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Kettle bells have been around forever, in fact the first mention of them was back in 1704 within a Russian dictionary. Over the past 3 years or so they have been re-introduced as the next best thing to weight training and performance.

What you need to know:

Kettle bells are an awesome tool, but use them as that. They are another tool just like a dumbbell, barbell, or a treadmill.

Do I like them:

Yeah, I love them. They have taught me a new found respect in terms of movement, coordination, strength and power. I appreciate the grip strength needed to manage them, the control your core must exert to maneuver them, and kettle bell movements are great self-limiting exercises.

What’s a self-limiting exercise:

Gray Cook describes self-limiting exercises as “requiring mindfulness and an awareness of movement, alignment, balance and control. Self-limiting exercise requires engagement”.  I enjoyed hearing and reading that.  I believe we all work on movement patterns whether we are conscious of it or not.  Every minute of everyday we are teaching our bodies to either move more or less efficiently.  One of the most common things I try to teach my clients is to improve movement.  As we correct patterns through self-limiting exercises, they get stronger and more efficient.

(Click Here to listen to Gray Cook Radio for even more info!)

Who can use kettle bells:

Anyone can use them it just depends on how you use them, and where you are in your in terms of training level and competence.

For beginners/phase 1:I like to teach kettle bell carries/walks and dead lifts.  Walking with kettle bells in a low carry position teaches lateral stability of the hips and torso.  Its a great way to get your core  to engage and wok on strengthening posture and gait.  As for the dead lifts, I like teaching a sumo style dead lift with the Kettle Bell.  Its a great way to open up the hips, teach spinal posture and glute contraction.

For Intermediate/phase 2:I like teaching shoulder level and overhead carries/walks, kettle bell swings. Walking while carrying at shoulder height or overhead is a great way to further improve core stability, grip strength and posture for the shoulder girdle and thoracic spine.  Swings get pretty intense, but are a great way to program power in the hip hinge pattern.  I can’t stress enough that swings can easily be performed incorrectly so make sure your hip hinge pattern is on point before beginning!

For Advanced/phase 3:I like to teach 1 arm swings (with and asymmetric hip loading), and the kettle bell snatch.  1 arm swings with asymmetric hip loading is a great way to strengthen rotary hip power, core control and strength.  It’s pretty intense movement  that will tax your anaerobic system, I like it.  The kettle bell snatch is a great transition from the swing.  Again it’s great from for the core, shoulder girdle and power training.

What about the Turkish Get-Up:

You may have heard about the Turkish Get-Up or read about it in a magazine.  If you have trained with me, you’ve definitely done it 😀

The Turkish Get-Up is a movement I use across the board with beginners to advanced  clients.  Essentially is requires you to get up off the ground and stand all the way up while maintaining a weight over head in 1 hand, but it is much more than that.  You to work on some great movement patterns such as rolling, side bridging, sitting up, 3 point brige, hip rotation, split squat.  It works anterior chain, posterior chain and lateral chains.  It is the ultimate self-limiting exercise in my opinion.  The only thing missing is a gait or walking pattern (which can be added in).  It a great move that can really teach you a lot about yourself, which I appreciate.

If you have any questions or want to come in to get assessed and see what phase of training your should be in let me know!  Train safe, learn something about yourself and have fun!

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