KettleBell Mistakes If I was to be categorized, I have definitely been called a “Kettlebell” Guy more often than any other moniker. While I have done quite a bit of time with the “bells” and done a couple of competitions, I do not consider myself an expert. As Kettlebell training becomes more popular, there are so called “experts” popping up all over the place. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a subject. That subject….”working out” is not a subject. If you are going to teach people how to use kettlebells, it is mandatory that you have the proper training yourself. Don’t assume that just because you watched a video or have been lifting for years that you’re qualified to teach others. 1. Neglected Specifics of the Kettlebell Find a experienced coach and learn from them. NOW. The most common mistake I see from coaches and personal trainers is assuming that because they know how to lift and train, they can simply figure out the Kettlebell lifts on their own. Having a strength training background is helpful when learning Kettlebell skills, but there are still specific nuances that must be applied towards Kettlebell lifts that are only present in Kettlebells. I’ve met talented coaches who can lift beautifully but their swings makes me die a little inside. Grip: Where, When, How, Transitions: All Important Shoulder Positioning: Packed? Internal/External Rotation? Pivot Point of the Bell when Snatching? Points of Contact with the Clean? Gaze? Foot Placement and Weight Distribution? You should know these if you are coaching people and why they are important to know. 2. Move well before you Move fast 10 years ago Kettlebells were still relatively unheard of. “Kettlebell” has now become a buzz word thanks to brands at Target and Jillian and Bob’s KB DVDS. “Oh kettleBALLS, yeah I use those.” is one of my favorite phrases from trainers.
Understanding movement is the foundation to any successful strength training program. If we make the training about the Kettlebell and not about teaching our clients efficient, pain free human movement, we are missing the point.
3. Is your swing ugly?
Sadly, it’s done wrong more than it’s done right. The swing is not a squat with a front raise. It is a hip hinge with an explosive hip extension ending with a rigid upright torso. No hyper extension, no half ass posterior chain loading for speed, etc. The main purpose of the swing is to develop hip extension. Pattern the deadlift, learn to activate your core and your glutes and keep those hips mobile.
4. The Turkish Get Up is not “get up off the ground by any means necessary”.
The wrist and elbow MUST be straight. The arm MUST be perpendicular to the ground. The shoulder MUST be packed. These are musts for a proper get up. Just because you get off the ground, doesn’t mean you did a get up. Please take the time to really feel this lift out. I often tell my clients to pause for a 2 count at each position, as if they’re getting their picture taken at a photo shoot. Beginners are notorious for blowing through this lift, and not really milking all of its benefits. When in doubt, slow it down!
In my next article I will break down a couple of common errors on the Swing, Clean, and Snatch.