Build a powerful chest with kettlebells

 

A common complaint with most kettlebell programs is the absence of horizontal pressing. Sure you’ll get some push-ups, but who doesn’t love that feel of pushing weight away from you multiple times? 

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From a programming standpoint the lack of horizontal pressing is made up for in overhead pressing, but this can lead to imbalances. Chest presses aren’t just for the beach and mirror. It aids in your overall strength while building shoulder and triceps strength as well and putting more stress on bigger muscles like your chest. 

 

There are myriad tools you can use for chest exercises. At the end of the day a weight is a weight so anything that challenges you has the potential to build strength and size. With that said here are three movements specific to the kettlebell that offer unique benefits. At the end of this article there will be a chest workout you can incorporate into your...

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5 Ways to Get Stronger at Every Angle

kettlebells venus lau Sep 08, 2020
 

By: Venus Lau

Strength at every angle is a motto I train by because it’s truly the difference between the average gym goer and a high performance athlete… And I truly believe EVERYONE can elevate their fitness and move like a high performance athlete!

There are endless ways to get stronger at every angle but I’m doing to talk about 

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5 basic ways you can start with:

  1. TAKE ANY traditional exercise like a squat or lunge and EXPLORE DIFFERENT POSITIONS FOR THE FEET OR HANDS...  We all know front, reverse, and side lunges but I’m talking about changing the angle of the hips, slightly placing the foot 6 inches diagonally in ANY OTHER direction.  The challenge will be can you hold those new positions in full stable control?  Different is different even if it’s only 3 inches to the front or back.
  2. LOAD YOUR WEIGHT UNEVENLY… In the real world outside of a gym you rarely hold...
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5 Kettlebell Do's and Don'ts for Maximum Results

 

Kettlebells are still the new kid on the block in most big gyms. There are plenty of ellipticals and benches, dumbbells and mirrors, but still only a handful (a small rack if you’re lucky) of kettlebells. Even with ALL the information out there I’ll still see and hear some things being done with these versatile little cannonballs that make me shudder.

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What attracts most people to the kettlebell is its devious simplicity and how it can deliver incredible workouts in limited time just about anywhere. From complexes to flows and everything in between you can hit just about every muscle and movement pattern while adding a unique flavor to your sessions.

Here are a few things to avoid as you begin (or continue) your kettlebell journey and some ways to get the most from your training.

#1: Don’t figure it out on your own

The kettlebell is simple in nature and design, but delivers complex exercises. Cleans and...

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Kettlebells Versus Dumbbells

 

Why not just use dumbbells?

“If you can do it with a kettlebell you can do it with a dumbbell!”

I hear this all the time from people who have zero experience with a kettlebell and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Most tools have a time and place in your training depending on the goal. If you’re just going to do deadlifts, farmer walks, rows or just use the weight to prop a door open then sure, kettlebells and dumbbells offer the same thing. However, if you plan on using the kettlebell for the things that make a kettlebell unique, then no.

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Before you think that this is a dumbbell-bashing article and kettlebells are superior in every way, you’re right. End of discussion.

Seriously though the intention here is to shed some light on why kettlebells are unique to dumbbells and what you can do to get the most from each tool. Let’s take a look at the...

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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. Get free kettlebell workouts here!

The Fix: Increase intra-abdominal tension through diaphragmatic breathing

2 - Slamming Forearms with Cleans...

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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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