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Kettlebell Swing For CrossFit

Mallorca kettlebells learn the swing!

The overhead kettlebell swing is used a lot in WOD’s and after seeing  many video’s on youtube of CrossFitter’s with terrible swing technique I decided to put this article and video together.

Before we get started I would just like to say that I am not your typical CrossFit basher.  I work out of a CrossFit gym here in Spain.  I really like and use a lot of the same sort of training principles (E.D.T) with myself and clients and have been doing CrossFit for a while now as a supplement to my kettlebell training.

The Kettlebell Swing for CrossFit

It is really important to master the traditional Russian swing before trying the overhead swing.  I see a lot of squatty swings in CrossFit which is largely due to not spending enough time learning correct technique in the normal swing.

It is easier to keep something in motion than it is to start and stop it.  Squatty swings start and stop the kettlebell very aggressively which takes a lot of effort as opposed to the more flowing hamstring dominant swing which uses a smooth curve at the bottom of the movement, redirecting the force of the bell back instead of straight down.  The flowier hamstring dominant swing also puts less stress on the grip and saves the quads for the other exercises you have in the WOD.

Use your legs man!

You need to make good use of the power of the legs to get that bell overhead.  I see a lot of people yanking it overhead with their arms; this is (once again) because they haven’t spent enough time training the traditional swing.  With the over head swing you want to give the bell a blast of power to get it to balance overhead with your arms locked out before dropping it and redirecting back and behind for another rep.  You shouldn’t really use your arms at all to move the bell, they should just follow.

Better WOD times

You can greatly improve on your WOD times by working on your swing technique. Better technique will mean that you have more power left in the arms and legs for the other exercises and you can use the KB swing as the “rest” in your WOD.

Helen

Helen is a good example of a classic WOD that you can greatly improve your time by practicing the swing.  If you do the swings properly you will have a lot more power left in your arms and grip for the pull ups and your quads will be fresh for the 400m run.

Check out the video for more in depth tips and correctional drills to improve your swings for CrossFit!

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No Time to Train?

10 to 20 minutes is all you need!

People often ask me what to do if they want to lose weight and have no time to train.

Fresh Greens Mallorca KettlebellsThe first and most obvious solution that takes no time at all is dieting.  Diet is 70% of the battle for fat loss and it can be greatly speeded up by adding specific fat loss training methods.  Pick any diet you like (apart from the Atkins diet or anything that proposes no vegetables and ridiculous diets like the maple syrup diet) and stick to it!  Don’t modify it because you have heard that actually, eating chocolate, as long as it’s over 75% Cocoa isn’t fattening or anything similar, an average size chocolate bar is 1000 calories; that’s almost half the recommended daily intake for a woman..  All of those amazing diets work, but you have to do them.  One that I have recently tried and got amazing results with is the Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler.

 

One arm swing Mallorca Kettlebells

Ten to twenty minutes of Swings

Do you have ten to twenty minutes three times a week?  That’s a maximum of 1 hour of training a week.  I think even the most occupied human being could manage to fit that into their schedule.  Also, if you really want to lose the weight then you will make time to do the exercise.  As I have mentioned many times before, there are very few things in this world that are more important than your health so it should be easy to find a slot to do some exercise.

Kettlebell Swings and Snatches

Get a kettlebell (16kg for men and 12kg for women) and swing it as many times as you can in the time period that you chose.  The kettlebell swing is one of the most effective exercises for fat loss as it is a full body ballistic exercise.  There isn’t another exercise that works more muscles and puts such a high demand on your metabolism.  Well, that’s not entirely true, there is one exercise that burns more calories and that is the kettle bell snatch.  You can do the same protocol with snatches.  That’s all you need!  One piece of equipment and one exercise.  Some of you may have heard of Tracy Reifkind; she lost 50kg in a year with this same protocol and the Warrior Diet.

If you have never done kettlebell training before it is best to get taught (at least the basic movements, swing, clean and press and tgu) from a IKFF CKT or RKC certified instructor.

Don’t have a kettlebell?

Pick any full body exercise and perform it at a high enough intensity for twenty minutes.  Examples are 10 second sprints, body weight squats, bicycle sprints, hill walking, running on a trampoline, burpees, squat thrusts, jumping jacks, etc etc.  Do around ten to twenty reps or ten second blasts giving an all out effort, rest for a couple of seconds and then repeat till the time runs out.

A protocol that is often used in CrossFit is choosing three to five exercises with a set number of reps each and performing an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in the chosen time period.

An example of this would be:

20 Kettle bell Swings
15 Bodyweight Squats
10 Pushups
5 Pull Ups

Do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes and then every time you do the same workout again, try and beat your previous score.

If you don’t know how to swing or snatch a kettle bell then check out one of my kettle bell courses here!

Check back soon as I will be putting up a series of Kettlebell instructional videos so that you can learn all of the exercises at home.

Real Kettlebell Training!

There are companies offering fitness instructor training left right and centre.  In London hundreds of new fitness trainers are churned out every weekend.  Many of the courses are weekend seminars where you go in being an absolute beginner and two days later you come out with a certificate saying that you are qualified to train people with 48 hours or less of experience.  Can you see where things could go wrong?

From Zero to Hero

The first kettlebell Instructor course I did was like this.  I had never swung a kettlebell in my life before the first day of the instructor course and 48 hours later I was qualified to teach KB training without having any real experience.

I didn’t go straight out and start training clients with the kettlebell.  I trained hard for a year and learnt everything I could about kettlebell training before using it with my clients.  The point I am trying to make here is that just because someone has a certificate saying that they are an instructor doesn’t actually mean that they have the necessary experience and knowledge to teach properly; especially when making instructors is such a lucrative business and the easier it is for people to get qualified, the more people will come to do the courses.

I am writing this article because kettlebell training is starting to get very popular but the quality of instruction I am seeing from big gyms and popular trainers is anything but good or kettlebell training.

A friend told me that one of the big gyms on in Mallorca had kettlebells so I set up a meeting with the head trainer .  As  I talked to him I realised that the gym had no real interest in kettlebell training apart from that it was a new trend that they wanted to take advantage of.  They had no trainers qualified or with any experience in kettlebell training and they didn’t even have the normal starting weight (16kg) for men, everything was a lot lighter.  Basically what they were doing was normal circuits using very light kettlebells just like you would use a dumbbell and selling it as kettlebell training.  The problem with this is that you wont get all of the amazing benefits from kettlebell training because you are not doing kettlebell training.  I have had a couple of clients reluctant to do kettlebell training because they had tried it at this gym and said that it was no different to normal weights.  Needless to say, once I got them doing real kettlebell training they started seeing results straight away and loved it!

Kettlebell Training – Love at First Sight!

Kettlebell Snatch by Mallorca Kettlebells

I fell in love with kettlebell training because it is extremely effective for burning fat, superior athletic conditioning and creating explosive strength.

Since I did my first zero to hero kettlebell instructor course I have travelled the world to train with the best.  I once read somewhere that if you want to be the best you have to learn from the best, so that is what I did.  Last year I went to Hungary to do the Russian Kettlebell Challenge which is the gold standard of kettlebell training instructor courses led by the top names in the business.  This is no zero to hero course.  I had to train 5 days a week for four months to prepare myself to pass the physical test which involves snatching a 24kg kettlebell from the floor to overhead 100 times in under 5 minutes after three 8 hour days of non stop kettlebell training.  The tests also included showing proper technique in double kettlebell exercises (double swing, clean and press, front squat) performed with two 24kg kettlebells.  After the RKC I was still hungry for more and just by chance Mike Mahler (who is the go to guy for double kettlebell training)was doing a seminar in London so I flew there and did that too.  In September 2012 I will be going to do the CKT ( Certified Kettlebell Trainer) course in Barcelona with Steve Cotter who is arguably one of the best kettlebell instructors and practitioners of all time!

How do I know if I’m doing real kettlebell training?

The easiest thing you can do is look for an RKC or CKT.  There are only two on the island so that is easy, Dave from Viva Sports and myself.  You can also go to Rob Martin at CrossFit Mallorca for good kettlebell instruction.

If you are doing swings, clean and press, Turkish get ups and snatches then you are doing kettlebell training.  If you are doing overhead triceps extensions, lunges and biceps curls then you are doing exercises holding a kettlebell which isn’t the same and will not produce the same results.

To gain all of the amazing benefits that real Russian kettlebell training has to offer try one of my Kettlebell Courses!

 

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Double Trouble!

Double Kettlebell Training.

Here is a way to get double the results in half the time.  Throw another kettlebell into the equation!

Training with Mike Mahler

Mike Mahler and I in London

I have just come back from London where I attended a seminar given by Mike Mahler.  Mike Mahler is “the man” when it comes to double kettlebell training. Mike has been a strength trainer and kettlebell instructor for over nine years and has delivered workshops all over the US and overseas. His current focus is on the field of hormone optimization via nutrition, training, and lifestyle.  Mike is well known as one of the leading experts on effective kettlebell training for size, strength, fat loss and conditioning.

Learn from the best to be the best!

Just a quick side note before I carry on talking about kettlebells;  if you have a passion in life, go and learn from the best in the trade or try and work alongside these people.  There are seminars given on anything and everything from business to gardening to weight training.  If you follow a writer, trainer, etc and they are doing a seminar or workshop, go and do it.  The price you pay is paid back a million times just from the energy you get from practising what you love with a person you admire or respect and being in the company of people who share your passion and views.  In the last couple of years I have spent a lot of money travelling all over Europe to train with who I consider to be the best in the game.  I have trained and learned from Pavel Tsatsouline who is single handedly responsible for making kettlebell training famous worldwide, Jeff Neupert, Tracy and Mark Reifkind and last but not least Mike Mahler.  These people are the top of the kettlebell food chain and training with them has taken my technique, experience and training skills to another level; all of this passes over to the results seen by my clients.  Just to recap, don’t think about it, just do it!  If you can’t afford it then go for the next best thing, find the best in your area and go and train with them.

Back to Double Trouble!

Swinging two kettlebells in Mallorca

If you want to see double the results in half the time, all you have to do is train with two kettlebells instead of one.  Seems simple, but it isn’t.  For a start you are immediately doubling the weight you are handling.  Now you have two cannonballs pulling at you that you have to control.  This is what makes it so effective!  Once you start to dominate the bells you will reap the benefits.  A stronger, more resilient body with less fat and more muscle in all the right places.  Stronger core and back, more power, speed and agility for the sport you practice; the benefits are endless!  There is a but, and the but is that you need to progress at a logical pace.  You can’t just come along and grab two kettlebells and start training.  You need to learn the basic moves; swing, clean and press and snatch with one kettlebell before you start with two.  This doesn’t take long and the benefits from training with one kettlebell are probably way more effective than any other type of training you have tried before.  Kettlebell training is a no-frills-no-nonsense system.  You have to put in a little hard work to get really incredible results.

Back pain

A lot of back pain comes from weak back muscles.  The muscles in your back are muscles that are very hard to work without doing some form of weight training.  Most forms of weight training are boring and laborious whereas anyone can pick up a kettlebell and swing it for 5 minutes.  The basic kettlebell swing works almost every muscle in your body and concentrates on the “posterior chain” which is made up of all the muscles running down the back of your body.  Many people have seen enormous improvements in posture and back pains by just performing the kettlebell swing a couple of times a week; it is also one of the fastest ways of curing scoliosis.
Come and experience the amazing results described above.  I have trained under the leading kettlebell experts in the world and can pass all of this knowledge and technique on to you.  For more information check out my MKB Level 3 workshop where I will teach you how to train with double kettlebells and how juice them so you get the greatest benefits and results in the minimum amount of time!