Kettlebell Kings Blog

Building Your Back With Kettlebells

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 23, 2016 4:58:15 PM

Build Your Lats & Upper Back With Kettlebells

You thought kettlebells were only for functional training? They are phenomenal for body building and aesthetic training as well.  You can get some incredible results with kettlebells added to your routine. When training for aesthetics you want to maximize the pump and focus on particular muscles, which you can with kettlebells, even more so than you can with dumbbells and barbells because of the mobility they allow compared to other training. 

Part Three in our collaboration with the team at Mind Pump Media is all about building the back muscles for aesthetic training.  If this is your first time reading, we previously covered leg building exercises as well as shoulders.  

Who Is Mind Pump?

The guys at Mind Pump have a really popular podcast  in which they shed truth on health, fitness and a host of other topics by providing unique perspectives about workout programs, supplements and faux science.  They are all experienced, certified professionals and are unique even in their own space because of their approach to training by incorporating tools like kettlebells into a space in which they are under utilized.

Building Your Back With Kettlebells

Everyone has seen the famous kettlebell swing.  The movement that burst onto the mainstream fitness scene within the last 15 years (though it has been around for a long time) is an awesome functional movement for building the posterior chain, building power and muscle endurance.  However, few people have thought of the swing as something to combine with other exercises as a muscle builder.  

Below is a unique super set that you can do for your back with kettlebells utilizing rows and kettlebell swings.

Kettlebell Row

  • Start with a staggered or split stance (one leg in front of the other), with the kettlebell to one side of you and hinge your hips back to get into position with a nice level back
  • start with a pronated hand grip (the back of your hand is facing foward gripping the kettlebell) in order to add some rotation, grab the kettlebell and look forward with your eyes
  • pull the kettlebell up toward using your back while rotating it in (shown below) 
  • squeeze the shoulder blade in at the top and let it down
  • utilize the rotation of the bell to work the rhomboids, the lats, and mid traps when you squeeze at the top
  • Aim for 10-15 reps and immediately switch to the close grip upright row

Yes, you can do a similar row with a dumbbell, but the difference here is how it feels and affects your back muscles because the weight is further down from your hand due to the shape which creates a longer lever when you pull upward. Just like the other movements we have shown, the key here is the center of gravity of the weight and the mobility it allows for your muscles.  Then, immediately go into the next movement, working the same side of the body. 

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Topics: kettlebell, back workout, body building

Chest Building Kettlebell Workouts

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 23, 2016 4:58:12 PM

We are excited to collaborate with the team at Mind Pump Media on a five part series to bring you some kettlebell exercises and movements designed to build your physique and muscle mass with kettlebells.  The first few posts in our series covered legs, back an shoulders. In Part 4 we will be dissecting a chest building super set with kettlebells. 

Myths

There is a misconception that kettlebells are only good for functional training and even among the lifters who use kettlebells for aesthetic training; the one muscle group most people do not think of kettlebells for is the chest. The guys at Mind Pump will show you why this is a myth because of the pec activation you can achieve with kettlebells.  

Why Train Your Chest With Kettlebells?

The movements that kettlebells allow for compared to traditional barbells or dumbbells will make you feel more of a squeeze at the top of these movements and allow you to go deeper into your press at the bottom compared to what you are used to.  You will be hitting your chest muscles in a different way then they are used to and different is the key here for building muscle, specifically more range of motion will build the entire muscle better than limited range. 

Kettlebell Bridge Press (Shown Below)

  • Lay down with your back flat on the ground and a kettlebell to each side 
  • Bring your feet up so that your knees are bent at about 45 degree angles (demonstrated)
  • Bring your hips all the way up off the ground and activate your glutes and squeeze so you have a neutral spine. This will allow you to get a lot deeper into your press
  • Your shoulders will be automatically retracted in this position as well
  • Press the kettlebells upward, keep your elbows tight, squeeze the chest at the top of the press, barely letting your elbows touch the ground
  • Aim for 10-15 reps and immediately switch to the next movement
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Topics: kettlebell, body building

Building Your Arms With Kettlebells

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 23, 2016 4:58:09 PM

Here it is, Part 5 in our our collaboration with the team at Mind Pump Media.  So far, we have brought you kettlebell movements for building your legs, back, shoulders and chest.  In this last post we will cover using kettlebells to build your arms. (insert shocked emoji).  We hope you have enjoyed our series on kettlebell exercises and movements designed to build your physique and muscle mass with kettlebells. Our goal is always to create helpful, informative and safe content for you to explore the world of kettlebells and we think using kettlebells for building muscle mass is an untapped area in our world and that of Mind Pump Media. 

This should not be that controversial, but we have a feeling it will be. It seems that the idea of building your arm muscles with kettlebells might be the thing that traditional kettlebell folks and traditional body building folks can unite on, in both not liking the idea.  Back when we first started we posted an image on Instagram of one of us curling a kettlebell and it did not go over so well and we never did it again. Hear us out, and like any post we make you do not have to do it, but our posts are designed to be informative and bring different types of training to different types of people. 

Building Biceps & Triceps With Kettlebells

If you are trying to build your arms, why would you consider kettlebells? The answer is the shape of the kettlebell, center of gravity and the way it rests on your wrist and forearms. Because of this, it causes a lot of stabilizer muscles to have to kick in and do work while you perform these movements.  Also, the center of gravity created by the kettlebell resting on your forearm at the top of the curl or tricep exercise will create more tension at the top of the movement compared to a dumbbell and really make you work throughout the movement.

Kettlebell Bicep Curls

  • With a wide stance, pick up both of the kettlebells in front of you with your palms facing outward (pronated) so that you are holding the kettlebells with the handles pointed toward each other (shown)
  • It is okay to use your hips a bit for momentum but you do want to focus on using your biceps to bring the kettlebells up
  • Curl the kettlebells while rotating on the way up so that at the top of the curl your palms are facing outward or supinated (shown)
  • Keep your arms in tight to the body 
  • Aim for 10-15 reps and immediately switch to the close grip upright row
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Topics: kettlebell, arm workout, body building

Kettlebell Shoulder Super Set

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 23, 2016 2:30:57 PM

Part Two in our collaboration with the team at Mind Pump Media is all about building the shoulders for aesthetic training.  In the first post, we covered leg building exercises but in part two we will focus on the shoulders to show you some kettlebell exercises and movements designed to build your physique and muscle mass with kettlebells. Our goal is always to create helpful, informative and safe content for you to explore the world of kettlebells and we think using kettlebells for building muscle mass is an untapped area in our world and theirs. Let us get to it!

You thought kettlebells were only for functional training? They are phenomenal for body building and aesthetic training.  You can get some incredible results with kettlebells added to your routine. When training for aesthetics you want to maximize the pump and focus on particular muscles, which you can with kettlebells, even more so than you can with dumbells and barbells.  Mind Pump is going to show you a muscle building, pump inducing combo with a super set of front presses and close grip upright rows. 

kettlebell workouts

Building Shoulders with Kettlebells

The guys at Mind Pump actually prefer using kettlebells for muscle building and bodybuilding shoulder presses in place of the traditional dumbbell shoulder press. Why? Kettlebells allow for a more natural movement because of the way the shoulder wants to move and rotate as you press. Kettlebells also create a good, deep range of movement for the delt.  Below is a unique super set that you can do for your shoulders with kettlebells, but not as well with dumbbells. 

Front Kettlebell Shoulder Press

  • Using two kettlebells, start by picking up the kettlebells like a deadlift, using your hips and getting into the rack position  (demonstrated below)
  • Kettlebells rest on arms, arms are tight into the body. DO NOT let your elbows flare out. The weight should be supported by your body 
  • Push the kettlebells upward in a nice, spiral line pattern while you press to full extension
  • Do not let your wrist break at the top, keep your wrist straight at the top of the extension overhead
  • Hands overhead should be aligned with ears, shoulders and hips
  • Aim for 10-15 reps and immediately switch to the close grip upright row
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Topics: kettlebell, body building, shoulder workout

Leg Building Kettlebell Workouts

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 23, 2016 2:30:14 PM

We are excited to collaborate with the team at Mind Pump Media on a five part series to bring you some kettlebell exercises and movements designed to build your physique and muscle mass with kettlebells. Our goal is always to create helpful, informative and safe content for you to explore the world of kettlebells and we think using kettlebells for building muscle mass is an untapped area in our world and theirs.  The guys at Mind Pump have a really popular podcast  in which they shed truth on health, fitness and a host of other topics by providing unique perspectives about workout programs, supplements and faux science.  They are all experienced, certified professionals and are unique even in their own space because of their approach to training by incorporating tools like kettlebells into a space in which they are under utilized. Let us get to it!

Myths

There is a misconception that kettlebells are only good for functional training. They are also really good for body building and aesthetic training. Mind Pump will show you a muscle building, pump inducing combo with a super set of front loaded kettlebell squats and back loaded kettlebell lunges. 

Superset For #Legday, It's A Thing.

You can get some phenomenal results with kettlebells added to your routine. When training for aesthetics you want to maximize the pump and focus on particular muscles, which you can with kettlebells. You can use kettlebells similar to how you have used barbells and dumbbells to provide a stimulus to your muscles but you can do more by isolating those muscles in ways that you are unable to with dumbbells and barbells as well as gain mobility.  For example, Mind Pump suggests using kettlebells on front loaded squats (demonstrated below) because a lot of bodybuilders have a hard time with internal rotations of the shoulders and using kettlebells helps with the mobility because it is easier to get into the front rack position. 

Front Loaded Kettlebell Squats

  • Using two kettlebells, start by picking up the kettlebells like a deadlift and getting into the rack position  (demonstrated below)
  • Kettlebells rest on arms, arms are tight into the body. You will feel more here in your thoracic then you do with traditional barbell front squats, also you will get a lot more quads and core in with this front squat compared to traditional back squat
  • Squat down into a deep squat and come back up, since you are training for aesthetic you will take the negative a little bit slower than you would on a power movement
  • Aim for 10-14 reps and immediately switch to the next movement
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Topics: kettlebell, leg workout, body building

How To Seated Press With Kettlebell

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 15, 2016 10:27:48 PM

The Texas Kettlebell Academy is a frequent contributor to our blog and one of the top kettlebell academies in the United States.  Head Coach of TX Kettlebell Academy, Aaron Vyvial, was the first person in the USA to earn the rank of Master Coach under KETACADEMY and Texas Kettlebell Academy also boasts the largest collection of competition style kettlebells in the United States.  In this post, Aaron breaks down The Seated Press with kettlebells. 

The Seated Press is a great General Physical Preparation (GPP) and fitness lift but if programmed correctly, it is a great Specific Physical Preparation (SPP) for Jerk trainingWhat do these terms mean? GPP refers to physical activities that are general to any training and provide balanced conditioning in endurance, strength and flexibility, etc. So, this is another way of saying The Seated Press is a great general fitness movement which can improve the aforementioned aspects of your fitness training. SPP refers to exercises for a specific sport or goal, in this case Kettlebell Sport training, specifically for the Jerk and aspects of Long Cycle.

The Benefits:

  • Improve overhead stability
  • Elbow strength
  • Clean lockout
  • Build muscle
  • Improve cardio

In this video, MSIC Jessica Gorman, is doing a 7' set with 45 reps, only resting in the rack position. She paces herself so that she does not reach muscle or cardio failure.

 

kettlebell workouts

 

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Topics: kettlebell

Heavy Kettlebell Lifts Part 3: Windmills

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Oct 25, 2016 12:31:00 PM

In Part 3 of our Heavy Kettlebell Series we are covering The Windmill. Oliver Quinn who collaborated with us on Part 2 is back to work with us and demonstrate in the video below.

You can find him on Instagram as @olliequinntraining, where he posts a lot of really informative and impressive posts for building strength and power.  We highly recommend you follow him for more learning on similar subjects as this. In his demonstration he will be utilizing his Kettlebell Kings 123 Pound Powder Coat Kettlebell

By Oliver Quinn:

The Windmill movement builds a number of really important aspects for heavy lifting: 
 
  • Core strength
  • Spine mobility and strength
  • Shoulder strength, stability and mobility
  • Hamstring strength and flexibility
  • Balance and coordination 

A number of these muscles are responsible for running, jumping and getting up and down all of which are required in every day life and even more so in competitive lifting. So, whether you want to compete in fitness or improve your every day life strength, this is a movement that can help.

Before trying a windmill with a kettlebell you need to make sure you have the required mobility and technique. The video below demonstrates the windmill movement without any weight used, so make sure you master the movements in the video and described below without any weight before adding your kettlebell. I recommend using the windmill stick drill as a stretch to help you work towards getting the required thoracic-spine and hamstring mobility, or use it to learn/teach the windmill.

No spinal torsion/twisting is allowed. This is not like passively picking up your car keys when you drop them! Make sure your spin stays straight through out the movement.

How to:

  1. Get the bell up overhead (on your right side) any safe way you can. Lock your arm out and pack your shoulder. A common method is a clean and press or jerk (shown below)
  2. Point your feet to the left (if the bell is in your right hand) about 30-45 degrees should do it.
  3. Look up at the kettlebell, turn your head so you can see the bell with both eyes, not just one. It helps with balance.
  4. Both shoulders should be externally rotated throughout this movement. Packed and unshrugged. Lats firing!
  5. Initiate the hip hinge by pushing your butt backwards and right, breathe in hard through your nose and pull yourself down into the hinge, front leg slightly bent and unloaded,  keep the rear leg straight and feel your hamstring and glute getting tighter as you hinge over,  simultaneously rotate your shoulders towards the kettlebell so they become stacked directly under it.

I like to imagine pulling a giant rubber band down from the ceiling with my kettlebell hand. This will keep your shoulder in its socket and connected.

       6. Maintain as much contact as possible between your left arm and left leg during this movement. This will give you constant feedback and make you feel safe and in control

       7. Pause for a few seconds at the bottom  squeeze your glutes and hamstring and come back up to the top position. 

Breathing is really important throughout, I recommend Power breathe, keep your abs braced like you are about to take a punch the whole way through! Short sharp breaths work well/or, inhale hard through your nose all the way down an exhale through your teeth all the way up to the top. Both work, the goal is to stay braced. This is demonstrated in the video.

See video below: 

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Topics: kettlebell, kettlebells

Heavy Kettlebell Lifts Part 2: Atlas Stone Deadlifts With A Heavy Kettlebell

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Oct 2, 2016 2:43:58 PM

Kettlebells are perhaps the most diverse piece of fitness equipment you can use. Most people probably still think of kettlebells mainly as equipment for high repetition and/or high intensity workouts. However, kettlebells can be used for high weight/low repetition movements for those of you who really want to build muscle and power. Part 2 in our series of heavy kettlebell lifts involves utilizing the kettlebell like a lot of strength competitors use an atlas stone in order to build power and strength.

We have a guest demonstrator and author working with us on this post, he is Oliver Quinn and he is very strong. You can find him on Instagram as @olliequinntraining, where he posts a lot of really informative and impressive posts for building strength and power.  We highly recommend you follow him for more learning on similar subjects as this. In his demonstration he will be utilizing his Kettlebell Kings 92 Kg Powder Coat Kettlebell.

By Oliver Quinn:

Did you know you can use your larger kettlebells like an atlas stone ? 
 
Atlas stone deadlifts or, the "pick", lapping,  loading onto a platform and even shouldering can all be done with your big kettlebells. (see video below). Here is a demonstration of working with an actual atlas stone, which as you can see involves a deadlift life movement to initially get the weight in motion. You can do this with a kettlebell as well, additionally you can do a lot more with a kettlebell compared to an atlast stone which makes them a great workout tool.
 
This is a lot more difficult and challenging than a regular kettlebell deadlift due to the extra range of motion, and the lack of  any handle to hold on to. It is actually even a little more difficult than a regular atlas stone "pick" or deadlift because your hands are gripping iron rather than stone, and stone grips skin much better than iron does. Be careful, it is almost impossible to complete this lift with a flat back. Of course , you could just stick your fingers under the bell and sort of goblet squat it, but that is not what we are after here.

How to do it: 

  1. Feet either side of kettlebell, center of kettlebell at center of foot. 
  2. Hinge over, hips high, load hamstrings.
  3. Arms straight down, don't try to bicep curl it. Squeeze the globe with your wrists and hands getting as much skin into contact with the bell ass possible. Fingernails of middle finger should be touching the floor.
  4. Take a deep breath, pressurize your abs and core and stand straight up.
  5. When the weight is past your knees bring your feet together so you can put the weight on your lap. Sit down and relax. 

See video below: 

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Topics: kettlebell, kettlebells

Beginner Kettlebell Exercise For Women: Part 3 - Kettlebell Squat Press

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Aug 15, 2016 4:32:11 PM

The Kettlebell Squat Press

Part 3 in our series based on beginning kettlebell movements for women is about the Kettlebell Squat Press. After this post, we will put all the movements we have gone over into a workout you can do involving all three. After mastering the Kettlebell Deadlift and the Kettlebell Swing you can move on to this latest movement. The reason it is important to first master the Kettlebell Deadlift is because some of the movements and muscles engaged are essential for performing a proper kettlebell swing and the kettlebell squat. So make sure you have that down first.

Brittany van Schravendijk, will be walking us through video tutorials of the three movements we are highlighting in this series, including this one and then helping us put them all together for a workout at the end. Brittany is a Master of Sport, World Record Holder, and National Record Holder in Kettlebell Sport. Brittany is the Head Coach of Kettlebell Sport at KOR Strength and Conditioning in San Diego, California. She has traveled all over the world to teach Kettlebell Sport workshops. Brittany is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA.

The video below will walk you through the correct way to execute The Kettlebell Squat Press, but here are some key points.

Why The Kettlebell Squat Press?

The Kettlebell Squat Press is a fantastic total body exercise because of all the different elements of your body you engage to perform correctly. It will involve your lower body, engaging your core and pressing at the top of the movement. Because of how the kettlebells fit on your body your momentum will be forward and this is where having great body control and core strength will have to stabilize your body. If you don't have this already, this movement will help you develop it.  Additionally, you should be able to squat deeper than with a barbell because of the positioning of the bells. The results of this exercise will be a stronger midsection, a stronger and defined figure as well as more overall strength. 

If you like what you see, we do have  a weekly workout list you can sign up for which incorporates the movements we will be going over into cardio and strength training sessions.

Sign Up For Weekly Kettlebell Workouts

The Kettlebell Squat Press:

  • Combines lower body work, upper body press with core activation
    • use core to stabilize bell overhead
  • Start by bringing the bell into the rack position (shown in video below)
  • Feet are hip width apart, weight is on heels, sink with hips level with knees or slightly lower
  • MAKE SURE to keep your elbow up and chest high to keep the core engage -- drive your body up with the heels back to standing position then press the bell overhead
  • Return to rack position and then begin your squat again
  • inhale as you come down and exhale as you go up
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Topics: Kettlebell Movements, kettlebell, Kettlebell Workouts, beginner kettlebell workout, kettlebells

Beginner Kettlebell Exercise For Women: Part 2

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Jul 29, 2016 11:48:24 PM

This is Part 2 in our three part series based on beginning kettlebell movements for women. At the end of the series we will put them all together for you in a workout you can on your own! After you have mastered the Kettlebell Deadlift, you can move on to the Kettlebell Swing. The reason it is important to first master the Kettlebell Deadlift is because some of the movements and muscles engaged are essential for performing a proper kettlebell swing. So make sure you have that down first.

Our friend, Brittany van Schravendijk, will be walking us through video tutorials of the three movements we are highlighting in this series, including this one, we will be highlighting and then helping us put them all together for a workout at the end. Brittany is a Master of Sport, World Record Holder, and National Record Holder in Kettlebell Sport. Brittany is the Head Coach of Kettlebell Sport at KOR Strength and Conditioning in San Diego, California. She has traveled all over the world to teach Kettlebell Sport workshops. Brittany is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA.

The video below will walk you through the correct way to execute The Kettlebell Swing, but here are some key points.

Why The Kettlebell Swing?

The Kettlebell Swing may be the best all around exercise anywhere for building strength and burning fat. It will help you develop strength in your hamstrings, glutes and core which are essential in other lifts. Just like the Kettlebell Deadlift, the swing strengthens the posterior chain. As we said in Part 1, that is the group of muscles in your body which affects your ability to move. The Kettlebell Swing can be performed with one or two kettlebells for added intensity.

Posterior Chain Refresher

The posterior chain is a group of muscles consisting of tendons and ligaments on the posteriorof the body, including the biceps femoris, gluteus maximus (main extension muscle of your hips), erector spinae (straighten and rotate the back), trapezius (large muscles that cover almost your entire back), and posterior (butt). 

These muscles are responsible for running, jumping and getting up and down all of which are required in every day life. 

If you like what you see, we do have  a weekly workout list you can sign up for which incorporates the movements we will be going over into cardio and strength training sessions.

Sign Up For Weekly Kettlebell Workouts

The Kettlebell Swing:

  • back position of your swing is like the bottom position of your deadlift
    • load hamstrings and glutes to not tax lower back
  • start with the kettlebell a couple feet in front of you in order to hike it back into the swing to get momentum
  • set up like deadlift, but reach forward, hike it back into swing then push hips foward, snapping them to create explosiveness and squeeze glutes at top similar to deadlift
  • swing to the top and let the bell fall down with gravity to hips before pushing into back swing
    • IMPORTANT: wait until arms hit hips before coming back up, if you do before a lot of space is created and the load is transferred to your back
  • exhale as bell comes up to tighten glutes and engage core, exhale engages core

 

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Topics: Kettlebell Movements, kettlebell, Kettlebell Workouts, beginner kettlebell workout, kettlebells