Once a month, the trainers at DIAKADI get together for what we call “Trainer Sharing Programs.” In these programs, a single trainer decides to share a certain aspect of their specialty to the other trainers. On Friday March 25, 2011, Ramon Bostic hosted a seminar involving Kettlebell training. Kettlebell training has become an increasingly popular alternative to conventional weightlifting because it combines full body movements and the exercises require less space than working with dumbbells. Additional benefits of Kettlebell training include but are not limited to: improved cardiovascular fitness, increased joint mobility, functional strength increases, and improved core strength.
The seminar covered three Kettlebell techniques: The swing, the clean, and the Push-Press.
1) THE KETTLEBELL SWING GRIP VIEWS
Figure 1a Figure 1b
The starting position for this exercise includes the following: eyes looking forward, back straight, shoulders packed, spread feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, both feet flat on the floor. Keep arms straight but not locked. Start the exercise by grabbing the kettlebell handle by the corner that is facing the foot that is opposite of the side you are reaching from (i.e. have kettlebell handle pointing to your left foot if you are gripping it with your right hand) (Figure 1a). Allow about 2 feet of space between you and the kettlebell when you are gripping it (Figure 1b). Then pick up the kettlebell by flexing at your trunk and then swing the kettlebell in between your legs (Figure 2a and 2b).
Figure 2a Figure 2b Figure 2c
ASCENT: Extend at your hips to drive your arms upward (Figure 2c). Do not flex and extend your knees to perform this movement (as if you were performing squat) to bring the Kettlebell upwards. Keep your arms straight but not locked while performing this motion.
DESCENT: Once the kettlebell has reached its apex in the swing, follow-through with the Kettlebell on its descent back down to your starting position (Figure 2a and 2b). Keep your back straight, shoulders packed, and arms straight but not locked during this movement phase. Exhale during the descent phase and inhale during the ascent phase. To make the swing easier, fix your eyes on the Kettlebell during the swinging motion. This will not only help ensure proper technique, but it will also help lower your risk of injury during the exercise.
2) THE KETTLEBELL CLEAN
This exercise is the next step up from the Kettlebell swing (this can be done with single arm or both arms).
Figure 3a Figure 3b Figure 3c
Figure 3d Figure 3e Figure 3f
Begin this exercise as you would for the Kettlebell Swing (Figure 3d).
ASCENT: When you have reached the apex of the Kettlebell swing (Figure 3e), flex your elbow and adduct your shoulder to pull the Kettlebell towards your chest. While you are performing this motion, scoop your fingers around the handle and roll your wrist (thumbside outward) as you catch the Kettlebell. The final position should have the Kettlebell under your chin, with your elbow flexed, and your arm tucked tight into your chest. Shift the weight on your hips forward and laterally so that the same hip is supporting the weight of the Kettlebell you are holding (i.e. if the Kettlebell is in your right hand, your right hip should be supporting it). PLEASE NOTE: The swinging motion of the Kettlebell in this exercise is NOT the same as in the Kettlebell Swing exercise described earlier. When swinging the Kettlebell, you will want the Kettlebell closer to your chest once it reaches the apex of the swing (Figure 3e). Look at Figures 3e and 2c to compare the difference of the positions.
DESCENT: Extend your elbow and flex at the hips to set the weight down. While you are performing this motion, think of it as being the reverse of the clean motion.
Figure 3g Figure 3h
Exhale during the ascent phase and inhale during the descent phase. PLEASE NOTE: the arc of the swing to the clean should be lesser than the arc of the regular Kettlebell swing. Also take note of the difference between the grip on the Kettlebell at the beginning of the movement compared to the end of the movement (Figures 3g and 3h).
3) THE KETTLEBELL PUSH-PRESS
This exercise is the next step up from the Kettlebell clean. You will be using the strength of your legs as well as your arms during this exercise movement. Start this exercise from the final position of the Kettlebell Clean (Figure 4a and 4d).
Figure 4 a Figure 4b Figure 4c
Figure 4d Figure 4e Figure 4f
WIND-UP: Start this exercise movement by flexing your knees and flexing your pelvis (sticking your buttocks out).
ACCELERATION: During this part of the Ascent Phase, extend your knees and extend your pelvis (bringing your butt back in) (Figure 4b and 4e). At the same time simultaneously abduct your shoulders and extend your elbows to bring the Kettlebell above your head.
PEAK HEIGHT: As you are bringing the Kettlebell above you, rotate your wrist so your thumb is facing towards your body’s center (Figure 4c, 4f, and 4g). It is important that you keep your back straight and your eyes looking forward during this movement so as to prevent injury.
DESCENT: Let the Kettlebell fall back down to the starting position in a controlled manner (flexing at the elbows, adducting at the shoulders and simultaneously flexing at the knees and hips). Once the Kettlebells are tucked back under your chin as they were at the beginning of the exercise, stand up straight with your knees slightly bent. Exhale during the ascent phase and inhale during the descent phase.