements will require heavier bells, but others will need almost excessively light ones especially as you start things off. 
 
The first thing you want to take into account is if you have any injuries or issues particularly when it comes to you shoulders, back, wrists, elbows, or hips. These areas tend to get aggravated quickly so you want be careful before trying too much. 
 
If there aren’t any serious pre-existing issues then let’s move onto the...
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A Kettlebell a Day Keeps the Weakness Away

 
Kettlebells have the uncanny ability of creating a stronger overall connection. They may not be the best for building maximal strength in certain areas compared to a barbell, but as a tool to create awareness, explosive power, connection and structural integrity of your entire system they really can’t be beat.
 
What you get is what you give and your results will be directly correlated to which movements you choose and how often you do them. The kettlebell already offers a set of unique benefits due to the anatomy of the bell. 
 
The offset nature forces more tension and increases the grip work needed which creates more stability through your upper extremities and shoulders. This is without doing anything other than maintaining a racked position (when the kettlebell is nestled between your forearm and bicep). In my opinion this is the best example of what delivers the “odd strength” you get from kettlebells. It’s not just pressing and...
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3 Ways to Improve Crossfit Results with Kettlebells

crossfit kettlebells May 28, 2019
 
Video above: Kettlebell Flow Demonstration discussed in #3
 
Most athletes play to their strengths and those doing WODs are no exception. Typically the focus is on the same few movements performed in a high intensity format with the goal being to demolish your time or that of your gym buddy. We believe there are some ways that you could incorporate kettlebells into your WODs to improve your all around results. 
 
In recent times many who were staunch Crossfit only athletes have started to evolve adding in active recovery work as well as joint healthy fun. However, as I have witnessed time and time again with many athletes there are still a huge sect of followers who perform the workouts from HQ to a T with little to no deviation or though of improvement. Here are three ways you can incorporate kettlebells into your burpees and double-unders that will make you a more resilient, well-rounded athlete and perform better in your WODs.
 
Kettlebell Addition #1:...
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3 Tips for Creating Your Own Program

 
The question “How do I put a program together?”  finds its way into my inbox at least a few times a week about kettlebell training. For benefits on kettlebell swings, check out this post!
 
The reality is there are THOUSANDS of programs around (most of these are just variations) and many (not all) of them work extremely well. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience that goes into creating programs and it obviously depends on the level of the user. Since these are typically in the form of Instagram DMs I’m going to assume these aren’t Olympic-level athletes. 
 
With that said, this post is going to help you do one of two things:
 
It’s is going to help you put together a basic program for yourself with kettlebells
 
or
 
It will help you decide on something that's already out there.
 
Here are the three things.
 
1. Know Your Outcome.
The problem with most programs is that they are a generic “one...
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