Kettlebell Workouts

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Scott Peterson, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,849
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    I've been interested in getting into kettlebell workouts for some years but never made the leap.

    Last week on a lark I bought a 35lb kettlebell at Dick's Sporting Goods and did the normal YouTube/Google binge to learn. There's a lot to learn and go through. My first few workouts were really fun, hard work to focus on the techniques and moves and I enjoyed - greatly - the challenge.

    So I started training, working on form and technique in the midst of my normal workouts and after a bit of a layoff due to having been so sick the last two weeks (bronchitis). My plan is to work this into my normal fitness regime; I am very active, play competitive 'old man' soccer weekly, have a varied and long past of working out - weights, cardio, HIIT, bodyweight, TRX, P90X, yoga, etc., etc,. I enjoy what I do to stay in shape but as with all things I am always looking to add in more variety and challenges. I am a stickler for form and with big macro-movements and complexes for Kettlebells that is of course of primary concern.

    So, I have a pebble of knowledge, the very beginning of any experience and wanted to short cut some learning/research on Kettlebells and workouts in general because there are some hardcore guys here with years of experience and in general, every time I post something like this I get some very good helpful information from knowledgeable people.

    I am looking at getting a range of kettlebells as I progress and have found this site as a source for the actual Kettlebells (after a lot of Google searches and reading forums, etc): http://www.kettlebellkings.com/

    I am most interested in the competitive range of kettlebells so they will last the longest and I can work with them for probably as long as I am physically able as I age (I'm 48 so I'm thinking... about another 100 years or so will do. ;) )

    I'm a 'buy right, buy once' guy. Am I on the right track for the gear?

    Sources for workouts/videos/training? I am in SE Michigan and am notoriously a 'lone wolf' type of self-motivated workout-at-home guy but obviously the best thing is to take some classes or private lessons to check on form (I did the same with the TRX and Yoga before I could form my own workouts that I do at home). Anyone have good online resources or any tips for finding good instruction in my area?

    Thanks for any input!
     
    H. Mac likes this.
  2. BeBop

    BeBop Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Location:
    Neverneverland
    There is a lot to be said for using lighter weight KB's and then doing more reps, especially due to the way you will do some of the exercises. You do a lot of "swings" and the lower weights are easier to control.

    Trust me, 8-12 pd. can tire you out :)

    edit - had to jump to a different comp for some links...

    http://abmachinesguide.com/kettlebell-ab-workout-strong-core-fat-burning/
    http://www.shapefit.com/exercise/kettlebell-exercise-guides-biceps.html

    The next one is a "chick" excercise, but it's a killer - try it, you will see what I mean ;)

    http://www.fitnessblender.com/video...s-fast-and-effective-kettlebell-workout-video

    BTW - definitely check this link for a good review of some different manufacturers:

    http://www.garage-gyms.com/kettlebell-review-shopping-guide-buy/
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  3. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,180
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Kettlebells were reintroduced to the US by Pavel Tsatsouline when he was with Dragondoor. Just about every good KB instructor in the US either came out of his "coaching tree" or that of former USSR kettlebell sport champion Valery Fedorenko. Tsatsouline has since left Dragondoor, but they still maintain a certification program and some good KB instructors who trained with Pavel are still there. I see one instructor listed in Troy, MI but am not familiar with his name:

    http://www.dragondoor.com/instructors/rkc_instructors/

    You could also try to get to a workshop put on by one of the Dragondoor folks, or certain ex-Dragondoor KB coaches who are really good: Mike Mahler, Steve Cotter, Steve Maxwell immediately come to mind.

    I started out with KBs purchased from Dragondoor and Pavel's original "Russian Kettlebell Challenge" VHS tape - there was nothing else at the time. I later got DVDs by Maxwell, Cotter and Mahler - all good stuff featuring their individual backgrounds (Maxwell being a BJJ player, Cotter the kungfu artist, etc.). I also attended a workshop by Mahler to fix my form/technique.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  4. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,180
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    And yes, if I started over with KBs I'd get the competition style KBs as they are more uniform in size, regardless of weight. The main problem with the old Dragondoor KBs (and similar) was the jump in weight was in both size and weight.
     
  5. Bob Longo

    Bob Longo Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,806
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and a jet plane
    Turkish Get-ups with 35 lb KB is beyond my strength level. For this I use a 20lb dumbbell x 5 reps per side.

    Great workout when coupled with TRX! I like this combo because they are easy to move from one to the other. I like to do two opposing TRX exercises then throw in 1-2 KB exercises for one superset. Keeps the heart rate up like crazy.

    There are two videos on the TRX website that combine TRX and KB with a TRX trainer and the Pavel dude who's evidently a Russian special ops trainer of some sort and KB expert. There are three different levels available in these vids.

    Good stuff to add to all the other stuff you do.
     
  6. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,685
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Location:
    ohio
    subscribed.. kinda interested... sandbag workouts look pretty cool too.. one of the best things I bought recently were Olympic rings... hit muscles in a completely different way...

    kettle ball kinda scares me.. like I could mess up my back...
     
  7. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,849
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    I do sandbag workouts too; though I didn't mention that in the OP. They are also very challenging but not easy to do the typical kettlebell type of dynamic (and it seems to me that many of the basic core moves in Kettlebell are powerlifting movement centered) and it makes massive sense to me on an intellectual level as well a practical function in use. :aok

    As in all these movements, proper form and attention to detail as you do the movements is of the utmost importance to staying safe and NOT getting injured - ala tweaking your back. In fact by their very nature of fluid complex moves it strengthens your body in dynamic ways so you will prevent injuries as you progress/maintain. Remaining durable and flexible are two of the main issues we face as we get older. (**IMHO, they are important keys to staying 'young' at least physically.).

    I am a bigger fan of the dynamic stuff for weights over the traditional barbell/dumbbell type of lifting I've done my whole life. I am very much convinced and a believer in practical/functional movement with weights versus specialized stuff (like strict curls, presses, etc). Everything in balance - so not just barbells, dumbbells, cable work, machines and resistance bands. I'm a big fan of combination moves, what I call 'big' movements that engage multiple muscles working together - ala powerlifting versus bodybuilding. Not to piss anyone off; just my own personal opinion for what works better for me. I was hardcore weight lifter/body builder type of stuff all through my 20's but I'm too strong for my frame and have always had joint issues when I lifted heavy even though I am a VERY big stickler for proper form. I've never been able to do powerlifting because of the frame I have, my joints are not up to it. I'm a longtime advocate and student of bodyweight workouts but they don't build muscle like resistance moves do.

    My goal is to add another dimension and round out new moves (like the Turkish Get-up - what a fantastic range of different moves in one complex set movement). There is a goldmine of this to help me on my quest to stay engaged, interested, motivated and keep me moving. Hence my interest and attraction to sandbags, kettlebells, etc..

    Great information so far guys; always amazes me that you can learn so much on TGP just by asking. I really value that and appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  8. DamianL

    DamianL Member

    Messages:
    1,697
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    I would just echo what is said above and go for Competiton style kettlebells...

    Makes a huge difference to your swing and style...

    Also, check out Mike Mahler on YouTube for some good advice...

    D
     
  9. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,180
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    If that's Pavel Tsatsouline, anything he says/does is worthy of investigation. Kettlbells were a staple of gyms in the US until the invention of weight machines killed them off. Pavel brought them back and taught all the top instructors in the US (not counting those who trained only with Federenko of course).
     
  10. Bob Longo

    Bob Longo Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,806
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and a jet plane
    That's who I mean. I never did any real research into his background and he's kind of annoying, but he does (I think) teach good form. Is he even Russian or is the accent a put-on?
     
  11. fetishfrog

    fetishfrog Member

    Messages:
    8,318
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Location:
    Leaky basement
    I've been at kettlebells for 4 years now.

    The only things I can add at this point, both already stated, are competition kettlebells are the way to go and take a class or two to get your form right.

    Have fun!
     
  12. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,180
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    My current workout is on the rings. I'm now in Phase 2 of Rings One, at Level A (beginner). Getting the hang of Skin The Cat, and working on the Assisted Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand at the moment. http://gmb.io/r1/

    Kettlebell exercise is safe if you master the basic swing first and foremost - don't try to jump into other KB stuff until you can do a proper swing. The main thing Mike Mahler fixed in my KB swing was not squatting properly on the backswing. Later on, Mahler and other RKC coaches at the time adopted the practice of teaching the "Face The Wall Squat" - so now its the standard move you learn as part of your training to master the swing - doing this properly sets you up for a proper swing and thus injury free KB practice.

     
  13. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,180
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Technically, no, he's not a Russian. He was born in what is now Belarus. His Soviet-era humor was probably a put-on. ;) But he did get a lot of people interested in old school training methods again, like rings, kettlebells, etc. Hardly any of that stuff was happening in the mainstream until Dragondoor started publishing his stuff.
     
  14. Cornbread

    Cornbread Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,343
    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Location:
    arlington, va via little rock, ar
    Pavel's book Simple & Sinister is the most recommended book to beginners on r/kettlebell. Two exercises, Swings and Turkish Get Ups but that is enough to get you going.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kettlebell-Simple-Sinister-Pavel-Tsatsouline-ebook/dp/B00GF2HP9G

    I also downloaded Master the Kettlebell and alternate between those two

    http://www.amazon.com/Master-The-Kettlebell-High-Level-Strength-Using-ebook/dp/B00N125I3I


    I don't have any advice on best kettlebells, I have a 12kg/20lb, 16kg/35lb and 20kg/44lb that I got at Dick's Sporting Goods :dunno
    If I use them enough to wear them out I'll be pretty happy :D
     
  15. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

    Messages:
    12,180
    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Thinking of getting Max Shank's book eventually. Not too many people have done the press, pistol and pullup with a 48kg kettlebell. Here's his interview with GMB:



    Pavel's written some books that focus on just two exercises (Power To The People - deadlift and side press; Naked Warrior - pistol and one-arm pushup) and they're really good imo. I know some folks like to see more variety in a workout, but I've always liked spending weeks or even months at a time just focusing on a couple of exercises to see where it takes my body. So Simple Sinister looks like a near future buy for me too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  16. C3X

    C3X Member

    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Steve Maxwell is the guy. He had the first KB gym in the US (Philly). I've trained with the dude and he is a monster. He has been on Joe Rogan's podcast a few times if you are interested in his background. One of the podcasts he talks about bringing Pavel to the US. One of the greatest teachers I have ever learned from (mostly BJJ). He has all kinds of vids on youtube and of course has things for sale.

    One recommendation is to also check out his mobility stuff. Helped a ton to work through some lingering injuries from JJ & MT.

    http://maxwellsc.com/
     
  17. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

    Messages:
    1,546
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    sunny Australia
    I love kettlebells.

    Scott - I couldn't recommend a session or two with an RKC or Strongfirst (Pavel's new organisation) certified instructor enough. The swing and getup are amazing movements, with a lot of subtlety. The difference between them not working you hard enough, or worse, injuring you, is not that far. I thought I was swinging properly after six months or so - I was not, and some pointers from an RKC made the exercises much, much more beneficial.

    Pavel's materials are straight to the point, full of great information and a sense of humour and people seem to get great results out of them. He also posts regularly at the Strongfirst forums. If you want to get a sense of his 'schtick' he did a podcast with Tim Ferris recently which was pretty interesting. http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/01/15/pavel-tsatsouline/

    This is a killer video with some great technique:
    https://youtu.be/l5qB0nILpko
     
  18. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,849
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    :aok guys. Appreciate the information so far and looking forward to more from those that haven't yet seen the thread.
     
  19. jamiefbolton

    jamiefbolton Supporting Member

    Messages:
    885
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    KEEP THE ABS TIGHT!

    Can screw your lower back up.

    Back flat. Abs tight.
     
  20. PSaulino

    PSaulino Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Location:
    Media, PA
    Scott-

    Echoing gassyndrome, instruction in the proper KB techique is critical. I would seek a professional in that regards for some one on one. There are 6 basic moves that require skill as well as strength and stamina. Only takes a few sessions and you seem to be a very quick study and dedicated. The complexity goes outward from there.

    Disclaimer, I have an RKC certification... but that being said, I never would have gotten there had there not been someone who knew more than me, and instructed and corrected me along the way. It alleviated what I perceived to be non-related injuries, but more importantly made me more proficient, doing more work with less effort and getting greater results. Cannot recommend this enough. Good luck,

    Paul
     

Share This Page