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July 06, 2022 3 min read

Master The Basics: Kettlebells

The kettlebell is a fundamental piece of equipment, allowing us to work multiple planes of motion. Almost every gym, or training space, has a form of kettlebell, making them extremely accessible, portable and versatile.

 

With varying weights we can work strength and power, as well as hypertrophic gains and the lighter weights are perfect for single side work accessory work or just to master form and fundamentals, including those of bar based compound movements.

The key to mastering the kettlebell is to make sure that you don’t push your movements into hyperextension. Keep your muscle engaged and don’t push the range of joints, push the muscle tissue and focus on correct form. Work up the weight and keep range of motion full.

I’m going to list a couple of fundamental exercises for each plane of motion, per section of the body, so that you can string a few exercises together to get the most out of your training session with some great functional movements.

First let’s start with the movement patterns and which exercises can be attributed to which pattern;

Push: Chest Press, Shoulder Press, (Single Sided) KB Push Up, Tricep Extensions from Bench
Pull: Row, High Pull, Shoulder Raises, Bicep Curls
Squat: Goblet Squat, Single Leg Step Ups, Lunges, Split/ATG Squats
Hinge: Deadlift, RDL, Single Leg Deadlift, KB Swings, Tib Raises
Rotation: Russian Twists, Reach Up with Rotation, Straight Arm Rotations
Anti Rotation: Farmer Carries

To get a nice full body workout, we want to use one or two exercises from each pattern during a session. For example;  KB Push Up, Rows, Single Leg Step Ups, Single Leg Deadlift, Russian Twists & Farmer Carries. You can mix and match these depending on your goals and training ability, or add in others. I’ve just listed some of the starting exercises for you to get involved! Below I’ve listed potential rep ranges for those exercises to mix and match the outcomes of a training session;

-Single Sided KB Push Up (70%1RM) 10-12 es x 4
-Single Sided Rows (75% 1RM) 12 es x 4
-Rest 1 min
-Single Leg Step Ups (80%1RM) – 6-8 es x 4
-Single Leg Deadlifts (80%1RM) – 6-8 es x 4
-Rest 1 min
-Russian Twists (70%1RM) – 1 min
-Farmer Carries (80%1RM) – 1 min
-Rest 1 min

-Repeat x 3 – (rest 30-45 secs between sets)

Again, feel free to mix and match ranges and sets to suit you. For reps, aim for 3-6 for pure strength and power, 8-12 for muscle gain and 15+ for endurance. With movement speed, fast and powerful muscle engagement on the main focus of the movement for strength and power e.g. the pull up on a deadlift, for muscle gain, a two count on the way up in a movement and a two count on the way down in a movement works well (generally speaking). Perfecting form with lighter weight in your warm up is a good way to practice and ‘grease the groove’ to maximise your output and muscle engagement. Also with rest periods, shorter rest for endurance work (your kettle bell swings, etc) and longer rest periods for strength and power as you will be recruiting your muscle fibres more quickly and getting the nervous system involved, and that needs some big time recovery! Muscle gain lies somewhere in between the two, depending on your own unique training circumstances.

With these guidelines and exercises you can get started creating your own routines. Test each movement first, one side might be weaker than the other on a movement for example, so make sure you balance that out by performing extra reps on the weaker side or some accessory work to compliment your compound movements, isolating and working on that particular area that needs it.

You can find the Kettlebells in the Gravity Fitness Functional Fitness store, so what are you waiting for? Get busy bellin’ now!

Tag us on IG @gravity.fitness to show us your KB workouts!