The Kettlebell can be one of the best exercise tools available when done correctly and when done incorrectly the Kettlebell could be one the most hated exercise tools available. Like any exercise worth its weight or worth doing, doing Kettlebell exercises is a skill that needs to be practiced and honed in. Something that requires skill is not always something people like doing because of the “I feel like a fool” or “I just don’t understand this” effect on the ego. Regardless, the Kettlebell has been used for over 300 years for a reason, it works!
That being said, the most common Kettlebell mistakes that I see are squatting while doing the swing rather than doing a hip hinge and trying to muscle the kettlebell around in the swing.
These both can be fixed relatively simply by teaching a proper hip hinge. I like to teach a proper hip hinge by using the example of closing your car door while having your hands full of groceries, and it not close all of the way. What do you do? Back up to your car door and butt bump it closed. THAT’S A HIP HINGE! Using the same example, you wouldn’t do a squatting motion to butt bump the door closed. That would just have you sliding down your door and probably falling over. While that may be a good way to clean your dirty door it isn’t an effective way to close the door.
Now that you have that visual, when you do your Kettlebell swings, do that same hip hinge while swinging that bell back between your legs. Aim the bell behind you like you are hiking a football and hinge like you mean it. To return to the standing position, unhinge your hip like a Honeymoon Hip Snap (another unmistakeable visual) and act as though you are going to throw the bell across the room!
Now that you have the hip hinge to do an effective and efficient swing, the Kettlebell press is another exercise often avoided because of not knowing proper form.
Full Kneeling/ Half Kneeling Rack and Goblet Press:
First off, to define Full and Half Kneeling; a Full Kneel is on the ground with both knees on the ground with your hips in extension or “tall”. Half Kneeling is kneeling down on one knee with the other leg bent and in front of your body, still in the “tall” position.
Rack and Goblet Press:
Having the Kettlebell “rest” in the Rack is when the bell is near shoulder height while holding the Kettlebell by the handle with one hand, the “bell” rests on the back of your wrist. Making sure the Kettlebell is below chin level, the bell will “rest” against your body. Holding the Kettlebell by the handles with both hands with the bell portion lower than the handles is called the Goblet position. Hold the bell as close to your body as you can without “resting” it on your chest.
Now from a Full Kneeling or Half Kneeling position, press the bell up and over your head in one fluid motion. An optimal end position is when the bell is directly over your ear/s. If you have shoulder mobility issues, this may not be as simple as it sounds. (Get cleared to do any over-head exercises from an FMS specialist) If you are able to fully extend in the locked out position, this movement is a wonderful exercise for shoulder mobility and strength, core stability and strength and will have your arms looking beach ready in no time!
Doing Kettlebell Swings and Presses is almost a full body workout. When in a pinch for time or if you just want to keep things simple, these two exercises will do wonders for your strength, mobility, mental toughness and body composition (that is why we do this, right?).
There is no better way to get better at a skill than to have a pair of expert eyes on you, please join me Tuesday and Thursday at noon for the NAKOA Kettlebell Class to experience what Kettlebells have to offer.
Until then, keep butt bumping and honeymoon hip snapping!!