You can hear your mail carrier curse as he lugs your package up to your door. You squeal with excitement as the sounds of heavy breathing gets closer and closer. It’s finally here! You have been waiting for your kettlebell and now you will get a chance to bust this bad boy out of the box and send your fat flying for cover.
But wait! Not so fast my eager kettlebell maniac. Before you get swinging, you need to check your basics and you had better check them well.
Give Yourself the Gift of a Great Coach
If you are training on your own, the best thing you can do is give yourself the gift of a great coach. I meet people all over the world who try to save a little money by teaching themselves kettlebell basics, and they all have at least one thing in common – bad habits.
Bad habits are like bad ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends – they linger. Habits are hard to create and even harder to break. If you are serious about getting in shape and using kettlebells, then it’s best to learn the right way from the beginning.
Take your time and find a qualified trainer who knows what he or she is doing. People spend more time shopping for a pair of shoes than they do a good trainer. A good trainer will not only keep your workouts fun and safe, but he or she will also save you a ton of time stumbling around in the dark making mistakes that will take months or years to correct.
Three Deadly Sins of the One-Arm Kettlebell Swing
I spend most of my time on the road teaching personal trainers how to use kettlebells, and I can tell you they make the same mistakes everyone else does. Some of the most common mistakes can be found in the one-arm kettlebell swing.
When it comes to this move, there are three deadly sins that beginners tend to make with their non-working arm and I want to help you avoid them. To get the most out of your training don’t do any of the following:
- Hand on Your Hip: There is a time and place for everything but touching yourself is best left for after you train. Get that hand off your hip!
- Hand on Your Knee: Once again, stop touching yourself and focus on your swing. By placing your hand on your knee or thigh, you ruin the alignment of your backswing.
- Dead Arm: Hanging your non-working arm to your side is like running with your arms straight down. If you wouldn’t run that way, then don’t swing that way.
“If you want to improve your one-arm swing, you need to swing both arms.”
Now that we have established that you aren’t allowed to touch yourself or dangle your arm like it was paralyzed with a tranquilizer, you should learn what you are supposed to do with that arm. Swing it!
Seriously, it’s that simple. If you want to improve your one-arm swing, you need to swing both arms. Swinging your non-working arm in unison with your kettlebell arm will help you coordinate the movement and develop better power and timing.
The Swing-It Kettlebell Workout
Once you get the hang of the swing, try this workout. Work your way through this list and then rest for one minute. Your goal should be to get through three to five rounds, depending on your conditioning.
- 30 seconds – Two Hand Swing
- 30 seconds – Around the Body Pass
- 30 seconds – One Hand Swing (right)
- 30 seconds – Around the Body Pass
- 30 seconds – One Hand Swing (left)
- 30 seconds – Double Bottoms Up Press
This workout is designed to sharpen your fundamentals and build a solid foundation of endurance and kettlebell swing basics. Use this workout as an opportunity to polish up your swings and develop the kind of technique that will help you get the most out of your training. Now, have fun and go get swinging!
Photos courtesy of Craig Marker.