Kettlebell Training Preparation :
A Fitness Guide
Kettlebell Training puts extra physical demands upon the body.
So with this in mind. it is vitally important that you as a practitioner, prepare and condition your body thoroughly. Before embarking on any basic or advanced kettlebell training exercise routines.
This will not only ensure that you perform the relevant exercises and workouts effectively. But more importantly, avoid serious injuries.
If you have’nt done so already. Please go to the following section Kettlebell Lifting & Exercise Guidelines before going further.
The Importance of Warm Up Routines, An Overview
There are many reasons why kettlebell training delivers exceptional returns in fat burning, weight loss and optimal muscle and fitness.
The muscle groups in question are called ‘stabilizers’ that can often lie dormant within the body, due to the over familiarisation of any particular movement pattern.
A good example of this, would be everyday functional movements such as walking, bending down, carrying or lifting on one side only, or any repetitive motion performed on a regular basis day after day.
This is also prevelant in conventional weight training.
The kettlebells unique design forces a higher recruitment of these stabilizer muscle groups, as they become activated to work in sync with the Prime Mover Muscles.
This extra recruitment equates to more muscle fibres and neural pathways being produced. Leading to better stability, movement, and eventually a fitter leaner body !
However, on the flip side of the coin, you may have to switch off other groups of muscles which become to overactive or tight. Restricting your progress from a movement standpoint, and ultimately hindering you from reaching your fitness goals.
You therefore have to strike an harmonious balance between the two, too effectively and safely mobilise the whole body.
The Part 2 Preparation Fitness Guide, starts first with how to structure and incorporate mobility and flexibility elements into your warm up routine.
These should be performed sequentially every session, prior to using ketllebells. Before moving onto Kettlebell Training Preparation Part 3.
PRELIMANARY WARM UP EXERCISES – STRETCHING & MOBILITY
This is just a guide, and not set in stone. There are many ways to skin a cat, and a multitude of different warm up routines. Some might take 5 mins, others may take 20 mins or more. But the underlying theme is, that you became familiar with a routine similar to the above
This entire programme will be subject to change as it evolves.
SMR is a technique using a foam roller that helps inhibit overactive or tight muscles.
Tight or overactive muscle groups can materialize in many different ways such as : a build up of scar tissue through injury, postural dysfunction, stress and trauma and various other causes. Though, more often they are due to bad posture.
Should you have difficulty in attempting or completing any of the kettlebell training exercises. Where incorrect biomechanical issues are seriously effecting your ability, and the risk of potential injury can arise. The SMR techniques below, should be performed prior to the general warm up, and can also be used in the Cool Down phase.
To perform many of the fundamental exercises within the kettlebell exercise library, it is important to possess a reasonable degree of flexibility. This is especially important when attempting primary foundation exercises such as Kettlebell Swings, Front Squats and Lunges.
As explained above, over active or over used major muscle groups developed by repetitive actions, can lead to posture and joint dysfunctions. And possibly contribute to breathing irregularities, that can dramatically undermine your future progression overall.
Again, please use the Over Head Squat Assessment to help determine flexibility, and to apply specific stretches for different muscle groups that may restrict your movement. When performing the kettlebell routines.
Although the 3 static stretches below should be performed every warm up.
One of the major muscles that play a vital role in utilising the hips, are the hip flexors.
If your hip flexors become tight while swinging or lifting during kettlebell training, you restrict the powerful thrust of the hip joint which acts to propel the kettlebell.
- Step into a lunge position with left leg, and push hips and hip flexor forward at a 45° angle.
- Straighten right arm and raise it so that it is touching the right side of your head
- Lean to your left, while still pushing your hips forward
- Hold for 30 seconds before switching legs and arms to repeat the process.
HIP FLEXOR STRETCH (FULL)
- Position your right foot big toe approximately 4-5″ away from a wall with both feet parallel but with your left foot big toe positioned at the end of your right foot heel. On the ball of the foot.
- While supporting yourself with your hands against the wall, proceed to bend the right knee as close as you can to the wall. Keeping your right foot and heel flat to the floor
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
- Repeat with other foot
- Lie face down (Prone Position) with hands directly under your shoulders
- Inhale deeply through nose into stomach and squeeze glute muscles hard.
- Begin to push upwards at the same time keeping hips in contact with floor.
- Keep pushing up until you can go no further, and then relax and exhale completely allowing you hips to sink down further through a increased ROM.
- Slowly return to the beginning prone position.
By breathing in while pressing up, and tensing the backside muscles (Glutes). You relax the vertebrae and increase the flexibility of the spine.
These are simple low intensity exercises, that encourage the production of a bodily substance called Synovial Fluid. This fluid acts as a lubricant to reduce friction in the joints, and has a viscosity many times greater than that of engine oil !!!
- WRIST MOBILIZATION EXERCISES form an integral part of Animal Flow Conditioning, which is an additional service offered by Kettlebell World. But they can also be incorporated as an optional mobility warm up, for kettlebell workouts.
- CHIN TO CHEST NECK ROLLS
- TRAPEZIUS SHRUGS
- ARM SWINGS (F/W-B/W)
- TORSO TWISTS
- HIP ROTATIONS
- KNEE ROTATIONS (WIDE FEET)
- ANKLE ROTATIONS
- SOLE STRETCH
- FOOT MASSAGE
Using your chin gently roll the neck across both your shoulders and chest from right to left without rotating your neck backwards
10 reps (right and left = 1 rep)
- While keeping your arms at your sides gently rotate your shoulders backwards while simultaneously bending the knees.
- Repeating in a forward
12 reps. (Forwards / Backwards)
- Swing the arms simultaneously forwards and backwards
12 reps forwards / 12 reps backwards
- Keeping your arms as loose as possible rhythmically rotate them from side to side
- Allow them to gently wrap round the sides of your torso while twisting the opposite direction ankle for maximum twist.
20 reps (right and left = 1 rep)
Rotate hips as if you are using an imaginary hoopla clockwise and anti clockwise
12 reps clockwise / anti clockwise
- Stand with legs shoulder width apart and proceed to rotate each individual knee i n the opposite direction to each other ( right knee clockwise, left knee anti clockwise ).
- Cup both knee joints with your hands for support.
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
- Keep knee circles small.
12 clockwise / anti clockwise
- Facing feet forward about shoulder width apart, proceed to draw a circle with your knee. This in turn will allow the ankle joint to automatically rotate for a more efficient Range of Motion ( ROM ).
- Repeat in the other direction and then change feet
12 clockwise and anti clockwise.
- Sit on the floor with either your left or right leg in a figure of four position across your straight leg.
- Grab hold of the bent leg ankle with your same side hand, and proceed to rotate the ankle clockwise and anticlockwise with the opposite hand.
12 reps both directions
10 reps L+R
This is an optional warm up exercise to perform before kettlebell training, but can be of great benefit in helping increase blood circulation and mental alertness through stretching and squeezing the toes.
Gently squeeze and pull each individual toe