kettle bell training - the basics

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Kettlebell Training The Basicsby Liam O'Brien Personal Trainer Kettlebell Instructor Pontefract, West Yorkshire

www.liamobrien.co.uk

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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About the author Liam O'Brien is a Personal Trainer and Kettlebell Instructor based in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He works all over the region including Leeds, Wakefield and the 5 Towns. He has been a Personal Trainer for just 3 years but has been working in the fitness industry for more than a decade. He is a keen Judo player and trains with Knottingley Judo club; runs regularly - mainly middle distance, and also competes in triathlon. You can visit his website at www.liamobrien.co.uk

Contents The history of kettlebells the exercises swing power snatch power clean deadlift turkish get up (TGU) front squat chest press lunge tricep extension russian twists workouts - snatch - clean - military press - windmill - high pull - around the body - single arm row - bicep curl - upright row - side bends

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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The history of kettlebells A kettlebell or girya is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. Although the kettlebell is fairly new to the UK, they go as far back as the 1700's where it was first seen in a Russian dictionary in 1704. Such was their popularity in Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or 'a kettlebell man'. The actual origin of the kettlebell however will always be subject to debate. The Scots will claim that they invented the kettlebell as part of the Highland Games, and the Chinese say that the giant padlocks used by the Shaolin monks were the original kettlebells. They are still used by the American and Russian military today as well as Hollywood stars and professional sports players. They are used by Chelsea and Liverpool football clubs and Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos rugby teams. Kettlebells are now widely regarded as the ultimate training tool for all round fitness and physical development and are even being used by some physiotherapists to aid injury rehabilitation. The main reason that the kettlebell is such a fantastic tool is due to the handle being outside of the mass of the bell. This creates an extra axis on movements like the swing and the snatch, making the movement more than just strength and forcing the body to overcome, absorb and develop the additional momentum. A properly executed and balanced kettlebell workout will work every muscle in the body, and as your confidence grows you can move onto more complex routines with double kettlebells or heavier weights.

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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The exercises 1 - The swing The swing is a fantastic exercise and forms the basis of many kettlebell moves. When performed correctly it develops a strong posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings and erector spinae muscles), lower abdominals and overall power. 'proper execution of the swing alone is superior to 99% of the sophisticated strength and conditioning programs' Steve Maxwell. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion and SeniorRussian Kettlebell Instructor.

Muscles used: glutes hamstrings erector spinae lower abdominals Start position The bell should be held across the top of the handle and deadlifted from the floor. Feet should be slightly wider than hip distance apart, spine in neutral, glutes tight with chest high and shoulders back.

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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Lifting phase The move should be initiated by swinging the weight backwards between the legs. The backside should be pushed back with the chest remaining up and the lower back very slightly arched. Legs should be slightly bent. The kettlebell should be propelled forward by driving the hips forward in a 'thrusting' motion, pushing the heels hard into the ground and locking the knees as the bell reaches the top. Abs and glutes should be tight. This type of 'snap' movement should mean that the arms are only used to guide the bell up; the momentum comes from the hip 'snap' or 'thrust'. The bell should be swung in an up and out movement, extending the hips and pushing the bell away from you rather than above you. At the top of the movement the bell should feel like it hangs in the air for a moment, as if weightless. Lowering phase As the bell starts to drop, let your arms drop with the weight and then push the backside out again, drawing the bell between the legs ready for the next repetition. At all times the chest should be high in relation to the spine and the chin up. Variations single handed swing alternating swing double kettlebell swing rotating or travelling swing 2 The snatch The snatch requires excellent co-ordination with explosive power. A difficult yet when perfected, highly effective exercise. Muscles used: glutes hamstrings erector spinae trapezius deltoids

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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Start position The bell should be held in one hand resting on the front of the thigh. Lifting phase The bell should be swung back between the legs as in a single hand swing, then driven forwards and ultimately overhead, with the hips. The bell should be rolled around the wrist (rather than over the top) before locking out the elbow above the head. Lowering phase The bell should again be rolled around the wrist and swung back between the legs ready for the next repetition. Let the weight do the work on the downward phase, keeping your arm straight. Variations Double or alternating snatch. 3- The power snatch The power snatch differs from the regular snatch in that it replaces the power and momentum gained from the 'thrust' of the hips, with power from the thighs.

Muscles used: glutes / quads erector spinae / trapezius deltoids

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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Start position The bell should be held in one hand, thumb pointing backwards between the legs. Back straight, head up. Lifting phase The bell should be lowered towards the floor, dropping the backside and bending at the knee with a straight back and head up. Then with an explosive upward push from the thighs drive the bell upwards. With a shrug and upright row bring the bell towards shoulder height keeping the hand close to the body at all times with the thumb practically brushing the body. Flip the bell over and drive upwards with shoulders until both shoulder and arm are locked out. You should keep a straight back throughout this movement. Lowering phase Flip the bell back over your hand and lower to the start position, again keeping the hand close to the body and the back straight. 4 - The clean The clean is another exercise that requires explosive, controlled power from the hips, glutes and hamstrings. An exercise in its own right, the clean can also be used as a safe and effective way to raise a kettlebell to the racking position. Muscles used: glutes hamstrings erector spinae deltoids trapezius Start position The bell should be held in one hand as per the single handed swing.

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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Lifting phase The bell should be swung back between the legs and then, using the hips driven upwards as per a regular swing. Before reaching the horizontal, the bell should be rolled around the wrist and pulled into the racking position. Failure to roll the bell around the wrist will result in the bell making contact with your forearm with some force! Your back should be straight throughout with a strong chest position. Lowering phase Roll the bell around the outside of the forearm, extend the arm and let the weight of the bell bring you back to the start position. Variations double or alternating clean 5 Power clean As with the power snatch, the power clean utilises power from the thighs to replace the swing motion.

Start position The bell should be held in one hand, thumb pointing backwards between the legs. Back straight, head up. Lifting phase The bell should be lowered towards the floor with the back straight, dropping the backside and bending at the knees. With an explosive drive the bell should be raised toward the shoulder. Flip the bell over your hand and pull into the racking position. Lowering phase Flip the bell back over and return to the start position. Back should remain straight throughout, head high, chest up.

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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6 Military press Although this move is often performed with a dumbbell or barbell, extra stability is required throughout the shoulder joint when performed with a kettlebell.

Muscles used: deltoids triceps Start position The bell should be in the racking position. Lifting / lowering phase The bell should be driven upwards with the arm held locked and behind the ear to finish. Return to the front racking position and repeat. Variations double press alternating press 7 Deadlift Start position Stand with feet a little over shoulder width apart, toes pointing very slightly outwards. Head and chest up, glutes and abs tight and back straight. Take the bell with a double handed grip. Muscles used: glutes quads erector spinae

Liam O'Brien www.liamobrien.co.uk All Rights Reserved

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Lowering / lifting phase Keeping a straight back, bend the knees and sit back whilst lowering the bell towards the floor. Then drive upwards using the quads and keeping the arms straight and weight between legs. At the top of the repetition, squeeze the glutes together and flex the quads. The back should be upright and straight throughout. Variations double deadlift 8 The windmill (demonstrated by Lisa Rutherford) The windmill is a great exercise for developing shoulder stability, core strength and flexi