You might be forgiven for thinking the Kettlebell (or girya) is a modern fitness tool that has swept through the industry in recent years. But it is actually centuries old and has been a staple in the development of strength.
Initially making its appearance in the 1700′s, Russian farmers used it to weigh and move crops.
It is said that these same farmers began using the kettlebell to show off feats of strength at festivals and other mass community gatherings. It was a short time before the circus and Strongmen began using kettlebells for various lifting showcases and eventually the kettlebell became a regular tool in the physical culture of Russian movement practice and military training.
Kettlebell vs Dumbbell
Since its dawn the kettlebell has become a regular tool for anyone looking to change their physical body. Unlike the dumbbell, the kettlebell’s mass is extended beyond the hand creating and entirely different movement practice.
If you want to get strong, burn fat, improve range of motion, build cardiovascular endurance simply begin training with a kettlebell. If your gym does not have kettlebells, consider finding another gym or purchasing one for yourself. You simply will not regret this investment in yourself.
When it comes to creating an ultimate kettlebell training session, it does not need to be all that complex.
All of the kettlebell movements are compound movements. Compound movements are movements that involve the use of more than one joint to perform. This also means that you are working multiple muscle groups at once which is exactly how the human body is designed to work.
Isolation exercises may serve a specific purpose but it is not a proper reflection of how the human body moves naturally.
Simply put, the human body moves in essentially 4-5 different ways depending on who you talk to. But for the sake of this article we are talking the most basic patterns being the Push, Pull, Hinge and Squat. Building an ideal kettlebell training program would address these patterns to some degree.
I give you:
The Turkish Get up
5 sets of 1 rep per side
The get up is believed to have been developed in what is now Turkey by ancient wrestlers as a strength based exercise to prepare them for the intensive and gruelling competitions. Another legend regarding the get up is that when an old-time strongman would take on an apprentice. If you wanted to train with a true strongman, you were to take the Turkish get up and not return to training until you could complete one get up using a 100lb weight. If you could do this, then you were ready to begin true Strongman training.
The get up is simply one of the greatest movements ever developed. When performing this movement your body will be targeted in upper and lower body stability, Upper and lower body mobility, Full body strength, cardiovascular endurance and Vestibular, visual and proprioceptive system stimulation.
There are few better movements to train the human body.
There are many steps to this movement and initially it may seem quite complex. I recommend you master this movement prior to ever using a weight. A good practice is to take an object like your shoe and balance it on your starting arm fist. Keep it balanced throughout the entire movement. Once you can do this 5 times on each side successfully you are ready to train with a kettlebell.
Perform the below instructions replacing the word “Kettlebell” with “Shoe” until you have mastered this movement.
STEP 1: Starting Position
Lie on your back on the floor with the kettlebell placed next to your right shoulder.
STEP 2: Raise Your Bell
Roll to your right, keeping your right elbow pinned close to your body, and take the kettlebell into your right hand. Then roll onto your back and cradle the kettlebell to your chest. Your left arm is stretched out on the floor at about 45 degrees to your body.
With your left leg out straight, bend your right leg so your right foot is flat on the floor. With your right arm, slowly lift the kettlebell straight up, locking out your right elbow. Keep your eyes peeled on the kettlebell – they should remain that way for the duration of this exercise.
STEP 3: Onto Your Elbow
Pressing your right foot firmly into the floor, roll up onto your left elbow while continuing to hold the kettlebell up high. This is like a partial sit-up with elbow support, and you’ll be on your left butt cheek.
STEP 4: Onto Your Hand
Once you’re stable at the elbow, continue rolling up until you are supporting yourself on your left hand. You now have three bases of support – your left hand, right foot, and left butt cheek.
STEP 5: High Bridge
Squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the ground, keeping your arm extended perfectly vertically. Remember to keep you eyes focused on that kettlebell! You now have only two bases of support (left hand and right foot), as your hips are no longer in contact with the ground.
STEP 6: Sweep Your Leg
With your hips lifted high, sweep your left leg under your body, back to a point where your knee is on the ground beneath you. You’ll end up in a position that angles your legs at about 90 degrees to each other. One knee will be pointing straight ahead, and the other should point directly at your hand on the floor. Keep your neck rotated upward, looking up at the bell.
STEP 7: Up Tall
Take your left hand off the floor and bring your body upright. “Windshield wiper” the leg that’s on the ground until your legs are parallel to each other in a lunge position.
STEP 8: Stand Up
Driving from your back foot through your hips and into your front foot, stand up from the lunge while keeping the kettlebell straight overhead, tightening your core as you rise. Bring your feet together. Breathe… you’re halfway there!
STEP 9: Reverse Lunge
Step back into the lunge so that your left knee is on the floor again, with the kettlebell still raised high.
STEP 10: Windshield Wiper and Hip Hinge
“Windshield wiper” your left leg until it’s perpendicular to your right. Fold your hips over and place your left hand just in front of the knee on the floor.
STEP 11: Sweep Your Leg
Sweep your left leg forward until it’s straight out in front of you, heel pressed into the floor, supporting yourself once again on your left hand.
STEP 12: Back to Your Elbow
Very slowly and with control, drop your butt back down to the floor, lowering yourself to your left forearm.
STEP 13: Finish, Repeat
Very slowly, lower your torso down onto your shoulders and back, keeping your eyes fixed on the kettlebell raised above you. Slowly lower the bell to your stomach. Roll toward your side and place the bell on the floor. Congratulations, you’re done with the first rep and ready to start the next!
Perform this Movement 1 rep 5 times on each side daily until you have mastered it. Keep in mind this movement is very slow and controlled. There is never an excuse for being in a bad position.
Come back on Friday 9/30/16 for part 2 with more exercises and detailed instruction