So – you may have had your first visit with an RKC or HKC instructor and learned to do the kettlebell swing ! (Big shout out to Mark, Nick, and Tony!) Now you’re back home, have given yourself a rest and are no longer gnashing your teeth because of being sore in weird places.
Where to start?! Here’s a couple of routines you can use to reinforce and practice what you learned:
Joint Mobility warm up to begin
Then snag a dowel or broom and practice the hip hinge – keeping the dowel down the center of your back, in contact with the back of your head, the middle of your back, and your tail bone. Remember sit back with the hips – the knees will naturally bend a LITTLE but that shouldn’t be the big part of the movement.
Here’s a video about the hip hinge for review:
Practice face the wall squats, concentrate on pulling yourself down, don’t just drop.
Remember that whenever you touch a kettlebell, even just to move it, keep your abs tight – this will help to protect your back – and will give you good habits for working with heavier weights.
“Jump” through your heels, keeping all four corners of your feet in contact with the ground.With your kettlebell swings, always focus on quality over quantity - make each rep count, learn from each rep and make the next one better. Click To Tweet With your kettlebell swings, always focus on quality over quantity – make each rep count, learn from each rep and make the next one better. If you need to, grab the dowel and remind yourself of the hip hinge movement pattern. Always lock out at the top of the swing. If something feels wrong or you get out of your groove, stop, re-hike the kettlebell and start again.
If you’re starting from a fairly sedentary lifestyle you may wish to just start with this on most days:
- 5 minutes of swings, 30seconds work, 30 seconds rest (keep moving)
Alternately – you can mix it up:
- 10 swings, 10 deadlifts repeat 10x resting as needed
- 10 swings, 10 deadlifts, 10 push ups 5 or 10x through, resting as needed
Or get “fancy” with a “twisted ladder”
- 10 swings, 1 deadlift (or body weight squat, wall squat etc.)
- 9 swings, 2 deadlifts
- 8 swings, 3 deadlifts
- down to 1 swing, 10 deadlifts
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! This isn’t really just a workout – you’re learning a skill – and all skills need practice. We’re all still working on our swing – I most certainly am, my strength coach is, and everyone that really wants to get better, fitter, stronger all the way up to Master level RKCs are constantly looking to improve and hone their skills. Never stop learning, and don’t discount the power of consistent practice. Stop before you get so tired that your form suffers. Your conditioning will improve over time as well – don’t think you have to run yourself into the ground every time, especially not while you’re trying to learn the basics at first.
Safety first, and always rest when necessary – keep moving, don’t sit down or lay down – its bad for your heart.
- If you REALLY want to dig in (and while this is an instructor course, I know there’s a lot of you out there who really want to get the nitty gritty…) then check out Dragon Door’s highly detailed online entry level HardstyleFit kettlebell certification. Working through this program also gives you the opportunity to send in video technique tests to be graded by Master RKC instructors. Upon completing the testing process you will even get a 50% discount code for an in-person kettlebell workshop of your choice
- The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge by Dan John will review and expand on the ideas above and provide a myriad of workout ideas and plans to take your training to the next level… safely and sustainably!
- Master the Kettlebell by Max Shank lays out the details of the basic movements and more going forward as well as very detailed and surprisingly simple workout plans based on his easy to follow template.
- Super Joints (A Pavel Classic that reviews a lot of what we do in our warm up – check out my review of it)
For after you get going with the basics:
- Josh Hillis’s 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge (if you want a great challenge that’s going to get you in the habit of consistent training, then this is for you. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced programs. Great Value!)
- Kettlebell Goddess (Sure its “for women” but the workouts are great for anyone) great program design and versatile workout formats on this DVD – not to mention STELLAR demos and explanations from the Kettlebell Goddess herself, Andrea Du Cane
- Convict Conditioning – round out your workouts with these powerful bodyweight drills – starting from absolute zero. Can’t do a “regulation” push up yet? This book will get you there – and beyond. I use these drills, and I’ve also used the progressions with a variety of clients – including grandmas!