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Training with kettlebells

In the previous article, we made a presentation of what a kettlebell is, and what advantages its use has, also explaining several exercises. Now, in this second installment, we will finish explaining the most important exercises that we have left pending.

Training with kettlebells

Exercises with kettlebell

Few actions rival the demands of strength, mobility and postural control required by this uprising. Basically, we move under a weight, progressing from a supine position to a bipedal posture. as we know the hip provides the necessary mobility to organize the sequence of movements, while the spine resists in neutral posture the variant destabilizing force imposed by the load, always perpendicular to the ground, as the posture varies.

The lifting technique requires continuously keeping an eye on the kettlebell. , so even the neck is involved in this movement.

We start lying on our backs leaving aside the kettlebell. We turn to it, and grabbing it with both hands, we approach the chest by hip rotation. Now we flex the same leg that holds the kettlebell, for example the right, so the knee will point to the ceiling. The opposite arm is located straight on the ground about 45 degrees from the body. Lift the weight by fully stretching your arm and then quickly turn your body to rest first on your forearm and then, extending your elbow, on your left hand.

Push the ground with your right foot and lift your hip; the left leg is kept straight resting on the outside of the foot. The support arm and the arm holding the kettlebell form a straight line Then slide the left leg back to support the knee near the supporting hand (left twin perpendicular to the support foot). It then incorporates the trunk, rotates the back foot backwards (in line with the front foot). 

The hip flexors and abductors in synergy with obliques and lumbar square will be responsible for incorporating the trunk in an upright position and finally the extenders of the lower train are responsible for incorporating the body to a bipedal position. From there we follow the steps in reverse of how we have executed them until we return to the position of supine position.

The starting position is standing, keeping the width of the shoulders. We make a press, and we keep the ball up on our right shoulder. We turn our feet 45º approx (the right a little less) in the opposite direction to the hand that grabs the kettlebell. That is, if we grab it with our right hand, we turn them to the left. We turn our hip in the direction of our feet, and we flex it towards them.

The ball begins and ends the movement on our shoulders. Descend to touch with the left hand the left foot (if there are no flexibility problems), always keeping the torso straight. Return to the starting position. This would be a repetition.

Keep the wrist of the hand holding the kettlebell straight and the elbow blocked from the beginning of the repetition to the end. We follow the trajectory of the ball with our eyes at all times.

The hip is responsible for the descent and ascent of the torso: we should not flex the spine (the straight torso, and in the final position, parallel to the ground). It is a movement to be performed in a controlled way from the beginning to the end.

It is a fantastic exercise to strengthen the wrists and grip. The exercise is similar to the snatch with kettlebell, but this time, we grab the handle, not in the center, but from the corner of the handle closest to our face, and with the thumb making a vertical stop on the handle, to prevent the kettlebell from falling in the pick-up position or end of the concentric phase of the movement. But throughout the exercise it is the same grip of the handle. The look always on the kettlebell.

You can grab the handle in the center of it, but this option requires much more force on the wrist, and hinders the stability of the kettlebell to a greater degree.

Relationship of kettebells to martial arts

To seek the maximum transfer towards a sports gesture, we must look for an exercise that reproduces that movement as best as possible. Now, let's discuss the relationship of some exercises with kettlebells and martial movements.

  • The swing in its extension phase, stimulates the extensor musculature (buttocks and lumbar). This gesture of extension is used to bridge the exits when we fight on the ground (positions Hon kesa, Yoko, Tate and Kami). It is also very important in kicks.
  • In the clean and press,we take advantage of the force generated in the extension of the legs, and that we transmit through the hip, reinforcing the extension of the arm. For example when throwing a punch.
  • The windmill is a movement that enhances the transfer to the hip projections.
  • The Turkish get up,considered the favorite of grapplers, favors the start from a lying position.
  • The bottom up press is excellent for stimulating the correct alignment of the fist with respect to the rest of the forearm, and also gain strength in the wrist. When we hit, the entire arm should act as a block, to make the most of the energy transmitted by the hip.

How do I introduce kettlebells into my planning?

Out of season,where we must seek to work strength-hypertrophy, to improve our athletic base, on which we will then seek to work power, I recommend working with them a day or two a week for half an hour, with intense rhythm, while we would leave two or three days to work the hypertrophy force, based on squats, and deadlift.

In the middle of the season,one day is enough, because if we train two or three days in martial arts, it makes no sense to put more sessions, because we will jeopardize a correct recovery of our body. It should be noted that sessions with kettlebell, where we work at very high pulsations fatigue our central nervous system a lot, so it is not advisable to abuse.

Examples of workouts

The designs of workouts can be infinite, looking for as real training time, about 20 minutes approximately. It seems like a short time, but it becomes hell.

Training by number of repetitions

Repeat the following cycle 5 times: 15 repetitions per hand of swings,9 repetitions per hand of clean &squat & press and 6 repetitions per hand of snatch. The break between sets, 1 minute. If with 5 series, we are relatively fresh, then we put some more. I recommend 5 series to get you started.

Training by time

Repeat as many series as possible, for 20 minutes, the turkish get up. For example, in the 1st series we endure 3-5 min doing turkish get changing hands, rest 1 min, and do another series, and so on up to 20 minutes. Obviously, when we see that our technique is no longer correct due to fatigue, we conclude the session, although we do not find it after 20 minutes.

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