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The basics of kettlebell work really revolve around a few major movements that are used in Renegade TrainingTM known as "Focus Lifts" and are merely a simple change of medium (as is the case with non-conforming objects as well). In the first stages of learning proper use of the kettlebell it is important to tackle the major lifts as follows:
So there you have the first four kettlebell lifts you will need to learn. By following this simple and effective plan you can learn and ultimately through practice, master this great training medium. We will continue to look into kettlebell training and a multitude of exercises so you can learn proper and safe training techniques in simple and cost effective manner. As I say this I wish to note that as we move forward into the next frontier of training, make sure that you as coach, trainer or athlete take the time to learn and master many training mediums. The rich history of the Iron Game depends on each of us being ambassadors for the next generation so that they can pass it on. Amongst these easy to perform lifts, the greatest lesson to be taught is that there are no limitations, there are no boundaries and are no mountains you cannot overcome. Challenge your greatest challenges, fear not your greatest fears. Learn to overcome adversity and make your dreams a reality.
- SwingStanding upright with feet slightly shoulder-width apart and holding bell with hands closed together. Push hips / buttocks back with bell shooting behind you. Do not, I repeat do not allow the back go beyond a neutral back position. From this position, your hamstrings are "locked and loaded" and you should vigorously thrust the hips up and forward thus projecting the bell with your hips. As the bell reaches eye level and above, allow it to release and swing down, reversing your position, accepting force easily with bent legs and continue through the movement for a desired rep range of 12-15 per set. This is a highly effective and taxing movement to help the lifter assimilate to generating explosive movement from the hips. While repetitive, I need to stress never allow this movement to degrade and become more of a back / upper body lift. This movement should be done near the start of a training session to once again, promote proper hip movement and I will equally do this between training days as a form of weighted general physical preparation.
- Power Clean (shown with doubles)This is an extremely simple lift that can be learnt in a remarkably short time. However, there are a few things I wish to stress in teaching the kettlebell Power Clean. First and this will seem odd, do not over complicate this movement, you are simply lifting the KBell "enough" to perform the catch and anything above will only cause problems with the catch and the bell striking the forearm harshly. Secondly, consider the arm position similar to that of a boxer in protecting their ribs ? never allow the elbow to be positioned far from the protective area against the ribs. Thirdly always lower the bell in a safe manner, in essence reversing the execution of the lift and never allowing the elbow to "turn out" away from the body. Stand upright with feet slightly shoulder-width apart. If you are performing with one bell, place hand in middle and opposite to side or on hip to aid with balance. In the event you are performing with two bells (as shown), you can elect based upon personal preference to hold kb's between knees or to the outside. To initiate movement push hips / buttocks back. Once again do not, I repeat do not allow the back go beyond a neutral back position. From this position, begin explosively driving hips up and forward, projecting elbows upward relatively close and tight to the body, rising up on your toes. As the kettlebells approach mid sternum level, shoot the elbows through, akin to an upper-cut, held strong against the rib cage and allowing the bell to smoothly land against the forearm, nestled on the bicep / deltoid region while you simultaneously dip slightly underneath to "soften the catch". While maybe this might seem like an obtuse metaphor to some but I liken it to fielding a hot ground ball, seamlessly absorbing it up into your glove. At the completion of this part of the lift your fists will be pointed directly towards your chin and your body has absorbed the downward force. With the weight now resting, lift the elbow ("the flipper"), thus allowing the bell to smoothly descend in reverse order of the lift and begin the next repetition.
- Power SnatchI wish to heavily stress the mechanics of this lift as I only lift it in the "pull-through" fashion as opposed to "swing" style, given that the pull through places greater emphasis on leg drive and is less likely to overly stress the lower back and shoulder capsule. Once you learn the pull-through style you will find this lift extremely simple technically but a powerful overall muscle builder. Standing upright with feet slightly shoulder-width apart. If you are performing with one bell, place hand in middle and opposite to side or on hip to assist with balance. In the event you are performing with two bells, you can elect, based upon personal preference to hold kb's between knees or to the outside. To initiate movement push hips / buttocks back. Do not, I repeat do not allow the back go beyond a neutral back position. From this position, drive the hips up and forward in an explosive thrust projecting the hands upward. As the momentum of the movement accelerates the bell above your chest region, you will begin turning your hand as if reaching for the top flight of a ladder / wall when climbing, in essence safely turning your hand and allowing the kettlebell to safely rest against your forearm. Like in the Power Clean, you will absorb the force of the bell softly with a very slight dipping of the knees and rebound to standing position. In returning the weight to the start position, I prefer in early stages to lower the weight safely to the shoulder as the Clean and then "flipper" it down.
- Push Press / Push Jerk / Split JerkPossibly the finest lift in developing explosive power, the Split Jerk along with the Push Jerk and Push Press are superb movements with the kettlebells. As with all the other movements I have elected to wear the XvestTM to further emphasize hip / leg drive with added weight on the trunk. In the example above with kettlebell doubles cleaned, you begin the drive phase of the lift with a slight dipping of the knee's and then powerful thrust up with legs as if jumping, projecting the load upward as you simultaneously launch in the deep split lunge position and catch bells. With bells locked firmly upright "drive" back leg forward to standing position, lower bells while dipping at knees to softly accept force and begin next repetition. In the Push Press variation the lift is performed in precisely same manner except legs do not perform the split and the weight is "caught" with legs straight. The standard (without the pictured split) Push Jerk is performed with catching the kettlebells with bend at the knees, then straightening to standing position.