Kettlebell Kings Blog

Why Chalk Your Kettlebell?

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 14, 2016 1:59:54 PM

Kettlebell Kings had been looking for a chalk solution for a long time because one of the questions we are most frequently asked by potential customers if if they will need chalk for their Kettlebell Kings bells. For a while, we packaged our own but decided we would much rather work with a trusted brand to provide chalk for lifters.

Enter Vikn Chalk, Vikn is chalk created for lifters by lifters. We have decided to carry Vikn Chalk which is run by some of the top Kettlebell Sport competitors in the country. The folks at Vikn Chalk have put together a pretty compelling post for us about why you should consider using chalk for your kettlebell lifts.

By Vikn Chalk, also found here:

You open up the box to your shiny, new kettlebell and ask yourself, “why would I want to cover this nice, smooth handle with a bunch of chalk?”

Answer: It’s all about friction, baby.

In Kettlebell Sport, efficiency is the name of the game. If the kettlebell handle is slippery, you have to squeeze it tighter to hold on, fatiguing your muscles faster. Once your grip goes, the kettlebell slips out of your hand, prematurely ending your set.

Here is the gripping truth: A slick kettlebell will actually cause blisters!!!  Long sets make you sweat, and sweat makes your hands wet. Moisture is the enemy when there is friction. Wet skin is softer and more vulnerable, leaving the top layer much more susceptible to separating and filling with fluid. Ouch!

The solution: VIKN Performance Chalk

Magnesium Carbonate, AKA chalk, is the only substance approved for competition in most kettlebell organizations (sorry, no pine tar allowed). Luckily, the chalk will help keep your hands dry and the skin on your palms more resilient.  As you sweat, the chalk will rub off of your hands.  This is why the we recommend applying multiple layers of chalk directly to your kettlebell to achieve what some call, the “fur coat” look (as shown below).

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Topics: kettlebells

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

Kettlebell Training For Bikini Competitions

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Oct 17, 2016 4:11:41 PM

Training for bikini competitions requires a ton of hard work and dedication. You need to stick to a strict workout plan, diet and practice your posing to meet your competitive goals. One of the problems you might run into is the same thing that most of us run into eventually with working out. You start to feel bored, overworked and unmotivated to do the same thing over and over.  Whether you are training for a bikini competition or just want to have a better figure, we believe kettlebells can help.  The best things about kettlebells is how diverse they are, you can target any muscle group and you can do so in such a way that the possibilities and combinations are endless which will always keep you challenged. Staying challenged and motivated is the key to working out long term.  With kettlebells, you can train for time, reps or both. Additionally, you can train for strength, cardio or even train in competitive lifting in which competitors compete in weight classes for rep counts.  These competitions will challenge your strength, cardio and mental focus as well as build muscles which are important for bikini competitions.  When you are done reading, you can learn more about Kettlebell Sport training here

We met Nikky Burns, of Transform Fitness, in Austin when she came to our facility to pick up a few kettlebells so she could train for The Texas Open Kettlebell Championship and pick up a few bells for her training clients.  After watching her compete and getting a chance to talk to her more about her background we thought it was really interesting to find out she is a bikini competitor as well as a Kettlebell Sport competitor.  We have written extensively about Kettlebell Sport, but had not previously spoken with someone who competed in bikini competitions and used competitive kettlebell training as a method for bikini competitions. So, as we talked more we were curious about how kettlebell training can overlap with bikini competitions and figure training in general to meet your fitness goals. We asked Nikky if she would be interested in helping us write a piece designed for those interested in competing in bikini competitions or working on their figure and she was glad to. Here we go!

By Nikky Burns:

I have always been into fitness.  It has been a part of my life ever since I started training with my older brothers while we were growing up.  In 2010 I had a mild stroke that changed my life. If it were not for my love of lifting I would not have recovered as fast, because it gave me something to work towards. I believe that having training goals can help anyone overcome physical obstacles that happen in their lives.  At the time, I was in my late 30’s and spending 2 to 4-hour days at the gym.  I had been doing Bikini competition for a year and I was hitting back-to-back-to back workouts, and stomping up the Stair Master in between in order to reach my competitive goals.  However, I felt that I needed a new way to train while I recovered. Anyone who has trained for bikini competitions can speak to the monotony of all the workouts mixed in with hours on the Stair Master. One day, my husband came home with a pink plastic Kettlebell which I still have and something finally clicked for me, fitness could be exciting, fun, and fulfilling. All I needed was a Kettlebell and some time.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WEEKLY WORKOUT LIST HERE: 

 Benefits of Kettlebell training for bikini competitions:

  • target specific muscle groups like Quads, Glutes and Shoulders
  • challenge yourself with new and diverse workouts
  • build strength and cardio into one workout

Read more about kettlebell movements and specific workouts designed for bikini competitors below!

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Topics: Kettlebell Movements, 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

What Kind Of Kettlebell Should You Use?

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Sep 22, 2016 7:09:46 PM

Kettlebell Kings partners with kettlebell and fitness experts to create helpful and informative posts designed to maximize your kettlebell experience.  Tim Peterson, Chief Instructor for FitRanX, has created a great post for us about selecting your kettlebell.  Specifically, the difference between traditional cast iron kettlebells and competition style kettlebells and what lifts work best with different types.  Although kettlebells are fairly mainstream workout equipment now, most lifters are stilll unfamiliar with competition style kettlebells. So, should you consider one? Read below!

By Tim Peterson:

There is an oft used phrase, that you always want to use the “right tool for the job.”  This phrase could not be more true in the world of strength and conditioning.  Kettlebells are a great tool, that can be used for strength work, hypertrophy, conditioning, power, and endurance.  But there are many different kinds of kettlebells, so how do you choose?

Types of Kettlebells

Cast iron, competition/sport, steel, rubber coated, soft-sand filled, adjustable, medicine ball-like, and more.  In addition, you can find them in pounds or kilograms, further adding to the choices.  All kettlebells are cast in a mold, what happens after can be different depending on the company.  Do your due diligence, as all kettlebells are not made equal.

I will be focusing on the two most common, the cast-iron, and competition/sport style kettlebell.  These can both be found in both pound and kilogram weights.  Personally, I use both, for different uses.  Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, and I will address each. 

Cast iron kettlebells are widely regarded as the “original” kettlebells, with histories going back centuries.  Depending on who you ask, you will get different folk stories of what they originally were made from, and what they were used for, as well as which countries claim ownership. 

Cast iron kettlebells are made out of molten iron, and range widely in size, depending on weight.  They have a curved handle, that can also vary widely in width as well as diameter.  The cast-iron kettlebell is solid, with no hollow space.

Competition kettlebells get their name from the fact that they are used in Girevoy Sport, also known as GS or Kettlebell Sport.  GS focuses on two lifts, the Clean & Jerk and Snatch. 

The competition kettlebell is the same size and dimension across the weight range, and is made out of steel.  The handle is flat across on top, and joins the body of the kettlebell vertically.  These are made a couple of different ways. Some brands are an 8 kilogram shell filled with fillers like sawdust and ball bearings to achieve the desired weights, this potentially can become loose and rattle over time or lose balance. More durable competition bells are made from a single piece of steel, cast precisely to the specific weight.  You can identify these because they will have an opening in the bottom which you can look into and actually see the thickness of the steel mold.

There are 6 most common kettlebell lifts.  There are ballistics such as Swings, Cleans and Snatches, and grinds, such as Goblet and Double Front Squats, Presses, and Get-Ups.  There are many other kettlebell lifts and variations, however I will focus on these six. 

Different Kettlebells For Different Lifts

When teaching a beginner, the kettlebell and its lifts can be scary and intimidating.  For this reason, it may be better to start with a cast-iron 8kg kettlebell rather than a competition 8kg kettlebell, as the cast-iron 8kg is tiny by comparison.  There is a benefit to using kilograms rather than pounds as well.  Mentally, since “8” is less than “18,” the 8kg kettlebell will feel easier to lift than an 18lb kettlebell. 

  • Swings, When teaching two hand swings, it can be a toss-up as to which style kettlebell to use.  On one hand, the curved handle of a cast-iron kettlebell is easier to hold than the flat-handled competition kettlebell, however, since the handle’s vary in size depending on the weight of the cast-iron kettlebell, the lighter weight kettlebell’s have very narrow handles which are difficult to hold with two hands.  Once beyond the learning phase, the curved handle of the cast-iron kettlebell is the clear winner for swings.
  • Goblet Squats, The curved handle of a cast-iron kettlebell is also preferred when performing Goblet Squats.  Since the handle remains the same diameter all the way to the body of the kettlebell, the hand can get a firm grip on the handle, while the curve of the handle allows the wrist to stay more in line with the forearm. 
  • Cleans, When performing double cleans, (or double swings or double snatches) an interesting thing can happen when using very light competition style weights.  Since the kettlebell is hollow, the walls of the kettlebell must be thin.  As a result, if the kettlebell’s contact each other on the way up or down they will have a tendency to bounce off of each other like basketballs.  As they get heavier this happens less and less, but it must be addressed with beginners or anyone using lighter weights.  The last thing you want is for the kettlebells to bounce away from each other on the way down and hit the user on the legs.  Another item to consider is that when hiking two large kettlebell’s through the legs, regardless of weight, the stance used needs to be wide enough to allow room for them to pass. 

Having said all of that, competition style kettlebells are the kettlebell to choose when doing anything that puts the body of the kettlebell against the forearm.  Whether it be a lift that puts the kettlebell in the rack position (cleans, presses, front squats) or simply contacts the forearm (get-ups, snatches), the consistent size of a competition kettlebell puts the kettlebell in the same position every time.  More importantly, and again something that affects beginners more than experienced lifters, is that the larger size body rests on the meat of the forearm rather than the bone protrusion of the wrist, which is right where the smaller body of a lighter kettlebell will sit.  The tiny body of a 4kg kettlebell will hit the back of the hand, while an 8kg kettlebell will hit right on the back of the wrist.  Even a 12kg or 16kg kettlebell will hit a male on the wrist bones. 

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Topics: kettlebell types, 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

Kettlebell Guide: What Is A Pood?

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Aug 5, 2016 3:59:41 PM

What is a Pood?

This is common question for folks new to kettlebell, especially if you have been getting your workouts from Crossfit. 'Pood' originated in Russia along with kettlebells and is a unit of measurement for kettlebells in Russia. More specifically it is a unit equal to 40 funt (фунт, Russian Pound). A funt is a Russian pound

What is a Pood in Kilograms and Pounds?

  • It is approximately 16.38 kilograms.  A kilogram is 2.2 pounds. So one pood is also 36.11 pounds.

Often times you will see a Crossfit workout call for 1 Pood, 1.5 Pood or 2 Pood. So, the common kettlebell weights closest to this would be a 16 Kg Kettlebell, 24 Kilogram Kettlebell and a 32 Kilogram Kettlebell respectively. 

kettlebell workouts

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Topics: Kettlebell Review, what is a pood, kettlebell workout, kettlebells, pood

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