Unless you have been living under a rock, it is pretty well-known that elite athletes and special military forces has been using kettlebells to enhance their physical performance and hack off bodyfat. So why do people still not getting the most use of the kettlebells?
Although I knew about the enormous acclaimed benefits of kettlebells, it is not until 2008 that I got my first taste of this Russian fitness tool. Despite being certified as a kettlebell instructor with a different organisation in 2008, I understood and use the kettlebells better when I got various opportunities to learn from a former Russian special ops physical training instructor named Pavel Tsatsouline and his crew of Certified Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) Instructors in early 2011. Pavel has been known as the king of kettlebells and the man who popularises the use of the kettlebells, trains special forces and help the elite lifters become even stronger.
Prior to that RKC learning experience, I did not feel I was getting the most out of the kettlebells. But I was reading about many amazing success stories of how people were getting alot stronger and fitter with the kettlebells. And yes kettlebell training was not working exactly the way I wanted before and it does not have to be that way for you. Here are the top 5 reasons why it is not working for you.
1. YOU KNOW IT ALL ALREADY
If you think you know kettlebells or you know it all already then there is really nothing you can learn about the tool. This is possibility the biggest reason why anyone cannot get the most out of the kettlebells. Even owning a bunch of high quality kettlebell instructional materials does not mean you know exactly how to use the kettlebells for the best results. Even as I was a certified kettlebell instructor in 2008 and having gone through some kettlebell training materials, I learnt the most and got the most when training in-person and getting hands-on coaching from experienced and qualified kettlebell instructors. There is nothing that can beat learning from going to a qualified kettlebell instructors both in one-on-one training or kettlebell workshops. And til today I am still learning alot from both assisting and attending the StrongFirst Kettlebell Workshops.
2. PAY NO ATTENTION TO KETTLEBELL LIFTING TECHNIQUE
Most people will try to lift the kettlebell like a dumbbell when they see one in the gym and sometimes ending up hurting themselves. But the unique off-centre mass design of the kettlebell is very unlike dumbbell and barbell. It requires a different lifting technique.
But it is also common for me as a certified kettlebell instructor to have coached students who do not put in enough focus on perfecting the lift. Performing mindlessly rep after rep of lift will not help with learning until you pay special attention to the subtleties. And getting the kettlebell techniques right is the first big step in getting the best benefits from the kettlebell. It will also help avoid unnecessary injuries. This is why getting high quality coaching from a certified kettlebell instructor will help here and is probably the quickest way to get the right techniques.
3. DOING EVERY KETTLEBELL EXERCISES
Too often, one fail to progress with kettlebell training is because of working on too many kettlebell lifts in a single training session. It may seems to make logical sense that doing more is better but it does not always hold true when applied. The truth is we have limited focus and capacity to recover physically. If you spend all your energy performing on 101 kettlebell lifts in a single session you may find yourself not able to get good at any of the kettlebell exercises as the energy and focus spent on each lift is very diluted. Then do not expect the techniques and the performance of your lifts to improve. It is better to focus on few fundamental kettlebell lifts such as Kettlebell Swings, Goblet Squats and Turkish Get Up and become very good at them before expanding on them to other lifts. Focus on few focus on quality movement. Quality always trumps quantity.
4. NOT GETTING PROFICIENT IN THE KETTLEBELL SWINGS
Having trained and prepared people for both the RKC and StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor Certification, I cannot help but noticed that achieving high proficiency in the kettlebell swings helped them prepare well for the cert. Kettlebell swings has been described as the center of universe of kettlebell. It is definitely a core kettlebell exercise that can make a big difference in kettlebell training. If you cannot swing well enough, you will not be able clean or snatch the kettlebell proficiently. And it may also mean you are not using your hips properly. Although the kettlebell swings look deceptively simple but it is one lift that most people overlooked before they moved on to the advanced moves. That is why we started running the 90-min Kettlebell Swings workshop in Perth this year to help anyone who wants to learn the techniques we teach to our students to swing the big bells. Yes it is 90 minutes long that dives deep into learning the swings. Yes it is just one lift. As Bruce Lee said “I fear not the man who practised 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who practised one kick 10000 times.”
And the workshop participants often ended up swinging much heavier kettlebells than they started. And this is certainly an example quality over quantity.
And if you have not quite get it right with the kettlebell swings, perhaps this might be the missing puzzle that hold you back from training and maybe check out our Perfect Kettlebell Swings Workshop.
5. NO STRUCTURED IN TRAINING
Although great lifting techniques can help with making progress in kettlebell training, it can only take you so far. You simply cannot expect magic to happen by randomly lifting here and there. This is why many people who showed up at the gym never got the results they wanted because they have no structured programme that caters to their goals. A well-structured training programme has to be in place once sound technique has been attained if one wants to get the most out of their time spent on training. If your kettlebell training progress is coming to a halt and you got great techniques, it is probably time to speak to an experienced kettlebell instructor about a well-thought programme or look at the following recommended resources: