It happens to all of us – after months or even years of staying consistent with our physical training, we begin to get a little bored. Everything feels redundant, boring, and even stagnant. When there is no structure around a strength practice, it quickly slides into aimless wandering.


Knowing when you need external input to jolt you awake and back into growth mode is a mark of true character and maturity. And by growth, I don’t just mean physical growth or muscle growth. I’m talking about the multi-dimensional growth that happens in conjunction with physical challenges and pushes your own limits of self-understanding and capability.


double kettlebell swing

To get the most out of your training, practice and appreciate the foundations. [Photo courtesy of Brandon Hofer]


Training Is an Opportunity for Growth

Think back to the last time you were really pushed to grow. Maybe it was by your own choice, or maybe by the collective choices of you and those around you. What happened when your mental and emotional capacity was stretched to your current limit? Did you rise to the occasion or shrink back and choose the same life you had yesterday?


Regardless of what you’ve chosen in the past, this series of articles is an invitation to take a massive leap forward and challenge your personal strength and mental acuity. What you will discover is that when you create space in your life for one type of challenge and growth, other types of challenges will present themselves, but you will only see these new opportunities if you are on the lookout. Carving out space in your life to pursue physical strength and higher-level skills will also refine other elements in your life that you’ve been neglecting. It reveals the need to develop these elements, and if you set your mind right from the beginning, you’ll be confronted with them daily. As yoga master B.K.S Iyengar says,


“Development of the mind can be accomplished only when the body has been disciplined.”


The real question is whether or not you will allow practicing these skills to do the same for you. They can be great tools for fat loss and strength building in their own right, but why stop there? Why not open yourself up to the possibilities that real growth could present to you?


Respect and Revisit the Foundations

As we dive into higher-level kettlebell skills, the imperative to maintain the essentials of the basic skills becomes even more critical.


The purpose of this series is to help you develop your foundational kettlebell skills and also prompt you to try some new skills. Whenever workouts become stagnant, we often default to the mindset of needing heavier weights, more reps, more training frequency, or even setting aside working out altogether to try something new. By shifting gears and focusing on skill development, we force our bodies into new adaptations and meet the inner need to become better and grow internally, which keeps us engaged in the process.


Here are the foundational kettlebell skills we will cover in this series:


  • Swings – To solidify your hip hinge movement pattern.
  • Cleans – To direct your energy and gain control of the kettlebell.
  • Presses – To build abdominal and shoulder stability and prep your body for what’s next.
  • Turkish Get Ups – For total body awareness under tension as a precursor to the bent press.
  • Snatches – For dynamic conditioning and a rock solid upper back.
  • Squats – To build lower body strength and the integration between lats, abs, and glutes.


Try the following workout to practice the foundational skills:


10 rounds (5R/L):

  • A1 - Swings x10
  • A2 - Clean & Press x5
  • A3 - Front Squat x5


5 rounds:

  • B1 – Turkish Getup x1R/1L
  • B2 – Snatches x10R/10L


Stay tuned for more, including tips and drills for practicing the push press, the windmill, and the bent press. In the meantime, work your foundations.


Does your kettlebell clean need help?

Cleaning Up Your Kettlebell Clean, Part 1


Coaches: Are you saying the right things?

Grip It: Coaching Cues for Stronger Kettlebell Lifts