What's happening, Fringe Fam?! We're here with the strong and beastly LP and Travon today to walk you through three different movements you can perform with a kettlebell for a full body workout. These movements require a single bell at minimum, but can take the addition of a second bell for more challenge if you're already an expert. Make sure you head over to our Instagram page and watch our story for a super secret deal today only!! (11/11/21)
Let's break 'em down.
The kettlebell swing is something that usually takes time and practice for most to understand fully and perform well because there are many moving parts to a successful kettlebell swing.
The first thing to think about when doing kettlebell swings is keeping a flat back. There's nothing worse for your spine or back muscles than a rounded, loose back. Make sure your back stays flat and tight through the entire movement, no matter what.
To begin, your feet should be about shoulder width apart and your toes pointed outward ever so slightly. You'll hinge over, which means you'll keep just a slight bend in your knees and bring your hips back as if you were trying to booty bump someone behind you (or trying to hit a wall with your behind, lol).
As you get ready to begin, grab the kettlebell between your feet, or slightly in front of your toes. The latter eliminates the need to deadlift the bell (which is just extra work) to begin swinging and puts you into a position to pull back on the kettlebell, bring it through your hips, and start swinging right away.
Bring the kettlebell back behind your hips and as close to your legs as possible, while making sure that your chest and shoulders do NOT reach parallel with your hips. You should always have a little bit of an angle between your hips and your chest at the bottom of the swing, otherwise you're bringing the kettlebell too far back and your chest too far down.
Then, make sure your hips are driving the kettlebell back up in front of you, and your arms are just along for the ride. For a Russian swing, stop the bell at eye level. An American swing calls for bringing the bell all the way overhead, but we could argue that if you're able to do that, you should up the weight and stick with Russian swings for the most benefit.
Keep a straight, flat back, tight core, and squeeze your glutes at the top. Et voile, a kettlebell swing for your movement arsenal and working your posterior chain.
So, let's work the anterior chain with some kettlebell goblet squats. These are absolute MONEY for working on core and quad strength. Plus, they sometimes feel like cardio if you find the right combination of reps and weight.
To start, the set-up is going to look really similarly to the kettlebell swing. Feet should be shoulder-width-ish apart (or wherever is most comfortable for you and your body), toes turned out slightly. The kettlebell should start in between your feet for these, and not in front like a swing.
Next, grab onto the bell on each side of the horns, deadlift it up, and use some momentum from your hips to pop it up. You'll essentially toss the bell upward so you can hold onto the horns toward the bottom where they meet the bell and keep it nice and close to your chest. You can also flip the kettlebell over and hold onto the round part with the handle down for more comfort.
You're going to want to keep a flat back and tight core throughout the entirety of these squats. It's easy to want to hunch over a little especially when the weight gets heavy. Keeping that flat back and tight core, sit your hips back slightly over your heels and squat to your lowest depth (ideally parallel or below).
On the way back up, keep your core and back tight as you squeeze your glutes and quads to bring you back up to the standing position.
These squats can be easily manipulated with weight and reps for more or less difficulty.
Last but not least, let's talk about the kettlebell snatch. This one is the most difficult of these three movements by far because it takes a lot of practice to get it right. It's best to start off light when learning, but progress to moderately light to get a better feel for the high elbow pull and punch through necessary to avoid smashing your wrist. More on that in a second.
To begin, start in the same set-up position discussed before. Feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed out slightly, and a flat back. The kettlebell will start directly underneath your hips and between your feet.
Grab onto the bell with a single hand and your thumb and palm facing you. As you deadlift the bell up, turn your thumb inward slightly, turning the kettlebell at about a 45 degree angle. Like a swing, bring the kettlebell back behind your hips very slightly so you can engage your hips to create momentum to pop the bell up where it needs to be.
Now comes the tricky part, so stick with us and keep practicing if it doesn't feel right at first.
When you pop your hips and begin to bring the bell back through, you'll want to immediately begin the high pull to keep the bell nice and close to your body. The elbow should lead this movement. To make it easier, think about zipping up a coat. You're going to want to pull the bell in the same exact motion, and keep the elbow nice and high.
Once you reach your shoulder comes the punch through. The elbow should rotate down toward your armpit, keeping your working wrist tight and flat as if you were wearing a splint, and you'll punch up toward the sky. You'll need to nail this transition and punch fast, because this is the part where wrists get a little banged up if timing is off.
So, the major queues for the kettlebell snatch are to keep the bell close to your body, elbow high, and a super quick turnover at the top.
Whew, these are some great movements to throw into your workout routines for a bit of a challenge. These movements can be loaded with more weight for strength training or more reps for a bit of endurance training, too. These are some of our favorites with our super smoothed-handled kettlebells because we know we won't end up with any hot spots after use, and the powder coating takes chalk amazingly well for maximum traction and no slippage.
If you have any questions about our kettlebells or these movements described above, don't hesitate to reach out! Our team of experts will be happy to help you find your perfect KB fit and get to swinging.