9 Tips For Better Kettlebell Workouts

by Kilo on April 26, 2011

Russian kettlebell

Russian kettlebell

1. Take some time away from kettlebells

Nobody loves working out with kbs more than I do, but anything can get stale. I think the 20+ seasons of The Simpsons say it as well as anything. Nothing, no more how good it is, can stay that good forever. If the novelty of the bells wears off or you’re just not feeling the motivation to use them, why should you have to?

Take a break, do other things for a while, then come back to the giryas with renewed dedication.

2. Practice juggling

If you get bored with swings, snatches, presses, getups, and all that jazz, practice some hand-to-hand juggling and see how it treats you. It’s a way to get some exercise without thinking “I’m exercising.”

3. Don’t think you have to do every movement

I do think that being physically capable of every movement pattern is all upside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they all need to be performed all the time or that that should be your primary goal.

If you like snatches the best, I think that’s a sign. Do them. Do what you think is fun. Either you’ll get really, really good at that thing or you’ll eventually get the urge to branch out. I’ve never seen someone do so many kettlebell snatches, to the exclusion of all else, that they were suddenly incapable of anything else.

Fun in your training will lead to training longevity.

4. Experiment with different kettlebell brands

You can make progress with any weight that subject to the laws of gravity, so I don’t think it’s helpful to blame our lack of progress or our plateaus on “the wrong tool.”

But trying different brands of bells might lead you to something that works better for you. I’ve currently got a Lifeline, a few Apollos, a couple of Dragondoor bells, and a big fat Agatsu 48 kilo bell. Oh, and two Perform Better Competition bells.

5. Test your movements

Check out Grip and Rip 2.1 to find out whenspecific movements will make you better, and when they will make you worse.

6.  Focus on speed sometimes

I won’t lie, I like to look good. My primary association with hypertrophy and kettlebells may surprise you. I think that I respond better to how quickly I move the bells, versus how heavy they are. I do a lot of very light push pressing at high speeds and my shoulders continue to grow.

7.  Don’t be scared of the heavy weight either

It’s also fun to lift heavy. I’m usually working on a couple of goals where I’m always trying to hit the next bell size in pressing, jerks, TGUs, and more. There are days where I just don’t want to move that fast, or I just feel better about going heavy.

I don’t ask why, I just go.

8. Track your progress

Get a training log. Few things are as fun for lifters than improving strength levels or body composition.

If you keep track of them in a notebook you’ll never have to guess what the next PR will look like.

9. Throw them

Those handles are made for throwing. I’ve had some great workouts in the last month simply trying to see how far I can throw my different sizes of kettlebells.

Just get creative, track your workouts, and keep moving forward. All of these things make it more enjoyable for me, and that enjoyment is what keeps me returning.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patrick Tracy April 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Good suggestions, and applicable to just about any exercise program. Sometimes, you just need to change it up for a week or two. I think that we can develop the capacity to listen to our bodies and do the workouts that the body is asking for. I love heavy and grinding reps, but sometimes you just want to work that “twitch” movement, or go BTTW with a high intensity interval. To my way of thinking, all you really have to do is to trick your body into thinking that you’re wrestling a lion a few times a week, and it’ll make the desired changes.


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