WAYS TO TRAIN
There are many ways to train and drill your technique. If you are only using one bell, we recommend you start with your weak side. We usually start on the weak side for most of our techniques. All of us have one side of the body that is stronger then the other. The theory is if you work the weak side first you should have enough strength on your strong side to finish whatever technique you are doing. You will also be improving your weak side by working that side first since you will be fresh. Since you will finish the exercise on your strong side you should have better form. You should finish on a positive note.
Below are several different ways to perform your techniques. Remember you need a solid foundation in the basics before moving into these different ways to train. In many of these cases this will make your training much more difficult which is good whenever you are ready to take your training up a notch or two.
This will take your training up 10 fold if not more. In fact if you can perform an overhead anchor then you will really be testing your strength and perfection of your form. If your form is off in anyway, you will know it. In some cases, you might not be able to start or finish the technique. Be careful as you can injure yourself as some of these are high risk movements, so pay extra attention to your form and maintain complete focus when working these techniques. Your ability to swing the hips will be limited. As the difficulty of the anchors increases your hip movement will drastically decrease. Instead of swinging front to back your motion will be more of up and down with the entire body. The hanging anchor is the easiest, the racked anchor harder and the overhead anchor the most difficult. This is especially true when doing the overhead anchor.
An anchor is where one hand held stationary while the other hand performs a technique. In some cases both hands can be held in an anchor position. There is at least one bell, and sometimes two bells in the anchored hand (anchor). The anchor can have the same size bell, a lighter or even heavier bell then the hand performing the technique. You can hold the anchor in the same grip (matched grips), or a different grip than the working hand. The anchor is a power (at least one bell in each hand) technique. There are several positions for the anchor. They are each listed below from the easiest to the hardest. Enjoy.
This is the easiest of all anchors but do not let that fool you. A hanging Anchor is when the anchored arm is hanging down. The hand can be held on the outside of the leg, the front of the body inside of your thigh, or behind the back of the thigh. You can also make this harder by using a farmers carry grip.
We use the term racked or rack to indicate when the arm holding the kettlebell is resting on the arm/chest elbow tight to body. The bell can also be held in different grips/holds. We particularly like both the bottoms up anchor and the waiter anchor. A number of different positions are possible. Again this can be a matched grip or different grips.
Over Head Anchor
The over head anchor is by far the most difficult of all of the anchoring techniques. As we said before, your focus and technique needs to be near perfect when performing this type of anchor. Your anchored arm is in the overhead position and your elbow is fully locked out. Your shoulders need to be packed, and make sure you come out of your neck by keeping your shoulders packed down. There should be space between your neck and your shoulder. The same variations of grips/holds, size of kettlebell's used etc. all apply as the in the racked anchor above. Remember the over head anchor is a high risk technique, so treat with the respect it deserves. This technique is not for beginners.
All the anchors below where done while performing a swing.
All anchor techniques are essentially power exercises. Our definition of a power technique is when at least one kettlebell is in each hand. There are other ways of performing power techniques.
The double anchor can be done with any of the anchoring positions. You would use a double anchor for body movement such as squats, lunges, or just taking a walk. Again all the same rules apply. You can perform matched anchors where both anchors are in the same position and you can have same or different holds, sizes, etc. The other type of double anchor is where the hands are in two different anchor positions such as a rack and overhead anchor performing squat/lung series.
When you are training a technique or in a drill etc there are again different ways to make it more difficult. Alternating can mean different things depending on how many bells you have in your hands. This can be incorporated into any of your training.
Alternating Switch Side
When you have only 1 bell and are training with 1 arm you do not have to stop, put the bell down, then work the other side. There are several ways to switch the bell from one hand to the other. Some are very easy such as the cork screw switch or the more dramatic and flashier flipping hand switches. Check out the switching the kettlebell section for other ways to switch sides.
We described the different type of anchors above. If you want to do an anchor on 1 side, then want to switch sides here are two different ways to perform this exchange. It can be done one at a time where each hand assumes the others position one at a time. For example performing an anchored clean in the rack you would have both hands start in the rack. One hand would do the clean, the other would stay in the rack. Then, after the hands are both in the racked position you would move the other hand. We consider this a one at a time alternating anchor.
Alternating Moving Anchors
The other type of alternating anchor is when both hands move at the same time, continually, nonstop. Using the same example, once the moving hand of the clean starts coming up from the swing, the hand that is anchored in the rack starts to swing down. This all occurs simultaneously. Try the technique as we described and we guarantee that you will be breathing hard and your heart will be pounding in less then 30 seconds. It will take your overall core strength to another level.
Matched power is when both hands are performing the same technique at the same time. Again this will increase the difficulty of your training as well as test your strength and correctness of your form. If you want to test your swing to see if you are performing it correctly try swinging with two kettlebell's. There are many combinations and drills mixing different power techniques together.
Another type of power technique is when the kettlebell's are moving simultaneously but you are performing two different techniques. This can be physically difficult as well as brain intensive. To do this you will need complete and total focus on your performance. Try a bottoms up clean with one hand while performing a regular grip clean in the other, or try a clean with one hand and a snatch with the other. If you want to test your ability and see if your mind can control your body, this is the ultimate test. This type of training is excellent for keeping the mind sharp as well as improves the control you have over your body. There are many drills that require every ounce of your overall body strength, focused mind and commitment to the technique, but we believe this is one of the hardest ways to work your body and mind.
NUMBER OF REPETITIONS & SETS
This is the most common form of training. People that do weight training and other forms of training have used this method for years. Put simply, perform a technique based on a predetermined number of repetitions. What that number of repetition should be is completely up to you. For example, you can start with 3 cleans on one side and then switch to 3 cleans on the other. We have many examples and drills for repetitions. The number of repetitions can be repeated again either with the same number of repetitions or a different number of repetitions. A set is when you perform these repetitions over again for the same exercise. Again you decide the number of sets to repeat an exercise. Vary the number of repetitions and the number of sets you perform. Sometimes you might only want to do a low number of repetitions, such as a Turkish get up, or you might want to do a high number of swing repetitions. Depending on what you are training aiming for you will usually follow this rule. The lighter the weight the more reps you can perform. Conversely the heavier the weight the less reps you will do compared how many can be done with lighter weights. Find your ideal weight for each technique then vary the weight and reps. Try not to get stuck in the same old routine. Mix it up and have fun.
Using a clock is another way to perform your technique. Perform a technique for a specific amount of time. You determine the amount of time to do the technique. For example you could set the time for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other side for 30 seconds. You might decide to add a 15 second rest between each set or you could decide to go for 15 minutes straight of non stop techniques switching techniques ever 20 seconds until you reach your predetermined time. Remember you set the time to whatever works for you.
Everyone needs to rest at sometime during a workout. The time between your next repetition, next set, next exercise, etc, is the rest time. We do not believe in stopping/resting completely at the end of a drill. Use active recovery. This can be done with or without the kettlebell. Active recovery is where you are doing something such as jumping lightly in place or doing a Ti Chi waist twisters or something else that allows your heart rate and breath to return to normal. The amount of rest is up to you. The shorter the rest period the harder your body will work.
Think of a ladder. There are rungs on a ladder that let you climb up or down. You can do the same with your training. Perform a set of techniques doing them one time, then go back and repeat them two times. After you reach two go back and repeat three times, etc. Continue increasing the number until you reach your predetermined number, or reach a time limit or when you are just too fried to continue. You can also perform negative ladders where you start with a number greater then one and work your way down to the number one.
Station training is where you set up different exercises in your training space. The exercises can use or not use the kettlebell's. You will go from station to station performing the exercises that you predetermine to use. You can use time, repetitions, sets, or ladders as your indicator to move to the next station. As an example, set up a 20kg kettlebell in one area, two16kg bells in another, have a pull up bar in another area and matted or flat area to do body work. Start with the 20kg, do 10 snatches on each side, then move to the two 16’s. Do a series of 5 each of power swings, cleans, and squats. Next go to the pull up bar and do as many tactical pull-ups you can handle. Lastly go to the mat area and do 25 Hindu-pushups followed by 50 Hindu-squats. This is only an example. You can get a full body workout with only a few different stations set up.
Every technique can been done at different speed. The speed or tempo is the rate at which you perform the exercise over a period of time. Varying the speed can increase or decrease the difficulty of what you are trying to perform. This is also called rep per minute (RPM). There are times you want to increase and/or decrease the speed at which you are performing each technique. AKC training relies heavily on RPM training. They want consistency for each and every minute of performance and not increase or decrease the speed.
The rhythm is the ebb and flow of the technique you are performing. It is the interval during which a recurring sequence of events occurs. The time between these intervals can stay at the same rate or change. This is different then speed/tempo. The rhythm can flow and change drastically throughout a drill or remain the same.
STYLES OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING
There are several styles of kettlebell training. One is a hard style (RKC), meaning there is explosive power in the performance of the technique. To do this we create tension throughout the body. Remember that tension equates to strength. The more tension we can create, the more strength we will have at that time. There is a flow of soft to hard or relax to tension in the performance of the techniques.
There is also a soft style (AKC) that does not create the same tension but instead tries to stay relaxed to be able to perform large numbers of repetitions. You use less tension and more softness on the expression of your performance of techniques. Which can omly come about with a thorough understanding and performing of the technique. Flow breathing is used in that you usually inhale on the working phase of the movement and exhale on the retraction of the movement.
This is the Russian sport of kettlebells.
These are only some of the ways to train and drill your technique. Use the above ideas and mix and match the different ways to train. This is what keeps our workouts fresh and alive. We never fall into the “same old routine”. You can smooth out the movements, flow them together, slow them down, speed them up, use more power, use less, etc. Anything is possible. Experiment, play, create, enjoy, work the body, and work the mind. ALWAYS keep in mind proper movement of the body and proper position of the body for a pain free workout. Never push too much weight to fast. WARM UP first!
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