If you don’t already own a kettlebell, get one. You’ll never regret it.
The Kettlebell is one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal as an athlete. When the berlin wall fell, and this little guy crept found its way across, it both sparked and augmented a fitness revolution.
The large handle, the compact mass, and the rotational design are all characteristics that make this training implement incredibly unique and effective.
And at its core, it’s incredibly simple–a forged clump, with a handle. Simple is good, simple is cheap.
In simplicity, there is versatility. The kettlebell can (and should) be effectively employed in the Functional (Phase I), Strength (Phase II) and Metabolic (Phase III) phases of your training program.Here’s how:
At first, the kettlebell seems like an unlikely candidate for the movement pattern portion of your training program. Ballistic is, after all, the opposite of what we’re training to achieve during this phase of training. Slow steady motions. Controlled, repeated movements. And fresh, frequent rehearsals.
Hardly seems like the standard kettlebell workout, does it?
However– if used correctly– the kettlebell’s abilities to develop grip, build a slightly off-balance exercise, and demand concentration with its compact weight distribution make it adept in building stable movement patterns. Here are the key KB exercises for use during phase I:
Turkish Getups (TGUs) work the stabilizers in your abdominal, lumbar, shoulder, and pelvic muscles. It demands coordination across your body’s ceter line and through all limbs and joint. It’s awesome. Click Here for a Step by Step Guide.
Half Kneeling Halo
The half kneeling position is widely used by followers of the Functional Movement System. by doing a KB halo from this position, you extend this exercise from working shoulder ROM to incorporating trunk stabilizers and improving the overall impact on your movement patterns. Here’s an excellent instructional from youtube:
As versatility and variations are the key to continuing to drive improvements in your movement patterns, the KB windmill should be incorporated as a compliment to the Turkish Getup in that in drives the trunk, shoulder and pelvic stabilizers, but also demands improved focus in range of motion. Here’s how it works.
The kettlebell, in itself, sucks for building maximal strength. It’s not heavy enough to drive the neural loads and motor drive that we’re seeking to build. However, in ballistic motion, the kettlebell excels.
That’s a Bingo.
By pairing medium to lower weight kettlebell ballistic exercises with your maximal strength exercises (squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and weighted pullups), you’ll build an extremely effective complex training protocol that drastically increases your motor recruitment. Here’s how to match the exercises up:
2-3 Sets of:
1-3 Deadlifts @ 85-95% 1 RM max
immediately followed by 7 KB swings (use a weight that you can normally do 75 swings without rest)
OH Press-KB Push Press
2 sets of:
3-4 OH presses @ 80-90% 1 RM max
immediately followed by 5 KB push presses (use a weight that is .5 pood lower than your 75-swing weight)
Weighted Pullups–KB Row
2 sets of
2 weighted pullups (max vest weight)
immediately followed by 7 KB suitcase rows
Squats- American Swings
Warning: Controversial some maintain that the American style (overhead) kettlebell swing is injury prone–unless you’re slamming that KB into the top of your range of motion–your physiology should self limit with no risk of injury.
1-3 Squats @80-95% 1 RM max
immediately followed by 5 American style KB swings (“75 swing” weight)
If you didn’t realize that the kettlebell is appropriate for high intensity metabolic workouts, then you’ve probably never used (or even seen) a kettlebell before. This is where the KB shines. Here’s some workout structures to help you get the most out of your handled clump:
KB Moving Target Complex
Straight from Pavel Tsatsouline himself, this workout combines cleans, presses and squats in a way that maintains high intensity across all three exercises.
Learn the Moving Target Complex
KB Snatches for VO2 max (VO2)
1:1 work to rest ratio.
The large grip and concentrated mass make the kettlebell ideal for longer farmer walks, suitcase carries, and even waiter carries.