5 ways to integrate Kettlebells into your training
Kettlebell workouts are hugely effective. Fitness professionals need to coach KB exercises patiently to ensure their biggest benefit does not become their biggest weakness. The very fact that high amounts of overload - consider posterior kinetic chain activation during swings, for example - bring such unique training benefits is one reason why KB training is so effective. Our job as fitness professionals is to ensure that safe and effective coaching and exercise prescription ensures that clients don’t make the mistake of doing too much too soon. Often the answer is to integrate kettlebells into a client’s workout: you wouldn’t take a client on a 1 hour run if they had never run before, so you can imagine how ill-advised it would be to take a client new to KB training through a 1-hour KB session!
Consider utilising the Kettlebell for mobilisation, nervous system activation, cardiovascular training, training goal alignment and whole body integration:
Weight bearing mobility drills prepare the joints very effectively. Initially, body temperature needs to be elevated and synovial fluid viscosity optimised by an effective pulse raiser which should then include movements to cover all major joints, progressively increasing range of motion. The use of a kettlebell allows for the movements expected within the main session to be mimicked during mobilisation. Here is an example Kettlebell mobility sequence to prepare the client for a whole body cardiovascular and resistance training workout:
Perform 5 repetitions of the following in one direction/on one side then repeat entire sequence in opposite direction/on other side:
- Pass around the body
- One arm dead clean
- One arm push press
- Lunge into rotation (KB in rack position)
- Lateral lunge (KB in rack position)
- One arm bottoms up clean
- Single arm swing
- One arm bent row
Nervous system activation
Specific activation drills can be used to fire neuromuscular pathways. The single leg deadlift is a great way to engage the Gluteals whilst the swing is great for muscle contraction sequencing across the posterior kinetic chain. Complex neuromuscular adaptations can also be achieved with kettlebell snatches and jerks without the need for cumbersome Olympic barbells.
Duration, weight, repetitions, rest time, tempo and range of motion can all be modified to ensure the following kettlebell complex achieves the desired heart rate for your client:
- Single arm swing (right)
- Double arm swing
- Single arm swing (left)
- Turkish Get-Up (right)
- Turkish Get-Up (left)
- Snatch (right)
- Snatch (left)
- Tri-planar Lunge (right)
- Tri-planar Lunge (left)
- Figure of 8
This kettlebell complex could be integrated into a workout at a client’s home and could be built up from a 10 minute to 20 minute component.
Training goal alignment
It’s fair to say that a huge proportion of clients want to decrease bodyfat percentage. Integrating kettlebell lifts into an existing workout can be a great way to progress to a more dynamic session that works more muscles simultaneously whilst keeping the heart rate elevated and thus maximising calorie expenditure.
Whole body integration
Sat on a fixed resistance machine or spin bike, the body will have to move in the way that the equipment dictates. No such problem with the kettlebell – you really can improve movement efficiency in the exact way that your client was designed to move – in all three planes of motion simultaneously.
If you’re interested in learning about Kettlebell training, and want to become qualified! Have a look at our Complete Kettlebell Trainer course here>>.