Sat April 18th Ken and I attended Toronto Crossfit and hosted a Kettlebell Seminar/Workshop. We had athlete's, personal trainers, beginners and some kettlebell fitness instructors.
Starting with the basics, how to hold a kettlebell, there are only two ways to hold a kettlebell, the right way and the wrong way. If you start teaching people how to use a kettlebell and they aren't even holding it properly every movement forward will be incorrect and a recipe for injuries.
Ah yes the swing, pretty simple right ? Well, you may think it's simple but a lot of people still want to muscle that bell and not utilize the proper mechanics to propel that bell which is your hips. It's like a pendulum on a clock really, you accept the weight and push it back up with your hips !
Two handed swings, low one arm swing, one arm swing and alternating swings makes for an interesting hour ! Without mastering the swing you will never get the clean or snatch, they are all connected.
Sounds easy right ? Who knew the kettlebell clean could be so difficult to master. We spend a lot of time on the clean because getting the bell into the rack position for overhead presses and jerks is important. You always want to be in the right position in the rack before pressing the bell overhead or there could be some shoulder injuries !
THE PRESS/PUSH PRESS/JERK
Press, pretty simple, pressing from the rack, hand in the middle of chest and arm straight up elbow to ear.
Push press, using your knees with a dip to help propel the bell up, allowing you to use more weight or if you are fatiguing you can use a push press.
The Jerk, the dreaded Jerk, hard to master and hard to teach. Dip/Drop/Drive, triple D's is how I like to explain it. It's like an olympic jerk, getting underneath the bell, this allows you to use a heavier weight, utilizing your legs and explosiveness to propel the bell up.
THE CLEAN AND JERK
The kettlebell sport move most used in competition, women use one bell men use two bells. Master the clean, master the jerk, put the two together you have long cycle. A great dynamic duo not only for competition but also a great workout, this movement alone is full body and can kick your butt in less than 20 mins, three times a week.
If you are familiar with the kettlebell lingo you would have heard the words "I Clean, I Jerk and I have a nice Snatch" a famous saying printed on hundreds of tank tops and t-shirts. The unfortunate part is the Snatch is one of the most complicated moves to master and teach in my opinion, well at least a second runner up to the Jerk.
Not snatching properly can and will result in shoulder injuries, think about the weight at the top being 35 lbs, drop that bell down without absorbing that weight and all of a sudden you have about 60 lbs of torque and bam, your shoulder is tugged, resulting in injuries. So, with the snatch you have to bring it up the tube and down the tube, accepting that weight at the bottom into a swing and propel back up with the hips. The decent on the snatch is very important, lead your elbow to your chest, and accept the weight at the bottom do not drop the weight, really tough for people to master the snatch, here is a quick video of a snatch, watch how I accept it into a swing at the bottom, this bell is 35 lbs.
DOUBLE BELLS FOR STRENGTH & ENDURANCE
We demonstrated the double clean and jerk, the double snatch, double highpulls, double swings, swinging rows, pushups and a whole bunch more exercises you can do with double kettlebells. Double your fun, double your workout in half the time. I feel doubles also teach you to be consistent with both arms, lots of people are weaker on one arm, with doubles it keeps you doing the same amount of reps for both arms.
We asked everyone what else they wanted to learn or see. We had requests for fitness moves, workout routines, ques, and strength programming.
I demonstrated the Figure 8 Hold adding a squat, you would not believe how co-ordinated you have to be for this move and how much of a killer workout it is, great for conditioning and building muscles, quads, obliques, core, you name it, this move touches a lot of muscles.
COMPOUNDS AND CHAINS
Want the best bang for your buck ? Try a set of kettlebell compounds, do 5 reps of the following moves then switch arms and do it on the other side, increase your bell size or reps for a more advanced session. You can pick whatever moves you want and incorporate them into your compounds, there are literally hundreds of different sets of combinations you can put together, this one is my favourite thought, hits all muscle groups and flows together nicely !
This is also a great way to perfect your technique, make every rep nice slow and controlled, every rep counts, one rep at a time!
Chains using the same moves except doing one move after the other, makes it interesting to see if everyone paid attention to the names of the moves ! Try this for timed sets or 3 or 4 rounds each arm, one kettlebell, full body workout!
Next Ken demonstrated the protocol he used when he first started training with kettlebells, he got lean, shredded and well conditioned. He had a pair of kettlebells and trained in our back yard for a summer, this is what he did.
Military Press 5 x 5
Renegade Rows 5 x 5
Double Swings 5 x 5
Double Bell Rack Squat 5 x 5
There were lots of other demo's we did but I think you get the picture, this was one of the longest workshops we have ever done, they are usually 3 hours, this one was 4. People were getting tired and had sore hands by the end but all in all it was a great day.
If you find something that you are passionate about you need to share it, you need to pass on what you know and what you learn so other people can also enjoy all the benefits. With Kettlebells not only are we passionate about the sport aspect and competing but also the fitness aspect as a great tool to use for metabolic conditioning as well as strength training.
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"I want to Inspire, I want people to look at me and say because of you I didn't give up"
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