Kettlebell Training: A Perfect Start

When it comes to kettlebell training people have many questions. Some are uninformed and unsure where to turn, some are misinformed and others simply misunderstand. Some have had bad experiences with unqualified trainers using kettlebells improperly as if they are nothing more than oddly shaped dumbbells, missing the point entirely and never getting to experience their unique potential and benefits.

I’ve written this post to answer the following questions:

  • What is a kettlebell?
  • Why do people train with kettlebells?
  • What makes the kettlebell special?
  • Are Kettlebells Dangerous?
  • How do I start to learn how use kettlebells properly?

 

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WHAT IS A KETTLEBELL?

Kettlebells are hand held weights shaped like cannonballs with a handle.  They have been around for hundreds of years and in the last 10 years or so have returned to the spotlight due to the teachings of Pavel Tsatsouline and the kettlebell revolution he has inspired. The kettlebell’s unique design allows for a wide variety of standard lifts as well as extremely powerful specialized lifts which are unique to the kettlebell.

WHY KETTLEBELL TRAINING?

The beauty of kettlebell training is in it’s elegant simplicity, versatility, freedom and scalability.

No other single piece of equipment will allow you to accomplish so much in so little time, can be used or taken anywhere and can be made as challenging or as easy as necessary.  A young teenager can learn to safely swing a 24kg, a strong athlete in his or her prime can be challenged and made to sweat bullets with a 12kg kettlebell or a 70 year old grandma can learn to safely deadlift the massive 48kg.

Dumbbells and Barbells are unquestionably powerful & effective tools and the barbell is the undisputed king when it comes to lifting very heavy weight, but the kettlebell’s unique design gives it the following advantages:

  • Kettlebells are small, portable and versatile.
  • They can be taken anywhere, and require minimal space
  • They allow you to perform all the lifts and movements used with barbells and dumbbells, plus they allow you to do many things that can’t be duplicated with dumbbells and barbells.
  • They can be passed from hand to hand
  • They can be held in different ways manipulating leverage.
  • They allow for keeping a safe neutral wrist position while lifting.
  • They are great for stretching with.
  • They allow for greater range of motion and more degrees of freedom.
  • They can be swung between the legs and safely accelerated during the negative phase for a powerful training effect.
  • They allow for safely executing high repetition quick lifts.
  • They can be stacked, thrown, dragged and even juggled.
  • The off-balance center of provides an extra degree of challenge strengthening stabilizers and forcing the entire body to work together as a single unit.
  •  Additionally, the kettlebell’s versatility makes it the perfect tool for learning the principles used to make you safer, stronger while training so you can then apply them to any other modality including the barbell, dumbbell, bodyweight, TRX and more.

THE POWER OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING 
If you want to escape the gym, the combination of bodyweight and kettlebell training gives you the freedom and the ability to train anywhere, on your own terms and only requires a small amount of space.

If you seek a versatile tool that allows you to train for strength, flexibility, power, endurance and fat-loss, no other single piece of equipment does it better. Kettlebells allow to perform the same lifts as dumbbells and barbells + many powerful lifts that can only be performed with kettlebells.

If you want to burn calories, kettlebell ballistics which burn over 20 calories per minute are hard to beat.

If you love variety, the kettlebell’s unique design makes it possible to perform an endless variety of exercises, combinations and complexes without the need to change equipment, set the bell down or wait in line at the gym.

If you want to be challenged, the simplest kettlebells workouts have proven to humble the strongest athletes.

If you seek simplicity, look no further. Thousands of people have experienced amazing results (losing 100lbs?) from programs consisting of only one or two kettlebell techniques.
BUT…
As powerful as kettlebell training can be, it’s not about the kettlebell.

The kettlebell is only a tool. Without the proper expertise it’s nothing more than an oddly shaped dumbbell… or a doorstop.

Powerful and effective kettlebell training is first and foremost about moving well, then matching the right techniques to the individual, combining that with intelligent programming and the application of proven principles. This can be difficult or impossible to learn on your own through books, videos and internet forums. There is a proven process to follow, but more on that later.

ARE KETTLEBELLS DANGEROUS? 

Kettlebells are like any powerful tool, the magic is in HOW you use them and they are firm adherents of the “garbage-in-garbage-out” principle. When used properly and expertly they can produce amazing results … and when used inappropriately, inexpertly or irresponsibly the results can be less the optimal at best or catastrophic at worst. The internet is full of people who put down one form of exercise over another as dangerous or stupid, but what the best trainers understand is that context is key. What determines the safety or appropriateness of any given exercise technique or tool is knowing how to match the right movements, techniques, tools and loads to the individual.  No single technique is appropriate for everyone, the best instructors know this, and investing a great deal of  time and resources  learning how to properly assess and progress each trainee as a unique individual.

GETTING STARTED

THE RECIPE FOR SAFE AND EFFECTIVE KETTLEBELL TRAINING
In order to train with kettlebells safety and effectively or train others responsibly you will need three things

  1. Live, in-person, expert instruction. Nothing will accelerate or ensure proper technique like immediate feedback, technical subtleties and hands-on corrections that personal attention from a StrongFirst certified instructor provides.
  2. A proven system and a set of principles to follow (such as StrongFirst provides) that keeps you safe, guides you down the right path and allows for growth. The StrongFirst system we utilize is known for making novices strong and champions stronger.
  3. A Community of like-minded individuals to support, challenge and encourage one another.  Through the StrongFirst community you will join a world-wide family.

 

GET STARTED TODAY 

The one-day StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course is the perfect opportunity to be introduced to all three.

Whether you are an absolute novice, experienced with kettlebells but have not had qualified instruction, or a trainer who wants nothing but the best for your clients, the StrongFirst User Course is a perfect place to start.


 

Our next StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course is Sunday April 24th in Omaha, NE
“The StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course is the 8-Hour Kettlebell Workshop – Perfected.”
[Reserve your spot today: Space is limited to 10 participants for this course.]

Register Now


 

Alternatively, you may consider our 8 class / 4 week beginner’s course, private training or group classes.

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Double 32kg Kettlebell Setup

What Does It Mean to Be Strong First?

The phrase “You can be anything you want… But you must be strong first.”  is a powerful statement written by StrongFirst’s Chairman Pavel Tsatsouline.

What does it mean to be strong first? 

Strength is not the only quality, but is a very important one that takes many forms and is not measured solely in pounds or kilograms.

The discipline to achieve  requires you first have strength of mind and character.
The ability to help others first requires you to be strong enough to help yourself.
Flexibility first requires you to be strong enough to achieve a position.
Posture first requires you be strong enough to hold a position.
Speed first requires you be strong enough to move your body.
Endurance first requires the strength to endure…
and the list goes on.

Since 2008 the way I have been taught in the original RKC by Pavel and now StrongFirst has always emphasized quality over quantity. I’ve always been taught that in order to become strong, I must first learn to move well, then learn to add strength to good movement. At the instructor courses I’ve attend and been fortunate enough to assist at I’ve consistently witnessed candidates being taught to emphasize form and quality  before emphasizing quantity of volume, intensity or load.
Repeatedly I’ve heard the message that strength is useless if you can not move your body well enough to use it efficiently. Finally, the instructor certification experience itself is built around requiring candidates to first become strong enough to perform the techniques well before teaching them to others.  Just as I’ve been taught these lessons by my team leaders, senior and master instructors, I too have striven to teach movement and quality first to my own students.

I believe…

A fast movement is inferior to an equally fast movement performed with more strength and therefore less perceived effort.
A harsh action performed from a position of weakness is inferior to a gentle action performed from a position of strength.
A beautifully executed movement is inferior to an equally beautiful movement that is also stronger.

I believe strength has a higher purpose.
Become strong enough to make life better… for yourself and others.

If You Wished You Were Strong…

Let’s face it, fitness can be intimidating.
A bunch of sweaty people pretending to be tough…  grunting loudly and throwing around slogans like “No Pain, No Gain!” or “Feel the Burn!” gets to be a little too much for the average person. Then you watch some of the outrageous training videos or fitness competitions and you get more than just a little freaked out by the insanity and machismo or inappropriate sexuality.

If you’re like me, then you believe fitness shouldn’t be a competition or a fashion show. Training should make you better at something other than …  just being better at training.  Training should improve your posture, your strength, your confidence and your quality of movement. Training shouldn’t be your life, it should improve your ability to to enjoy life.

If you’ve ever wished you were strong enough to train with barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells, but didn’t think you were…  or just wished you knew how to get started then I have just the resource for you:

“Foundations of Strength”  by StrongFirst is an excellent video with clear instruction that goes over the basics of how to safely and efficiently perform some powerful and effective techniques that will help the average person accomplish any level of fitness they choose. You’ll learn fundamental barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, bodyweight and sandbag movements to help mold the body you were meant to have.

Watch the video, takes notes and hit the gym or just train at home, then watch it again and repeat.
Eventually you’ll want to know more, but this is a great place to start.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet and chat with
Mark Toomey and I can tell you without reservation that he is a gentlemen, a scholar and an excellent instructor who walks the talk.  At Omaha Elite Kettlebell we use the exact methods and principles shared in this video so I feel confident you’ll you like what you see and hear.

If you need further assistance or a more specific training plan, check out some of the recommended links above on the right such as “Power to the People” and “Simple & Sinister”. Check out the more expansive online store above or give me a shout, I’ll be glad to help or point you in the right direction.

Remember, strength is a choice.

"If you never thought you were strong enough to lift weights but wish you were, this is a great class for you.   I always walk into class a little nervous that I might not be up to the challenge, and then leave saying, "I did it!" and feel good about it the rest of the day. Scott really knows his stuff. He will customize to your individual needs...this is not a "one size fits all" class. Scott has taught me how to get more out of 5 reps than I used to get out of 25. My whole core is stronger as a result. Now when I go back to other classes, everything seems easier. Less really is more."  - Karen Bexten

 

 

 

 

Squeeze More out of Your Only Kettlebell

Squeeze More Out of Your Only Kettlebell: Omaha Elite Kettlebell - John Scott Stevens, SFGII

Keeping a kettlebell at the home or office is a great way to recharge during a 15-minute break from the computer.
Not everyone has a wide variety of bells to choose from and some people have only one bell, often a relatively light beginner bell and they quickly outgrow it… or so they think.

With a little creativity you will find plenty of ways to make a light bell seem heavier than it should and keep your strength gains coming.

Here are just a few examples of how to squeeze more out of a given size bell. Each list is arranged from easiest to hardest. Aside from doing more reps or taking less rest… when a particular version of a technique begins to feel easy,  start working on one of the versions further down the list.  Safety is always a priority and so is your dignity, for that reason you will never attempt any kettlebell exercise while standing on a bosu ball or standing on a kettlebell. [Note: If your idea of kettlebell training involves doing a single leg squat atop a kettlebell… you’re doing it wrong.]

This list is by no means exhaustive and with a little imagination I could easily double the variations shown below.
With variations like these I can keep a 16kg kettlebell challenging although I can readily swing, bent press, squat and do getups with a bell three times that size.  I’m not trying to brag, there are many stronger people in the world… but, my point is this:

Strength is a choice: If you have a kettlebell you think you’ve outgrown, you’re probably wrong.

Enjoy & Don’t forget to share this post if you do!

 

KETTLEBELL DEADLIFT

  1. Easiest: Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift
  2. Harder: Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift from an elevation
  3. Harder: Single arm suitcase deadlift
  4. Harder: Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift

KETTLEBELL HIP HINGE

  1. Easiest: Two Hand Swing
  2. Harder: Hand to Hand Swing
  3. Harder: One Hand Swing
  4. Harder: High Pulls
  5. Harder: Snatches

KETTLEBELL PRESS

  1. Easiest: Push Press
  2. Harder: Military Press
  3. Harder: Bent Press
  4. Harder: Military Press Blind Folded, Standing on one leg… or both.
  5. Harder: Tall Kneeling Military Press (Blind folded too)
  6. Harder: Press Up, 1/4 the way down & back up, 1/2 the way down & back up, 3/4 down then up.
  7. Harder: Seated On The Floor Press
  8. Harder: Press from the bottom of the squat
  9. Harder: Press while seated in the splits

KETTLEBELL GETUP

  1. Easiest: Partial Getups
  2. Harder: Full Getups
  3. Harder: Full Getups with several presses on the way to standing.
  4. Harder: Slow Motion Getups: 1 minute + per repetition.
  5. Harder: Continuous getups for up to 5 reps without setting the bell down before switching hands.

KETTLEBELL SQUAT

  1. Easiest: Goblet Squat
  2. Harder: Reactive Goblet Squats  (Engum)
  3. Harder: Goblet squat with the bell held upside down (bottom up)
  4. Harder: Goblet Squat with a 10 second pause in the bottom while shaking the bell vigorously. (Dan John)
  5. Harder: Front Squat
  6. Harder: Cossack Squat
  7. Harder: Bottom Up Front Squat
  8. Harder: Goblet Squat with the bell held overhead
  9. Harder: Single Arm Overhead Squat (hold the bell overhead with one arm locked out and squat)
  10. Harder: Pistol (a.k.a. Single Leg Squat)
  11. Harder: Racked Pistol
  12. Harder: Botom Up Racked Pistol
  13. Harder: Overhead Pistol

KETTLEBELL CLEAN

  1. Easiest: Cheat Clean with both hands
  2. Harder: Clean (standard)
  3. Harder: Dead Clean with no backward hike pass between reps.
  4. Harder: Bottom Up Clean
  5. Harder: Add a 15 seconds hold/pause in the rack position between reps.

Kettlebell Juggling: Omaha Elite Kettlebell - John Scott Stevens SFGII

KETTLEBELL JUGGLING
Kettlebell juggling sounds scary, but it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds.  You will need to perform these outside of course where the bells won’t bounce.

  1. Easiest: Two Hand Release & Catch at the top of the swing
  2. Harder: Hand to Hand Release & Catch
  3. Harder: One Hand Release & Catch
  4. Harder: Hand to  Hand Release into a flip & catch
  5. Harder: One Hand Release into a flip & catch
  6. Harder: One Hand release into a helicopter spin & catch
    (For a greater list of kettlebell juggling techniques and progressions I recommend the works of Jeff Martone and Gus Peterson)

WANT MORE?
For even more kettlebell lifting variations check out “More Russian Kettlebell Challenges” from Pavel Tsatsouline.
More Russian Kettlebell Challenges

15-Minute Advanced Double Kettlebell Workout – No Gym Membership Required

Double 32kg Kettlebell Setup

If your time is limited and you want to get stronger grab a pair of heavy kettlebells and practice the basics.
Don’t worry about what exercises are going to be in the next W.O.D.,
stop scouring through all the generic fitness magazines for a new routine and
immediately cease and desist with the endless buffet of home workout DVDs or youtube videos.

To maximize what precious little training time you have, you need to come to terms with the fact that less is more. Specifically, Less distractions and less techniques.

Resistance training isn’t new, it’s been around for millennia so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The biggest and most productive  movements in the weight room are common knowledge and according to Master SFG Dan John they can be narrowed down to about 4 categories: Pushing, Pulling, Squatting and Hip Hinging. As long as you hit all four categories in your training and stay strong in each, you’re ahead of the curve.

  1. SQUATTING: Squatting or Lunging
  2. HIP HINGING: Deadlift variations, Cleans and Snatches
  3. PULLING:  Rows or weighted pull-ups
  4. PUSHING:  All manner of pressing

A heavy barbell workout consisting of the above movements can take hours or days and lots of expensive equipment, not to mention a steep learning curve for the Olympic lifts, finding a gym that permits these movements and enough available equipment & space to not have to wait or work in with others. However, with two appropriate kettlebells you can do all of this and more and be finished in 15 minutes.  The ways you can arrange these movements are endless… but here’s a great 15-minute full-body kettlebell routine that uses all four categories.

15-MINUTE Strength & Conditioning Workout

The following workout doesn’t mess around.
It’s intended for the experienced kettlebell lifter.
It consists of two parts: A strength routine and a ballistics routine.

QUICK & DIRTY WARM-UP
10 Pump Stretches, 3 Kneeling Hip Stretch per side, 5 half-kneeling halos each direction per leg.

GRINDS (You’ll perform the first three movements as a complex without setting the bells down)

Omaha Elite Kettlebell Double Kettlebell Grind Complex: double Kettlebell clean, double Kettlebell press, double Kettlebell squat, double Kettlebell renegade row.

  • Cleans x  3-5
    Hike the bells behind you between your legs, then stand up explosively. Guide the kettlebell to the rack position without crashing. Hold motionless for 1 second while building maximal tension in the legs, glutes abs and lats.  Repeat for reps.
  • Presses x 1 -5
    Picking up where the clean left off… adjust & narrow your stance.  Tighten up, press down into the earth and press the bells overhead. Hold the lockout motionless for 1 second and perform a strong active negative as you return the bells to the rack. Repeat for reps. 
  • Squats: x 3-5
    Picking up where the press left off…. interlace your fingers, inhale, stay tight and pull yourself with strength down into a squat. Pause motionless for 1 second, then drive your heels into the earth and wedge your hips underneath you to return to standing. Fully extend your hips, maximally contracting your quads, glutes and abs at the top before repeating for reps.
    Now you can set the bells down.
  • renegade rows: x 3-5
    Assume a pushup position using the kettlebells handles to support your weight.  Maintain hip extension as you stiffen your entire torso, glutes and legs.  Alternately pull one bell to your hip at a time. Left + Right = 1. Repeat for reps.
  • Rest & Repeat as necessary.  I like to perform 3 to 5 rounds and always strive to use weights that allow me to get 3 reps or more per technique.

FINISHER
Omaha Elite Kettlebell: Double Kettlebell Ballistics Swings, double Kettlebell High Pulls, double Kettlebell Snatches
I always enjoy wrapping up with a heart pounding lung burning finisher like so…

  • Snatches x 1 – 5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Rest Briefly
  • High Pulls x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Rest Briefly
  • Swings x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Start over with snatches and repeat this circuit for remainder of the allotted time.

OPTION A) Complete the entire workout with a moderate set of bells such as 24kg bells for men or 12 to 16kg bells for women.

OPTION B) “Weight Pyramids & Ladders”
Use up to three pairs of different size bells, light, medium and heavy and perform the workout like so

  • Perform the Clean, Press, Squat, Row complex with a weight pyramid: 
    Round 1: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
    Round 2: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
    Round 3: Perform the entire complex with Heavy bells.
    Round 4: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
    Round 5: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
  • Perform the Snatch, High Pull and Swing Circuit using a Descending Weight Ladder
    Round 1: Heavy: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Round 2: Medium: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Round 3: Light: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Done.

There you have it, a workout that takes 15-minutes and includes variations of the all the big movements.

Efficient, spirited & brutal, just the way I like it… and in my humble opinion you should too.

Enjoy.

The Courage to Do Less

Musashi Screen

The other day I was testing some of my lifts in preparation for attending an upcoming StrongFirst Barbell certification. Despite having limited experience with a barbell I was pleased to find I met all of the strength requirements for the barbell testing despite only really training with kettlebells and bodyweight.  During the previous week I had also received some friendly challenges from friends to perform Dragon Flags and Superman Pushups which I discovered I was also able to perform on the first attempt.

It wasn’t always this way for me and I can remember back to 6 years ago before I discovered Pavel’s teachings when so many things that I can do now seemed nearly impossible.  With little to no barbell training, it seems that several years of applying the Hardstyle/StrongFirst principles to a handful of techniques plus the One Mind any Weapon approach have prepared me well.

Ever since getups from the program minimum healed an injured shoulder, single leg deadlifts from the Rite of Passage variety days rehabbed a chronically sprained ankle I’ve been believer in Pavel’s less is more approach. Several years later I’m even more of a believer that when it comes to strength less truly is more.  This is what sets StrongFirst apart.

When it comes to StrongFirst we have the courage to consistently do less in order to accomplish more.

While others use workouts of the day devised to entertain, we forge ahead with programs like the Rite of Passage.

Where others have fallen for “muscle-confusion” we follow the “same-but-different” principle to train the same skill in subtly different ways.

While others do hundreds of reps to failure, we have the courage to “Grease the Groove” or follow programs like Easy Strength performing as little as 10 reps or less without fatigue and become stronger for it.

While most “programs” found in popular fitness magazines contain dozens of techniques we choose programs like “Power to the People” and “the Program Minimum” that use only two techniques to perfection.

When others are at globo-gyms with millions of dollars of equipment, and computerized machines that allow them to train while seated we deliver superior results in our courage corners that typically contain little more than a few kettlebells, a barbell, a piece of floor and a pull-up bar.

While others are in a rush to take a photo of the biggest sweat puddle,  create the latest exercise variation or post a video of their own personal best we work quietly and professionally drilling the basics and filling in the gaps.

A great StrongFirst approved training session is as simple as it needs to be, a work of art where the rest achieves just as much as the work done.

I imagine if the StrongFirst methods could be applied to a form of painting it would be Sumi-e painting. In Sumi-e the artist typically uses black ink only and as few brush strokes as possible.  The use of empty space is just as important if not more so than the ink. Mastering the art of Sumi-e requires great discipline, concentration and daily practice.  In many ways sumi-e is has been used as a metaphor for the way a warrior must live his life or fight a battle where the courage and discipline to release a single brush stroke without regret is compared to delivering a decisive blow in battle.  Taken another direction I believe sumi-e painting can be a metaphor for the StrongFirst methods.

A favorite story of mine that illustrates the point goes something like this…

In feudal Japan a master artist was commissioned by his lord to create a particular sumi-e painting. The artist would receive a sum of money every day until the painting was completed. The lord waited impatiently for many months and finally journeyed to the artist’s  home to see what the delay was all about. When the artist insisted that the painting was not ready and he could not commit to a delivery date the lord demanded his painting be produced immediately under penalty of death.  The artist sat down with his tools and within minutes created a masterful sumi-painting with a mere handful of brilliant brush strokes. The painting was wonderful and exactly what the lord wanted.  At first the lord was pleased, but then he grew furious as he realized he had been forced to wait months for something that only took the master artist a few minutes to produce.  When the lord demanded the artist to explain why he made the lord wait , the artist simply said the he was not ready.  This made the lord even more furious.  At that the artist showed the lord a room full of cabinets. The artist opened a cabinet and out fell hundreds of versions of the exact same painting. Then he continued to open every cabinet and one after another each cabinet contained hundreds upon hundreds more of the same painting totaling in the thousands. As the lord looked on in amazement he began to realize that while each painting was a masterpiece each consecutive painting was usually just a little better than the last and the version that he witnessed the artist produce this very day was the best to date.  At that moment it became obvious to that what had only taken a few minutes to complete had actually taken a life time to prepare for.

The lord apologized to the artist and begged him to continue working on the commissioned painting until it was ready.

MUSASHI-Kobokumeigekizu

Training with the StrongFirst methods is a lot like a masterful Sumi-e painting.

We get the job done with a few strokes and limited equipment.

There are times of urgency when training goals and deadlines must be met and then there is the majority of the time when we must simply be consistent and practice.  Instead of constantly racing toward a result, we have faith in the process while pursuing improvement and looking forward to the day when we will have hundreds or thousands of masterful training sessions under our belt.

Follow the StrongFirst methods and in the end your strength, your skill and your body will be your own work of art.

John Scott Stevens, SFGII, SFBW, CKFMS  is a Omaha’s longest standing certified Kettlebell instructor and chief instructor at Omaha Elite Kettlebell.

Omaha Elite Kettlebell: It’s All in the Hips!

Omaha Elite Kettlebell Instructors John Scott Stevens and Aleks Salkin demonstrating versions of the splits. Just some of the benefits of Hardstyle Kettlebell training

One of the priceless benefits of RKC Hardstyle™ Kettlebell training is hip flexibility and health. Correctly performing and practicing fundamental movements like the Turkish Get-Up, the Goblet Squat and the Hardstyle™ Swing develop a blend of flexibility, stability, strength, power and endurance that improves posture, back health and athletic performance. Some typical benefits our clients receive are increased hip flexibility, improved posture, reduced lower back pain and reduced incidence of hamstring pulls.

The function of the hip flexors and the definition of “Hip Flexibility” changes depending on the situation and the movement pattern in question. I believe that the function of the hips are best expressed as Dan John put’s it “a continuum between the Squat and the Swing”. The full extension at the top and the bottom of the goblet squat (pictured below) represent the vertical application of force while the bottom and top of the swing represents the horizontal application of force. In both techniques the top position is essentially a plank. These techniques and other like the various planks, one arm swings, lunges, single leg deadlifts or the high hip bridge in the Turkish getup used in our classes also serve as an excellent means of training a combination of flexibility and “live” strength (stability) in the hips.

One of the fantastic features of RKC Hardstyle™ Kettlebell training is that nearly every technique is a full-body compound movement. As a result, your hips learn to fire reflexively and function as part of a team with the rest of your body, the way they were designed to perform.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…
The following pictures of Omaha Elite Kettlebell instructors and students show various phases of the three most fundamental techniques used regularly in our classes. Each technique is an excellent example of hip flexibility, mobility, stability, strength and power.

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John Scott Stevens, RKC is the founder of Omaha Elite Kettlebell and Omaha’s first RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor. He holds advanced RKC Level 2 and CK-FMS Functional Movement Specialist certifications. Omaha Elite Kettlebell features a team of Nebraska’s highly certified RKCII,CKFMS,RKC and HKC Kettlebell instructors and a perfect zero injury record in over 4,000 group classes.

Omaha Elite Kettlebell uses the following
Recommended Resources for Flexibility Training