The Top Three Kettlebell Mistakes, And How To Avoid Them. [3rd Edition]
[3rd Edition Was Updated On 30th January 2017]
Kettlebells in their simplest form are a nothing more than a cannonball with a handle. They are the ultimate handheld gym – unless you use a 92kg kettlebell that is.
Yet, something so simple can be extremely complex to master. In this week’s blog Mark Reifkind talks about the top three kettlebell mistakes beginners make and how to avoid them.
Mistake # 1: Not Mastering The Basic Hinge Position.
The hinge position is the key to all the Kettlebell movements from the deadlift to the swing, the clean, the snatch, even the squatting position, you have to be able to identify and execute a really well-done hinge before you move on to the next movements. Spending time there is important, it’s crucial.
[bctt tweet=”Have you mastered this Kettlebell technique? #alldaystrong”]
The first thing is to make sure you’re working on your hamstring flexibility. I know mobility is the big buzzword these days, but flexibility, the ability of the muscle to lengthen to its full length without too much restriction, or very little restriction, is key.
So there’s a lot of different ways to work your hamstring flexibility. The favorite static stretch that I do is a strap stretch, where you lay on your back, you wrap a yoga strap, or a belt, whatever, and you do a single leg, pull the leg. It’s almost like an active straight leg raise, except you’re using your own arm strength to pull yourself into the stretch position.
Hold that position ideally for a minute, sometimes to two minutes. If you can’t hold it for a minute to two minutes it’s a good indication you’re too deep into the stretch. So hamstring flexibility for activating the hinge, and getting a solid position in your hinge is crucial.
Mistake #2: Not Enough Hip Mobility.
Very few people these days have adequate hip mobility- we can thank the constant sitting in chairs for that. But in order to perform the hinge, deadlift, get-up, and squat normal hip mobility is a must.
[bctt tweet=”Do You Make These Kettlebell Mistakes? #alldaystrong”]
The first avenue to explore to improve hip mobility is myofascial self-release with lacrosse balls and rollers
Simply lay flat on the floor and place a lacrosse ball in the center of your glutes. Keep the leg straight on the same side the ball is on and hunt out the tight and painful spots. Roll on the ball and smooth out these tight bits. Start with a straight leg and slowly bend it to reveal more tight spots. 2-3 minutes per side should help a lot. You can use the foam in a similar manner; simply sit on the roller and work out any tight areas you find. Remember it’s called “soft tissue” for a reason it should be soft- not concrete.
Second, release the hip flexors. Tight hip flexors are very common from sitting and restrict hip extension which is vital to correct hinging. A kneeling hip flexor stretch will take care of this nicely.
Get onto the floor in a lunge position focusing on the rear leg. Squeeze the same side glute and gently push into hip forward to stretch the hip flexor. Coordinate this with your breath. Breath out to go deeper into the stretch then back off a bit on the inhale.
Do at least five of these breath releases per side.
Mistake #3: Not Putting In Enough Of A Foundation Base In Terms Of Training.
People like to train too heavy, too fast. They don’t work on building their base, getting their foundation-wide enough so they can actually climb up to the top and actually have a good peak.
So, not rushing the numbers, and not going too heavy, and taking your time to build a solid training foundation would be a key thing to work on, and a mistake a lot of beginners make.
[bctt tweet=”People like to train too heavy, too fast! #alldaystrong”]
So this is an easy fix. Use weights that you can absolutely control and that you can use the right biomechanics for. If it’s too heavy, the bell’s going to be pulling you around, and you’re going to be forced into positions you don’t choose. A lot of people say, “I can’t do it unless the bell’s heavier.” Well, that’s an indication you need to work on your form and your mechanics rather than just loading.
Build your base. Start off with a certain amount of sets and reps. Depending on the exercise, ballistic exercises the volume’s going to be higher, 100 to 200 total repetitions before you move up to the next weight.
With the grinds, the presses, and squats you’re looking at 25 to 50 total reps. The get up’s kind of its own animal. You’re looking at 5 to 10 total reps. But spend some time with the weight before you move up.
Make sure you own it, and you feel comfortable, and work on the details.