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by Sarah Lurie, RKC, CSCS

~
WILEY

Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Kettlebells For Dummies®
Published by
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Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
www . wiley.com

Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc. , Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
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10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

~
WILEY

About the Author
In October 2004, Sarah Lurie founded Iron Core, the first kettlebell training
studio in the country to exclusively offer Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC)
certified kettlebell instruction. Lurie is a former fitness competitor and did
traditional weight training for more than ten years before discovering
kettle bells. After experiencing a debilitating injury during a workout, Lurie
discovered that kettlebell training helped her overcome her injury and get
back into a comprehensive fitness routine.
Lurie is a nationally recognized kettlebell expert and has been featured in The
New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fitness Magazine, Oxygen Magazine,
Women's Health, Reader's Digest, and Newsweek. She has appeared on E!
News, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Better Homes and Gardens TV, Home
Shopping Network (HSN), and numerous local television fitness programs. Her
at-home workout DVDs are sold at retailers nationwide.
Lurie earned a BA in Economics from the University of Arizona and a Masters
in Public Administration from San Diego State University. She lives with her
husband and two daughters in San Diego.

Dedication
For my husband Jesse, daughters Emma and Grace, and P.A.L. Thanks for
teaching me love, patience, persistence, courage, commitment, and dedication (among many other things!). And, of course, Emma, your 3 a.m. wake-up
calls made this book possible.
For my dad, who believed in me from the day we drew the logo on the napkin
together.
For my mom and Garth for all your encouragement over the years.

Author's Acknou/IedfJments
It all started with the RKC in Minneapolis in June 2004. I will always be grateful to visionaries John DuCane and Pavel Tsatsouline for bringing the training
modality and equipment to the United States. Thank you to Brett Jones for
being my mentor for the first two-and-a-half (formative) years of my career.
Your willingness to share your knowledge and your precise training helped
shape my career.
This book would not have been possible without the help of Mark
Reichenthal. Thanks for believing in me enough to recommend that I author
this book.
The team at Wiley has been an absolute pleasure to work with. Thank you to
Tracy Boggier, my acquisitions editor, for all your positive encouragement
through the trial writing process. My project editor, Georgette Beatty, is top
notch and always provided the support, encouragement, and attention to
detail that I needed to get this project done - thank you. Thank you to my
copy editor, Amanda Langferman, and my technical reviewer, Andrea U-Shi
Chang, for your hard work - your attention to detail was invaluable to this
project.

Over the years, I've been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented
and caring RKCs, most of whom began as clients. I want to thank all the Iron
Core RKCs for continually being dedicated to your trade and to our clients.
Thank you to Osvaldo Aponte, Cody Bramlett, Charlie Fields, Jessie Shea,
Farrah Lin, Elizabeth Sansone, and Denise Holsapple - Iron Core would
not continue to exist without all of you. I have to give a special thank-you
to Osvaldo Aponte. Os is not only one of the most dedicated and talented
instructors I've worked with, but he's also my incredibly patient trainer, who
helped me stay in shape during both of my pregnancies and got me back
into fighting shape after baby Emma. Os, thank you for taking over when I no
longer could be there and for keeping the energy of the gym alive.
I could not have gotten through the process of completing this book without
the help and expertise of Rochelle Lewis - thank you for your patience and
professionalism.
Along the way, too, I have worked with some incredible clients who have
always given me encouragement and support throughout the years. Thank
you to Carol Raymond (my very first client), Jackie Harris, Cookie Holsapple,
Holly Kennedy, Mike Wasser, Lynne-Sharpe Underwood, and all the others
from the original Iron Core crew.
Thank you to Osvaldo Aponte, Erica Buechner, Lynne-Sharpe Underwood,
Maddy James, and Mike Byergo for your patience and professionalism as
models for this book.
Thank you to Davia Matson, my makeup artist for the book, for getting rid of
my dark circles.
A special thanks to Maurice Roy, who has been my photographer since I
started Iron Core. Your photos make the instructions in the book come alive.
Last but certainly not least, I am grateful to the readers of this book. Thank
you for purchasing the book and for wanting to learn how to use kettlebells!

Publisher's Acknowledgments
We're proud of this book; please send us your comments at http: / / durmnies . eus thelp. com.
For other comments , please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974,
outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and
Media Development
Senior Project Editor: Georgette Beatty
Acquisitions Editor: Tracy Boggier
Copy Editor: Amanda M. Langferman

Composition Services
Project Coordinator: Katherine Crocker
Layout and Graphics: Brent Savage,
Joyce Haughey, Christine Williams

Assistant Editor: Erin Calligan Mooney

Special Art: Photos © Maurice Roy Photography;
Illustrations by Kathryn Born, M.A.

Senior Editorial Assistant: David Lutton

Proofreaders: Lindsay Littrell, Linda Seifert

Technical Editor:
Andrea U-Shi Chang, RKC, CK-FMS

Indexer: Rebecca Salerno

Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker
Editorial Assistant: Jennette ElNaggar
Art Coordinator: Alicia B. South
Cover Photo: Sarah Lurie
Cartoons: Rich Tennant
(www.the5thwave.eom)

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies
Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies
Kristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies
Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel
Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel
Publishing for Technology Dummies
Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User
Composition Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services

Contents at a Glance
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
It1tr(7e1t1~ti(7t1 .••..••...••..•••..••..••...••..••...••..•••..••..•••..••..•••.. 1
Part 1: Gearit1iJ Up f(7r a Kettlebelt W(7rk(7t1t ................... 7
Chapter 1: Shaping Up with Kettlebells .......................................................................... 9
Chapter 2: A Primer on Kettlebells: What They Are and How You Use Them ......... 17
Chapter 3: Picking the Right Kettlebell and Setting Up Your Home Gym ................ 27
Chapter 4: Moves for Success: Spine and Hip Essentials .......................................... .41
Chapter 5: Breathing Right, Warming Up, Cooling Down, and Taking Care ............. 55

Part 11: BeiJit1t1it1iJ with Basi~ Kettlebelt M(7~es ............ 87
Chapter 6: Swinging Your Way to a Lean and Toned Physique ................................. 89
Chapter 7: Turkish Delight: Tackling the Turkish Get-Up ......................................... 107
Chapter 8: More Essential Exercises: The Front Squat, the Clean, and
the Military Press ........................................................................................................ 125
Chapter 9: Beginner Kettlebell Workouts to Lose the Jiggle and Build Strength .. 151

Part 111: Masterit1iJ AeI~at1~eel Kettlebelt M(7~es .......... 165
Chapter 10: Kettlebell Exercises to Help You Gain Strength, Flexibility,
and Mobility ................................................................................................................. 167
Chapter 11: Whittle Your Middle: Core Exercises ..................................................... 189
Chapter 12: Mastering the Five Ultimate Kettlebell Exercises ................................. 197
Chapter 13: Kicking It Up a Notch with Advanced Kettlebell Workouts
and Combinations ....................................................................................................... 215

Part IV: Usit1iJ Kettlebelts it1 Spe~ial Sittlati(7t1s ......... 235
Chapter 14: Addressing the Fitness Needs of Young Adults, Boomers, and Seniors .... 237
Chapter 15: Staying Fit during (and after) Your Pregnancy ..................................... 251
Chapter 16: Kettlebell Training for Athletes of All Levels ........................................ 281
Chapter 17: Rehabbing or Supporting Substantial Weight Loss with Kettlebells ........ 293

Part V: The Part (7f Tet1s ........................................... 305
Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Set and Meet Your Kettlebell Fitness Goals ................... 307
Chapter 19: Nearly Ten Guidelines for Finding and Working Out with a
Certified Trainer .......................................................................................................... 315

Appet1e1ix: Kettlebelt Res(7t1r~eS ................................. 321
It1e1ex ...................................................................... 327

Table of Contents
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
1t1tr41~t1~ti41t1 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 1
About This Book .............................................................................................. 1
Conventions Used in This Book ..................................................................... 2
What You 're Not to Read ................................................................................ 2
Foolish Assumptions ....................................................................................... 3
How This Book Is Organized .......................................................................... 3
Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout.. ...................................... 3
Part II: Beginning with Basic Kettlebell Moves .................................. .4
Part III: Mastering Advanced Kettlebell Moves .................................. 4
Part IV: Using Kettlebells in Special Situations ................................. .4
Part V: The Part of Tens ........................................................................ 5
Icons Used in This Book ................................................................................. 5
Where to Go from Here ................................................................................... 5

Part 1: Gearit19 Up f41r a Kettlebetl W41rk41t1t ................... 7
Chapter 1: Shaping Up with Kettlebells ...........................9
Comparing Kettlebells to Other Workouts ................................................. 10
Selecting Your Kettlebell and Gathering Other Gear ................................ 10
Getting a Grip on Proper Spine and Hip Alignment .................................. 11
Breathing Correctly, Warming Up, Cooling Down, and Easing Up .......... 11
Starting with Basic Exercises ....................................................................... 12
The swing .............................................................................................. 12
The Turkish get-up .............................................................................. 13
The front squat, the clean, and the military press .......................... 13
Moving to Advanced Exercises .................................................................... 14
Kettlebells for Special Audiences ................................................................ 14
Young adults, boomers, and seniors ................................................. 14
Pregnant women and women who have just delivered .................. 15
Athletes of all levels ............................................................................. 15
Folks recovering from an injury or undergoing
substantial weight loss .................................................................... 16

Chapter 2: A Primer on Kettlebells: What They
Are and How You Use Them .................................... 17
Getting to Know Kettlebells ......................................................................... 17
Taking a closer look at what kettle bells are and how
they differ from other weights ........................................................ 18
Identifying who can use kettle bells ................................................... 19

Kettlebells For Dummies

------------------------------------------------

Body Beauty and Strength: Surveying the Benefits
of Kettlebell Training ................................................................................. 19
Building strength and cardio endurance .......................................... 20
Working more than just a few of your muscles ............................... 20
Maintaining interest and increasing strength with its versatility .. 21
Using less equipment to do more ...................................................... 21
Challenging your mind ........................................................................ 22
Keeping a Few Important Safety Considerations in Mind ........................ 22
Choosing high-energy workout times and getting plenty of rest
between workouts ............................................................................ 22
Understanding space and flooring requirements ............................ 23
Knowing what to wear for maximum comfort and movement ...... 24
Safely handling the weight of your kettle bell ................................... 26
Watching out for muscle strain .......................................................... 26

Chapter 3: Picking the Right Kettlebell
and Setting Up Your Home Gym . ............................... .27
Testing Your Flexibility and Strength to Determine
the Right Kettlebell Size ............................................................................ 28
The basic squat test ............................................................................ 28
The overhead squat test ..................................................................... 30
The overhead press test ..................................................................... 32
Considering a Few Other Important Kettlebell Traits .............................. 33
Honing in on the handle ...................................................................... 33
Accept no substitutions: Springing for a cast-iron belL ................ 35
Thinking about Quantity and Cost Before You Buy .................................. 37
How many kettle bells do you need? .................................................. 37
How much should you pay for one kettlebell?. ............................... 37
Considering Other Equipment Options for Your Home Gym .................. 38
Taking Them Bells on the Road ................................................................... 39
Taking your kettlebell to the gym ...................................................... 39
Examining outdoor kettlebell workout options .............................. .40
Going on a trip with your kettlebell... ................................................ 40

Chapter 4: Moves for Success: Spine and Hip Essentials . ........ .41
Back It Up: Getting a Grip on Neutral Spine ............................................... 41
Sitting back to achieve neutral spine ................................................ 43
Understanding the importance of maintaining a neutral spine ..... 46
Positioning your head and neck properly ........................................ 47
It's All in the Hips .......................................................................................... 48
Finding the perfect hip snap stance .................................................. 49
Rooting yourself for a strong hip snap ............................................. 50
Generating force from the ground up and snapping your hips ..... 51
Connecting with your kettlebell as you snap your hips ................. 52

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Table of Contents
Chapter 5: Breathing Right, Warming Up,
Cooling Down, and Taking Care . .............................. .55
Breathing Properly ........................................................................................ 56
Understanding how to relax under tension ...................................... 56
Tightening your virtual belt with diaphragmatic breathing ........... 57
Knowing when to inhale and exhale during
your kettlebell exercises ................................................................. 58
Off to a Good Start: Warming Up ................................................................. 59
Doing dynamic stretches .................................................................... 59
Incorporating your kettlebell in your warm-up ............................... 63
Challenging your joints with Z-Health warm-up options ................ 68
It's Over! Cooling Down the Right Way ....................................................... 72
Quick 'n' easy stretches for your whole body ................................. 72
Band stretches for your lower body ................................................. 74
Foam roller release stretches ............................................................. 76
Taking Care of Yourself after a Workout .................................................... 79
Surveying soreness solutions ............................................................. 80
If you've really overdone it: Modifying your program for success ..... 81
Going Up a Notch: Adding Active Rest Options to Your Workout .......... 82
For your core: The plank .................................................................... 82
For your lower body: The jump squat .............................................. 83
For your whole body: The burpee ..................................................... 84

Part 11: 8elJinninlJ with 8asic Kettlebelt Mo"es............. 87
Chapter 6: Swinging Your Way to a Lean and Toned Physique . .... .89
Starting in the Right Position and Practicing the Swing Move ................ 90
Settling into the right start position .................................................. 90
The practice swing without the kettlebell.. ...................................... 91
The practice dead lift with the kettlebell... ....................................... 92
Ready, Set, Swing! .......................................................................................... 94
The two-arm swing .............................................................................. 95
The one-arm swing .............................................................................. 96
The alternating swing .......................................................................... 98
Easy Solutions for Bad Swinging Form ..................................................... 101
Eliminating back pain with face-the-wall squats ............................ 101
Making your hips do the work with the towel swing .................... 102
Combating knee pain with box squats ............................................ 104

Chapter 7: Turkish Delight: Tackling the Turkish Get-Up . ........ .107
Practicing the Turkish Get-Up without a Kettlebell ................................ 108
The nonweighted half Turkish get-up ............................................. 108
The nonweighted full Turkish get-up .............................................. 110

«

XI

-XII

Kettlebells For Dummies --------------------------------------------Mastering the Turkish Get-Up Progression .............................................. 111
Settling into the right start position with a kettlebell ................... 112
The half Turkish get-up ..................................................................... 114
The full Turkish get-up ...................................................................... 115
The overhead squat Turkish get-up ................................................ 117
The tactical Turkish get-up ............................................................... 118
Correcting Your Form during the Turkish Get-Up .................................. 120
Maintaining shoulder connection with
a simple partner exercise .............................................................. 121
Keeping your shoulder in its socket and your elbow locked ....... 122
Perfecting your overhead squat form ............................................. 123

Chapter 8: More Essential Exercises: The Front Squat,
the Clean, and the Military Press . ............................ .125
Getting Strong, Sexy Legs, Glutes, and Abs with the Front Squat ......... 126
Settling into the right start position for the front squat.. ............. 127
Practicing the front squat without the kettle bell .......................... 127
Performing the front squat with the kettlebell .............................. 129
Using corrective techniques for the front squat ........................... 131
Bringing the Bell to the Rack: The Clean .................................................. 136
Settling into the right start position for the clean ......................... 136
Moving through the clean progression ........................................... 137
Solving form problems with the face-the-wall clean ..................... 143
Strengthening and Sculpting Your Arms with the Military Press .......... 145
Doing the basic military press ......................................................... 145
Trying variations of the military press ........................................... 147
Fixing bad military press form ......................................................... 149

Chapter 9: Beginner Kettlebell Workouts to Lose
the Jiggle and Build Strength .................................151
Beginner Workout 1: Flab to Fab ............................................................... 152
Beginner Workout 2: Cardio Burn ............................................................. 155
Beginner Workout 3: Power and Strength ................................................ 159
Putting Together a Program of Beginner Workouts during the Week. .... 160
A sample plan for doing kettlebells two days per week ............... 161
A sample plan for doing kettlebells three days per week ............. 162
A sample plan for doing kettlebells four days per week ............... 162

Part 111: Masterin9 Adr/anced Kettlebell Mor/es ........... 165
Chapter 10: Kettlebell Exercises to Help You Gain
Strength, Flexibility, and Mobility . ............................ .167
The Windmill ................................................................................................ 167
The low windmill ................................................................................ 168
The high windmill .............................................................................. 170

--------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents

The two-kettle bell windmill .............................................................. 171
Correcting your windmill form with a partner exercise ............... 173
The One-Arm Row ....................................................................................... 174
The Renegade Row with One Kettlebell ................................................... 176
The High Pull ................................................................................................ 177
The Single-Leg Dead Lift ............................................................................. 180
Doing the single-leg dead lift with two hands on the kettlebell ...... 180
Trying a one-handed variation of the single-leg dead lift ............. 182
Performing a corrective exercise for the single-leg dead lift ....... 182
The Tactical Lunge ...................................................................................... 184
The Deck Squat ............................................................................................ 186
Performing the basic deck squat ..................................................... 186
Using different methods to help you perform
the deck squat successfully .......................................................... 187

Chapter 11: Whittle Your Middle: Core Exercises ................ 189
The Hot Potato ............................................................................................. 190
The Seated Russian Twist ........................................................................... 192
The Renegade Row with Two Kettlebells ................................................. 193
Putting It All Together: A IS-Minute Core Circuit.. .................................. 195

Chapter 12: Mastering the Five Ultimate Kettlebell Exercises ..... 197
The Clean and Jerk ...................................................................................... 198
The Snatch .................................................................................................... 200
The Overhead Squat. ................................................................................... 203
The basic overhead squat ................................................................ 203
Corrective drills for the overhead squat ........................................ 204
The Sots Press .............................................................................................. 206
The Pistol: The Ultimate in Leg and Glute Strength ................................ 207
The pistol without a kettle bell ......................................................... 207
The pistol with a kettlebell ............................................................... 208
Fixing form with the assisted pistol ................................................ 210
Building Endurance and Strength with Five
Fiery Five-Minute Workouts .................................................................... 211
Workout 1: Leg- and glute-endurance builder ................................ 211
Workout 2: Upper-body strengthener and
cardio-endurance builder .............................................................. 212
Workout 3: Upper- and lower-body strengthener .......................... 212
Workout 4: Lower-body strengthener and
cardio-endurance builder .............................................................. 213
Workout 5: Cardio-endurance builder and fat burner .................. 213

Chapter 13: Kicking It Up a Notch with Advanced
Kettlebell Workouts and Combinations .........................215
Advanced Workout 1: Flab to Fab ............................................................. 216
Advanced Workout 2: Cardio Burn ........................................................... 218
Advanced Workout 3: Power and Strength .............................................. 220

--XIII

xit!

Kettlebells For Dummies ----------------------------------------------Advanced Workout 4: Tabata Protocol .................................................... 221
Great Kettlebell Combinations to Try ....................................................... 222
The hot potato/Russian twist combo .............................................. 223
The single-leg dead lift/one-arm row combo .................................. 224
The full Turkish get-up/high windmill combo ................................ 224
The deck squat/snatch combo ......................................................... 226
Man or woman maker ........................................................................ 228
Quick but Challenging Combo Workouts ................................................. 231

Part If!: UsiniJ Kettlebetls in Special Situations ............. 235
Chapter 14: Addressing the Fitness Needs of
Young Adults, Boomers, and Seniors . ......................... .237
Modifying Your Routine to Fit Your Situation ......................................... 238
Making Kettlebells Work for Young Adults .............................................. 238
Some special guidelines for young adults ...................................... 239
Great exercises for young adults ..................................................... 240
Putting together an effective program ............................................ 243
Adjusting Kettlebell Workouts for Boomers and Seniors ....................... 244
Some handy advice for boomers and seniors ................................ 245
Excellent exercises for boomers and seniors ................................ 246
Building a safe program .................................................................... 249

Chapter 15: Staying Fit during (and after) Your Pregnancy . ...... .251
Gearing Up for a Prenatal Kettlebell Workout ......................................... 252
Before you do anything else: Getting your doctor's clearance .... 252
Figuring out which size kettlebell to use ........................................ 253
Replenishing calories after every kettle bell workout ................... 253
Core Strength and More: Working Out with Kettlebells
during Your Pregnancy ........................................................................... 253
Keeping your balance while strengthening your core .................. 254
Modifying the clean and press for core
and upper-body strength .............................................................. 256
Making your core and back strong with the one-arm row ........... 258
Keeping your core strong for the big push .................................... 260
Preparing for labor: Squatting for core, leg, and
glute strength .................................................................................. 261
Using additional exercises to keep your core and
lower body strong .......................................................................... 264
Trying three complete workouts ..................................................... 268
Powering Up with Postnatal Kettlebells ................................................... 269
Before you begin: Getting your doctor's clearance
for a postnatal workout ................................................................. 270
Great exercises for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles ...... 270
Three at-home kettle bell workouts ................................................. 271
Baby as your bell: Using your baby as resistance ......................... 273

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Table of Contents
Chapter 16: Kettlebell Training for Athletes of All Levels ........ .281
Kettlebells for High School, College, Professional,
and Recreational Athletes ....................................................................... 282
Setting up a training schedule .......................................................... 282
Trying three great kettlebell exercises ........................................... 283
Kettlebells for Weekend Warriors ............................................................. 287
Essential exercises and combinations ............................................ 287
Programs for back-to-back training days ........................................ 289

Chapter 17: Rehabbing or Supporting Substantial Weight Loss
with Kettlebells ............................................ .293
Using Kettlebells As You Recover from an Injury ................................... 293
Getting your doctor's clearance and finding a trainer .................. 294
Trying three all-around rehab exercises ......................................... 294
Taking it easy and avoiding certain exercises ............................... 297
Supporting Major Weight Loss with Kettlebells ...................................... 299
Getting your doctor's clearance ...................................................... 300
Sizzling the fat with three great exercises ...................................... 300
Putting together a safe program ...................................................... 303

Part V: The Part of Tens ............................................ 305
Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Set and Meet Your
Kettlebell Fitness Goals . .................................... .307
Be Specific about Your Goals ..................................................................... 308
Write Out Your Kettlebell Road Map ........................................................ 309
Set Up Your Workout Area ......................................................................... 309
Have Your Body Fat Tested ........................................................................ 310
Plan Your Meals ........................................................................................... 311
Find a Certified Instructor .......................................................................... 312
Get Moving! ................................................................................................... 312
Surf the Web for Even More Info ............................................................... 313
Measure Your Progress .............................................................................. 313
Keep Your Workouts Fresh ........................................................................ 314

Chapter 19: Nearly Ten Guidelines for Finding and
Working Out with a Certified Trainer . ......................... .315
Check the Trainer's Credentials and Experience .................................... 316
Beware of a Trainer Who Doesn't Ask about Your Health History ....... 318
Watch Out for Nutritional Advice from the Trainer ................................ 318
Set Goals and Measure Progress Together .............................................. 318
Find Out How the Trainer Teaches Basic Kettlebell Exercises ............. 319

XII

xtli

Kettlebells For Dummies -------------------------------------------Assess the Kettlebell Size the Trainer Recommends .............................. 319
Make Sure the Trainer Focuses on Form and Technique,
Not on Counting Reps .............................................................................. 320
Determine Whether the Trainer Practices What He or She Preaches .. 320

Appendix: Kettlebelt Resources ................................................ 321
Index .............................................................................................................................................. 32jr

Introduction
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

~

e biggest question on your mind when you picked up this book may

have been, "What exactly are kettle bells?" Simply stated, kettlebells are
weights that look like cannonballs with handles; exercising with them
combines strength training and cardio training into one workout. Using
kettlebells has been hailed in recent years as the most efficient and effective
way to train your body for burning tons of fat, getting super strong and lean,
and obtaining the ultimate physique. Professional athletes, Hollywood stars,
fitness enthusiasts, and novice exercisers have all found in kettle bells what
they couldn't find in other workouts - an exercise program that can be done
in half the time of a regular workout routine with twice the results.
I got involved with kettle bells when they were still in their infancy - not many
people had heard of Russian kettlebells back in 2003, and very few qualified
kettlebell instructors, books, or workout DVDs existed. However, since that
time, kettle bell training has grown by leaps and bounds; major fitness
organizations recognize it not only as a legitimate training tool but also as one
of the best tools available for getting lean and strong. Many qualified trainers
now teach students across the country how to use kettlebells. And university
research studies are beginning to surface, proving what Russian kettle bell
expert Pavel Tsatsouline and his first wave of kettle bell enthusiasts knew all
along - kettlebells are the ultimate exercise tool for anyone who's willing to
put in the time to learn how to use them and isn't afraid of a little sweat.

About This Book
My goal in this book is to use both photos and step-by-step instruction to
explain precisely and concisely how to use kettlebells, beginning with the
most fundamental principles (such as proper form for your spine and hips).
I guide you through a number of basic exercises to help you start using your
kettle bell properly, quickly, and safely, and I help you progress to more
advanced moves to help you get the absolute most out of your exercise time.
In addition, although I wrote this book with the novice in mind, those of you
who have used kettle bells before can find plenty of useful information that
you may have missed when you first started using kettlebells - nuances
on form and technique that can make a big difference in the results you get
from your routine. I also include information on advanced moves to take your
workout to the next level and pointers for special audiences who want to use
kettle bells , such as young adults, baby boomers, seniors, pregnant women,
and others.

2

Kettlebells For Dummies _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
And keep in mind that you don't have to read this book from cover to cover;
I've organized this book so you can dip into and out of it to find the information
you need when you need it.

Conflentions Used in This Book
The instructions in this book are meant to be simple, yet comprehensive,
to help you establish proper form and technique from the very beginning of
your kettlebell practice. With that in mind, I use the following conventions to
help you navigate through the information easily:

v For most of the fundamental kettle bell exercises, I walk you through the
basics of the exercise without using your kettle bell before I explain how
to do it using your kettlebell.

v I include at least two photos (and in some cases three or more) with the
majority of the exercises in this book so you can see what each stage of
the exercise looks like.

v I include opportunities for you to practice your technique and form
after I explain how to do each exercise by providing you with a practice
set of reps.

v I write all instructions and explanations in nontechnical terms so that
you aren't bogged down by unfamiliar language; whenever necessary,
I use italics to point out new terms or add emphasis.

v I present step-by-step instructions in boldface to help you easily identify
what you need to know to properly execute the exercise.
Any extra explanatory text that helps you get a better handle on a
particular step appears in roman text after the boldface step.

v I use mono font to make Web sites stand out.
When this book was printed, some Web addresses may have needed to
break across two lines of text. If that happened, rest assured that I haven't
put in any extra characters (such as hyphens) to indicate the break. So,
when using one of these Web addresses, just type in exactly what you see
in this book, pretending as though the line break doesn't exist.

What You're Not to Read
This book is packed full of detailed information that explains how to use
kettle bells, and it's based on my experience of teaching new students how
to use kettlebells for the first time. I certainly won't object if you read this
book from cover to cover, but if necessary, you can safely skip anything

marked with an Advanced Stuff icon; you can also skip sidebars (in shaded
gray boxes). These items contain interesting information but aren't crucial to
understanding how to use kettlebells.

Foolish Assumptions
As I wrote this book, I made a few assumptions about you. Basically,
I assumed the following:
V

You're a novice when it comes to kettlebells. In other words, you've
either heard of or read about kettle bells and may have watched clips of
other people using them, but either have never touched a kettle bell or
recently bought one and don't know what to do with it.

v If you have used kettlebells and are self-taught, you may be lacking in
some areas of your form and technique. For you, the instructions I present
in this book will provide clarification on what you already know - and
will undoubtedly make a big difference in the results you get from your
kettle bell routine.
V

You possess little fitness experience and are looking for a workout routine
that's fun and challenging and that gets results; oh, and you aren't afraid
of elevating your heart rate and working your muscles!

HouJ This Book Is Or9anizeti
Kettlebells For Dummies is organized into five parts with each part offering you
detailed information on specific topics related to kettlebells. The following
sections explain what each part covers.

Part 1: GearinfJ Up for
a Kettlebell Workout
Part I gives you an overview of kettlebell training and explains how it differs
from traditional fitness programs. It provides information on the benefits of
kettle bell training, the reasons why it works, and essential safety considerations you need to take before and during your workouts. Knowing what size
kettle bell to start with and how to pick the right quality kettle bell is a subject
that many newbies have trouble with, so I dedicate an entire chapter to helping you pick the right kettle bell and set up a safe and effective home gym. In
addition, Part I details essential hip, spine, and breathing techniques to get
you moving and using your kettlebell properly, and it offers warm-up and
cool-down options to help you start and finish your workouts safely.

Kettlebells For Dummies ------------------------------------------------

Part 11: BeiJinniniJ with Basic
Kettlebell Mo(les
Part II is one of the most important parts of the book because it shows you
how to build the foundation for your entire kettlebell practice. It's full of
step-by-step instructions that take you through the fundamental kettle bell
exercises, like the swing and the Turkish get-up. For each exercise, you find
valuable information on how to fix your form or technique if you're having
trouble with the exercise. You also find some basic workout routines that
allow you to start practicing right away with a cohesive workout program
(after you master the basics, of course!).

Part 111: MasteriniJ Ad(lanced
Kettlebell Mo(les
When you're ready to kick your kettlebell workouts up a notch, take a look
at Part III; it offers intermediate and advanced moves to help you keep your
workout challenging. In addition, it covers some great abdominal-specific
exercises that work your core even more than the advanced full-body kettlebell exercises do. Be forewarned, though, this part contains five ultimate
kettlebell exercises that will take your training to a whole new level- with
a little time and patience, of course! To help you put the exercises I cover in
this part together into an effective (and challenging) workout routine, I offer
a few workout options for you to tryout at the end of this part.

Part IV: UsiniJ Kettlebells
in Special Situations
Over the years, I've been lucky enough to work with a variety of individuals at
different life stages and fitness levels. Whether you're a young adult, a baby
boomer or senior, a pregnant woman, an athlete, or someone who's overweight or rehabbing from an injury, you find what you need to know in this
part to adapt your kettle bell workout to your particular situation. Kettlebells
are a highly adaptable tool if they're used correctly. In this part, I use a conservative approach to help you incorporate a few kettlebell exercises into
your specific workout routine, but, as you gain confidence with kettlebells,
you'll find that the rest of this book is just as helpful as this particular part.

Part (/: The Part of Tens
A signature of For Dummies books, the Part of Tens contains lists of ten
things you may want to know about kettlebells. Chapter 18 details ten ways
you can set and meet your kettlebell fitness goals, and Chapter 19 points out
ten tips for working with a kettlebell trainer. The appendix lists resources to
help you find anything and everything you may need related to kettlebells,
including a list of certified trainers near you.

Icons Used in This 800k
The icons in this book are true to For Dummies style and point out especially
useful tidbits of information. Here's a list of the icons I use in this book:
This icon points out important information that you should take away from
this book and apply to every kettle bell workout you do.

This icon points out nuances and variations on form and technique that can
help make the exercises easier.

This icon alerts you to some essential information on safe form and technique.
Read the information attached to this icon so you don't hurt yourself!

If you master a basic exercise and feel ready to progress, use the information

highlighted with this icon to guide you in doing more challenging variations.

Where to Go from Here
If you're a beginner and just want to dive right in, flip to Chapter 2 to take

note of some important safety considerations you need to follow, Chapter 3 to
choose the right size kettlebell, and Chapter 4 to begin with some spine and hip
essentials. Then be sure to read Chapter 5 on warming up, cooling down, and
breathing right before attempting the basic exercises in Chapters 6, 7, and 8.
If you've used kettle bells before, you may still want to take a look at Chapters

4 and 5 to make sure you're using the right form and techniques in your exercises. Then feel free to move on to Parts II and III, where you can start working on basic and, eventually, more advanced kettlebell exercises.

6

Kettlebells For Dummies _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
If you fall into any of the special-situation categories in Part IV, begin with

Chapters 4 and 5, and then skip to the appropriate chapter on your particular
situation, where you can find the guidance you need to get started.
No matter where you fall on the fitness spectrum, kettlebells will help you
achieve your fitness, health, and wellness goals. As you start your kettle bell
fitness journey, get ready to be encouraged with some instant results: your
skin will feel firmer, your posture will improve, and you'll have more energy
for life's everyday challenges. After you commit to a workout schedule,
within weeks, you'll notice more positive changes. For example, you'll feel
stronger, your clothes will begin to fit better, you'll have more endurance,
and your friends and family will probably ask you what you've been doing
differently. I've seen some remarkable results from my clients who have
committed themselves to learning and practicing kettle bells. Use this book to
begin your journey to achieving your ultimate body - and don't forget, I'll be
with you every step of the way!

Part I


earlng
ett e e
The 5th Wave

ora
or out
By Rich Tennant

"A kettlebell? Im3sine somethins the ~eisht of
3 bo~lins b311 only ~ith 3 h3nd1e,
like Mommy's 'Pu'rse.'1t

In this part . ..
f you're ready to get moving with kettlebells, you're in
.. the right place. In this part, you find information on
what kettle bells are, the benefits your body gets from a
kettlebell workout, and the important safety considerations
you need to keep in mind as you train. If you want to find
out what size kettle bell to use, get the scoop on where to
buy it, and determine how many bells you need, look no
further - this part has all these answers, too.
To be successful with a kettle bell workout program, you
need to know how to align your spine and move your hips
as well as how to warm up, cool down, and breathe properly.
Lucky for you, this part is here to show you how to do all
this and more.

Chapter 1

Shaping Up with Kettlebells
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
In This Chapter
~

Seeing how kettle bell workouts are different from other routines

~

Choosing a kettle bell and other gear

~

Knowing how to align your spine and hips

~

Breathing right, warming up, cooling down, and being careful if you overdo your workout

~

Introducing basic and advanced moves

~

Adjusting workouts for special circumstances

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

W

lcome to the world of kettlebells! A kettle bell, which looks like a
cannonball with a handle, is a very simple, yet effective piece of
equipment that allows you to work most of your muscle groups at the same
time. Because of the fast-paced, dynamic motions in kettle bell exercises, your
heart rate increases with each repetition, keeping your body in the fatburning zone throughout your workout.
One of the greatest things about using kettlebells is that you don't need to
be a hard-core, experienced fitness enthusiast to start using them. However,
if you want to get the results that a kettle bell offers, you do have to challenge
and tax your muscles and cardiovascular strength. Kettlebells are a tough,
no-nonsense workout tool that will challenge you both physically and mentally.
So, if you're someone who prefers to read your paper on the treadmill, kettlebells are probably not a good choice for you. On the other hand, if you're
someone who enjoys being challenged when you work out, you'll surely find
success with kettlebells. As you become a more experienced kettlebeller,
you'll be pushed to your limit as you swing and snatch your way to a stronger
and more confident you.
In this chapter, I introduce you to some kettle bell fundamentals, including
how kettlebells are different from other workouts and how to move your
spine and hips properly when using them. I also describe a sampling of basic
exercises, show you where to go if you're ready to advance to more challenging
exercises, and note how special audiences can work out with kettle bells.
Prepare to get moving!

10

Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

ComparinfJ Kettlebells to Other Workouts
Kettlebell exercise is different from traditional weight lifting and other fitness
programs in many ways. For example,
VI' Kettlebells combine a strength-training and cardiovascular workout into

one program. Very few workout programs accomplish such a combination,
and those that do aren't accessible to or easily learned by the novice.
Olympic lifting comes close to the power and strength you get from working
out with kettlebells, but it lacks the versatility of kettlebells. Ever try
swinging a barbell between your legs? Besides, Olympic lifts aren't nearly as
easy to learn as kettlebell exercises. And I don't know about you, but I don't
have any desire to squat 400 pounds on a regular basis.
VI' Most kettlebell exercises utilize all your major muscle groups. A kettle-

bell workout doesn't isolate muscle groups, so instead of working just
one muscle group like you do with a dumbbell, kettlebells work multiple
muscle groups with each exercise. The result is a workout that's quicker,
more efficient, and more effective than a traditional workout routine.
Check out Chapter 2 to find out more about the benefits of working out with
kettle bells and how to use them safely.

SelectinfJ Your Kettlebell and
GatherinfJ Other Gear
One very appealing aspect of kettlebell workouts is that you don't need much
equipment to do them. One kettle bell is all you need to start with, and, if
you choose the correct size at the beginning, you won't have to go and buy
another one for a while. Plus, even when you are ready to move up in kettlebell weight, you'll still have uses for your lighter kettle bell (such as during
warm-up exercises that involve the kettlebell; see Chapter 5). Typically,
experienced kettlebellers (or those who just want to try a few of the twokettle bell workouts like the ones I provide in this book) have two or three
kettle bells , but even so, relative to some other fitness programs, kettlebells
are an inexpensive fitness tool. Refer to Chapter 3 for a complete discussion
on how to pick the right size kettle bell and where to get one.
The only other gear besides your kettle bell that you really need to get started
is a stopwatch, a yoga mat (or some sort of padded flooring like carpet), and
this book. Any other equipment listed throughout the book is optional, and I
give you plenty of alternatives for using items you probably already have in
your house Oike a chair) so you can get started right away. And it's okay if you

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Chapter 1: Shaping Up with Kettlebells
haven't purchased your kettlebell just yet, because, with most of the foundational exercises, I help you practice without your kettle bell before I show you
how to do the exercise with your kettlebell.

GettinfJ a Grip on Proper Spine
and Hip AtifJnment
When it comes to using kettle bells the right way, you need to take some
time to figure out how to position your spine and move from your hips to
maximize the benefit you get from your workout and minimize the chance
of injury. The majority of people I've trained over the years don't know how
to position their spine and hips properly when they take their first kettlebell
class because most traditional exercises don't incorporate these essential
principles. Here's one big example: People who perform squat exercises in
the gym typically use a machine to assist them, and, when they squat, their
range of motion is limited.
However, when you squat down to the floor to pick up a box or some other
object (like a kettle bell) , not only do you need a greater range of motion than
a typical squat requires of your body, but you also need to know how to
initiate the movement from your hips (so you don't hurt your back), how to
brace your abdominals (so you stabilize your core for strength and control
throughout the movement), and how to press through your heels to activate
your glutes and hamstrings (see Chapter 4 for more details). Kettlebells help
you master these basic techniques and show you that moving in this way is
actually very natural.
I can't emphasize enough how the essential techniques in Chapter 4 will
benefit your body and get you moving for success. There, you find the details
on achieving neutral spine (the naturalS curve in your back) and snapping
your hips the right way so you're properly aligned throughout all your kettlebell workouts.

BreathinfJ CorrecttlJ] WarminfJ Up]
CootinfJ Down] and EasinfJ Up
Mastering the right breathing technique is an essential part of using kettlebells properly. But, don't worry - it isn't as technical as it sounds. In fact,
breathing the right way for kettlebells comes quite naturally, and after you
know how to use the right breathing pattern during your exercises, your
breathing in everyday life will feel much more powerful and less shallow.

11

12

Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
The technique I recommend is called diaphragmatic breathing, and it's simply
a way to tighten your virtual belt - which is also known as abdominal bracing.
Using this breathing technique allows you to protect yourself from the weight
and force of your kettle bell before you even execute an exercise by stabilizing
your core with breath control.
In addition, like any fitness program, warming up, cooling down, and making
sure you haven't overdone it are important parts of being successful with
your routine.

v You can use dynamic stretches and Z-Health options during your warmup; you can also incorporate your kettlebell into your warm-up.
V

To cool down, you can do some quick 'n' easy stretches as well as use a
band and a foam roller.

v If you find yourself sore after a workout, you can try some simple techniques to ease the soreness; if you've really gone overboard, you need
to modify your program for success.
Make sure to read through Chapter 5 to figure out how to breathe, warm up,
and cool down properly and how to relieve muscle soreness. (As a bonus in
that chapter, I also discuss some options for making your workout's rest
periods a little more active.)

StartinfJ with Basic Exercises
To begin your kettle bell practice, you need to learn a few basic foundational
exercises. If you take the time to hone these basic movements, you'll find it
much easier to learn more intermediate and advanced exercises, not to
mention you'll be less likely to develop bad habits in form and technique.
Starting with the basic exercises I cover in Chapters 6 through 8 (and introduce
in the following sections) is necessary for you to get above-average results
from your kettle bell workout - and speaking of workouts, I provide a few
full-length routines built from these basics in Chapter 9.

The sulin9
The swing is the first foundational exercise I walk you through in this book,
and it has many variations. However, you need to master only three basic
variations to have a well-rounded kettlebell routine:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Chapter 1: Shaping Up with Kettlebells

v Two-ann swing: The most basic swing exercise, this variation requires
you to have two hands on the kettle bell when moving it.

v One-ann swing: As you probably guessed, this variation involves
moving the kettle bell with only one hand on it.

v Alternating swing: For this slightly more advanced variation, you have
to switch your hand positioning while the kettlebell is "live" or in the air.
None of these variations is particularly difficult to execute; in fact, the basic
movement in the swing is quite natural. Its benefits include trimming and
strengthening your core and rear, building cardiovascular endurance, and
burning lots of fat. Refer to Chapter 6 for complete details on performing swings.

The Turkish (Jet-up
Although the Turkish get-up is considered a basic exercise, it's one of the
most difficult exercises to master. The good news is that you can break down
the Turkish get-up into manageable steps, so you can master one part of the
movement at a time and then put them together as you go. Before you know
it, you'll be performing the complete exercise flawlessly.
Even though doing this exercise well takes some practice, like the swing, it's
an important foundational exercise to master. The Turkish get-up shows you
how to keep your shoulders sunk into their sockets, which is an essential
principle in all kettle bell exercises. The Turkish get-up also has many other
benefits - developing shoulder and core stability and increasing shoulder
mobility, just to name a couple. Chapter 7 offers a comprehensive lesson on
how to master the Turkish get-up and its variations.

The front st{uat] the clean]
and the militarlJ press
The front squat, the clean, and the military press round out the foundational
exercises. After you master the swing, doing the squat, the clean, and the
press is somewhat simpler because you already know how to move the
kettle bell with your hips, maintain proper spine alignment, and follow other
important principles that carryover to these exercises. The squat, the clean,
and the press all strengthen your core, help slim your waist and glutes, increase
your mobility and flexibility, and build cardiovascular and muscular endurance. See Chapter 8 for the fundamentals of these three moves.

13

III

Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

MoflinfJ. to Adflanced Exercises
To make progress with your kettlebell workout, you have to continue to
challenge your body. Sometimes my workouts consist of only the five basic
exercises that I describe in the preceding section, but most workouts have
at least one or two intermediate-to-advanced exercises in them, too. Here's
where to go to get more info:

v Check out Chapter 10 to find exercises that take your training beyond
the basics with moves specifically meant to improve your strength,
flexibility, and mobility.

v Turn to Chapter 11 for some abdominal-specific exercises that focus on
working your core even more than the other kettlebell moves.

v Go to Chapter 12 for details on how to do the five ultimate kettlebell
exercises that test your body from head to toe and further increase
your strength and cardiovascular endurance.
To wrap up, Chapter 13 provides a few routines built from these advanced exercises (with a few basic exercises and combinations thrown in for good measure).

Kettlebells for Special Audiences
I address several categories of special audiences in Part IV of this book, and I
offer a few variations for exercises so that, no matter what your circumstances
are, you can get started right away with your kettle bell routine. These audiences
include young adults, baby boomers, and seniors; pregnant women as well as
women who have just given birth; athletes of all levels; and people who are
rehabbing from injury or in the process of major weight loss.

Youn9 adults} boomers} and seniors
Whether you're a young adult, a baby boomer, or a senior, you can find
success with a kettlebell workout. I've worked with all these age groups, and
I haven't found much difference between what you can do with kettlebells
compared with what someone who's considered an average exerciser can do.
Typically, if you fall into one of these categories, the only differences are that
you use a lighter weight than the average person and your workouts don't

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Chapter 1: Shaping Up with Kettlebells
last as long. Some exercises I don't recommend for a beginner young adult,
boomer, or senior, but, as time goes on and you get more confident with the
workout, most of the exercises in this book will be a good fit for you.
Flip to Chapter 14 for the full scoop on adjusting your kettlebell workout if
you're a young adult, a boomer, or a senior.

Pref/.nant women and women
who halle just delillered
As I wrote this book, I was pregnant with my second child. I exercised with
kettlebells throughout my first pregnancy, used them to melt away the baby
fat after my baby was born, and continued to use them during my second
pregnancy. Not only have I always felt energetic, strong, and mobile, but I've
never experienced any back pain typical of most pregnant women. In addition,
I've had lots of strength, energy, and flexibility to keep up with my toddler.
Being pregnant is a wonderful time to begin a workout routine if you
haven't already been doing one. As long as your doctor gives you the okay
to do strength training during your pregnancy, you'll find so many benefits
from exercising regularly; plus, you'll be in the routine of exercising when
the baby comes, so you won't have to work as hard to jump right back in
post baby. Refer to Chapter 15 for complete guidelines and exercises for
when you're either pregnant or looking to get your pre-baby body back
after you have the baby.

Athletes of all Ie lie Is
Athletes of all levels find that kettlebells deliver an incredible enduranceand power-building workout in a very short period of time. If you're a busy
athlete, you don't have a lot of time to do fitness programs other than your
sport; you need a program that directly carries over and mimics the movements you do in your sport. Because kettle bells build so much core strength,
a kettlebell workout transfers completely and immediately to any sport, from
track to football and everything in between.
Check out Chapter 16 for pointers on using kettlebells if you're a high-level
athlete, a recreational athlete, or just a weekend warrior.

15

16

Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

Folks recotlerinlJ from an injurlJ or
underlJoinlJ substantial uJeilJht loss
If you've gone through rehab and are ready to engage in strength training,

kettlebells can be a good alternative to the limiting exercises in traditional
weight training. One of the most appealing advantages of using kettle bells to
complete your rehabilitation program is that the exercises use full ranges of
motion and mimic everyday movements. However, you must have your
doctor's okay to use kettle bells to rehab and be conservative in your
approach for doing so. Use the guidelines in Chapter 17 to get started.
Here's another scenario to consider: If you have a lot of weight to lose and
have tried everything else with no success or just plain hate to exercise,
kettlebells may be just what you need. Although using kettlebells effectively
will take work and perseverance, you don't find many reasonable and safe
exercise programs that burn as many calories in as short amount of time as
kettlebells. Plus, kettlebells are easy to use (with the right instructions which is where I come in), are adaptable to all fitness levels, and, best of all,
can be done from the privacy of your own home. Start with the exercises in
Chapter 17 and then progress to use the programs throughout the book to
continue your weight-loss journey.

Chapter 2

APrimer on Kettlebells: What They
Are and How You Use Them
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
In This Chapter
~

Acquainting yourself with kettlebells

~

Understanding the advantages of kettle bell training

~

Ensuring your safety during a kettlebell workout

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
n 2003, when I discovered kettlebells, not many mainstream fitness
enthusiasts were using them. Indeed, most people looked at me with
a blank stare when I told them I was opening a kettle bell gym. Since then,
kettlebell training has become wildly popular among professional athletes,
Hollywood stars, and regular folks.
So what exactly are kettlebells and what's their allure? I admit, those big, black
cast-iron balls look downright scary! Seriously, though, kettlebells are one of
the most powerful and effective training tools to get you strong and fit without
requiring you to spend all your free time in the gym. And after you get over
how intimidating they look and start swinging one around, you'll probably
want to find out more about how to use kettle bells safely and effectively.
An added bonus to kettlebells is that anyone (regardless of age or fitness
level) can use them. Over the years, I've helped all types of people at all
different fitness levels - from young athletes to senior citizens - master
the art of using kettlebells. So, even though the bells themselves may look a
bit odd, figuring out how to use them is easy and will make you into a lean,
mean, fighting machine in no time. In this chapter, I get you acquainted with
kettlebells and their benefits, and I describe a few safety considerations to
keep in mind as you begin your training.

Gettint) to Know Kettlebells
You may not have heard of kettlebells until recently, but they date all the way
back to the 1800s when the Russians first used them for exercise. Referred to

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Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
as handle bells or girya in Russia, kettlebells had two main uses: to increase
aerobic efficiency and to build strength, power, and endurance. And because
they were so effective in these uses, kettlebells found their place in the
United States, too. Old-time U.S. strongmen like Arthur Saxon and Eugen
Sandow used kettle bells to build very lean, strong bodies - which you can
clearly see by looking at any old photos of them!
In the following sections, I describe kettlebells and their differences from
other types of weights, and I explain who can use them.

TakiniJ a closer look at what kettlebells are
and how thelJ differ from other weiiJhts
A kettiebelliooks like a cannonball or bowling ball (without the finger holes)
with a suitcase handle on the top. A kettlebell's handle and center of gravity
are much different from those of a dumbbell or barbell; its design makes
it easy to move dynamically and safely around your body. In other words,
thanks to the kettlebell's design, your body has to work constantly during
both the acceleration and deceleration of any given movement to control and
stabilize the weight, and you have to use most of your major muscle groups,
especially your core muscles, to do so. Basically, the weight of the kettle bell
makes it a strength-training tool, and the fact that you have to constantly
control the kettlebell's shifting center of gravity makes kettlebell training one
of the toughest and most challenging cardiovascular and core-strengthening
workouts around.
You may be wondering why you can't just swing around a dumbbell and call
it a day. Here are just a few reasons why doing so isn't a good idea:

v The handle of a dumbbell doesn't allow you to move the dumbbell
smoothly and rotationally in your hand without the risk of dropping it.
V

A dumbbell's center of gravity is completely different from a kettlebell's,
so you don't get the same core-strengthening or cardiovascular workout.

v The awkwardness of trying to use a dumbbell for kettle bell exercises
doesn't make for a smooth workout. (Try swinging a 20-kilogram dumbbell between your legs; it isn't easy!)
I understand if you're skeptical- I was too the first time I tried kettlebells.
But trust me: They're deceptively effective. You could run on the treadmill
for an hour and then lift weights for an hour and still not get the same
benefits of a half-hour kettle bell workout. (I describe the various benefits of
kettle bell training in detail later in the section "Body Beauty and Strength:
Surveying the Benefits of Kettlebell Training.")

__ Chapter 2: A Primer on Kettlebells: What They Are and How You Use Them

Mixing it up: Using kettlebells with other weights
Some people use kettlebells as a stand-alone
training tool (one is all you need), but others
like to mix some kettlebell exercises into
their traditional weight-lifting routines. Why
is this combination a good idea? Performing
traditional barbell lifts like dead lifts and squats
can be great compliments to your kettlebell

training. I wasn't originally sold on the idea of
kettle bells, but when I mixed three basic kettlebell exercises into my traditional weight-lifting
routine, I immediately noticed such a difference
in my physique that I soon converted solely
to kettlebells.

IdentiflJinfJ who can use kettlebells
Whether you're an athlete, a couch potato, a fitness enthusiast, a grandparent,
or someone in between, you fit the profile of people who use kettlebells.
Oh, and law enforcement officials, the military, professional athletes, and
Hollywood stars also use kettlebells. I myself used kettlebells long before I
became a mother and then used them after giving birth to get my pre-baby
body back; I continue to use them as I progress through my second pregnancy.
You really don't find many people who can't use them. As long as you have
a willingness to learn proper form and technique, kettle bells can be a very
effective training tool for you.
Kettlebells are a rigorous cardiovascular and strength workout. To ensure
your safety, get your doctor's clearance before beginning a kettlebell workout program. (I discuss additional safety considerations in the later section
"Keeping a Few Important Safety Considerations in Mind.")

BodlJ BeautlJ and Strent)th: SurflelJint)
the Benefits of Kettlebell Trainint)
Believe it or not, the first time I did a basic kettle bell exercise (the swing,
which I cover in Chapter 6) I thought to myself, "I'm not so sure about this."
At the time, I was lifting traditional weights and competing in fitness competitions. But even though I doubted them, kettle bells had a mystique that
intrigued me. As I continued to use them, my body changed drastically - I
got leaner and stronger, especially in my waist, hips, and rear end (thanks to
the combination of cardio and strength training that kettle bells offer).
Kettlebell workouts offer numerous other benefits, too, including the following:

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Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
v They burn up to 20 calories a minute, and they build your cardiovascular
endurance to a high level.

v They increase your mobility and flexibility and give you functional
strength - strength for real-life movements and situations.

v They work all your major muscle groups in a single workout.
v They're a multipurpose and versatile fitness tool.
v They help you get lean and strong muscles in half the time of a
traditional workout - and with less equipment, too!

v They challenge you mentally because they involve trying to tame
and conquer a piece of iron!
I discuss all these benefits in more detail in the following sections.

BuildinfJ strenfJth and cardio endurance
Typically, when you go to the gym, you have to do some sort of cardio workout
before or after your weight-training routine. Traditional weight-lifting exercises
with machines and free weights just don't get your heart rate up to the same
level that, say, running on a treadmill does. But doing this type of dual routine
can suck up a lot of time and doesn't always produce the desired results.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of a kettle bell workout is that it
combines a cardio workout and a strength-training workout into one. Because
you move the kettle bell so dynamically around your body, your heart rate
elevates to a higher level than it would if you were simply isolating body parts
with free weights or machines. Performing a dynamic kettle bell exercise for 30
seconds is equivalent to running or sprinting for 30 seconds. This cardio blast,
in combination with the fact that you're slinging around a weighted piece of
cast iron, makes for one very effective and heart-pounding workout.
Using kettlebells, you get a better and more effective workout in about 30
minutes than you would using traditional weights and isolating muscle groups
for an hour - but you must use the right size kettlebell. Flip to Chapter 3 for
guidelines on selecting the right size for you.

WorkinfJ more than just a few of 'Jour muscles
Another great benefit of the kettle bell workout is that each exercise taxes
a major portion of the body's musculature. In other words, all your major
muscle groups get a workout with just a single kettle bell exercise.
Consider the foundational exercise, the swing, as an example. When you perform
the swing (which I describe in Chapter 6), you work your thighs, hamstrings,

__ Chapter 2: A Primer on Kettlebells: What They Are and How You Use Them
glutes, core, and arms - talk about getting the most bang for your buck! Working
your muscles in this way trains your muscles to work together as a unit, which
greatly increases your body's functional strength (in other words, strength for
normal life activities). Kettlebells are one of the best ways to train your body to
handle life's everyday challenges, such as moving furniture or boxes, carrying groceries or your child, and bending down to pick up something off the floor.
Because you work all your muscles evenly with a kettlebell workout, you can
grow incredibly strong without being bulky. Kettlebells have a particularly
special allure for women who want to look lean and fit without risking getting
big guy-like muscles. I don't know about you, but I like having the confidence
that I can carry heavy things without getting help from or resembling a man!

MaintaininfJ interest and increasinfJ
strenfJth with its tlersatilitlj
The kettlebell truly is a multipurpose piece of equipment that yields surprising
results. It offers a lot more versatility than a single dumbbell for a variety
of reasons. First of all, as I discuss earlier in this chapter, the ability to be
able to pass the kettle bell from hand to hand easily and move it dynamically
around your body means you can use a kettlebell in many more ways than
a dumbbell or a barbell. Secondly, you aren't limited by the weight of your
kettle bell (like you are with a dumbbell) because you can continually mix up
the repetitions, sets, time, and exercises you do. For example,
Y' If you've chosen to use a 26-pound (12-kilogram) kettlebell and it begins

to feel too light for the clean and press exercise (see Chapter 8), you
can perform a bottoms-up version of the exercise (turning the kettle bell
upside down so the flat part is facing up toward the ceiling) with the
same size kettle bell to create a whole new challenge. In other words, by
putting a new twist on an old exercise, you make the same size kettle bell
feel like the next size up in weight.
Y' If your 26-pound kettlebell begins to feel too light when you perform ten

repetitions of the two-arm swing exercise that I describe in Chapter 6, try
doing the exercise for one minute. You may be surprised to find that you
get an entirely new type of workout with the same size weight.

UsinfJ less et{uipment to do more
Because of the versatility of the kettle bell, you don't need a lot of equipment to
see and feel the many effects of your kettle bell routine. Indeed, one kettle bell
is all you need for a complete home gym! You can do more with one kettlebell
than you can do with a room full of multiple-size free weights. As time goes on,
many kettle bell enthusiasts add some additional kettle bells to their collection,

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Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
but even if you end up with two or three kettlebells, you'll still have less equipment than you would if you wanted to have a complete gym of free weights and
a cardio machine. Buying one, two, or three kettlebells costs you a lot less than
purchasing all that other stuff, so you have plenty of money left over to buy
some really nice workout clothes!

ChallenfJinfJ lJour mind
Another important benefit of working out with kettlebells is that it continually
challenges your mind; each repetition requires that you're completely
focused on how you're moving and using your body. Your ability to concentrate and focus on where you feel the movement and how you move with the
kettlebell is one of the keys to mastering the exercises. Because you need
to be focused on what you're feeling and where you're feeling it (so you
don't get hurt), you feel compelled to get better at your form as you practice
(which, as you probably guessed, is a whole other challenge!). And you
certainly can't ignore the challenge of trying to control and tame a big hunk
of iron that moves so dynamically around your body.

Keepin9 a Feu/Important SafetlJ
Considerations in Mind
The kettlebell workout is a very high-energy, dynamic one, and, like any
other workout, you need to master the basics of technique and form properly
in order to perform the exercises safely and effectively. In addition, you need
to be aware of a few other safety considerations before you start your kettlebell workout routine. Lucky for you, this section is here to tell you all about
them and more so that you can get the most out of your kettle bell training
program - without getting hurt.

ChoosinfJ hifJh-enerfJlJ workout times and
fJettinfJ plentlJ of rest between workouts
In general, no time of day is better than any other for working out; however,
choosing the time of day when you have the most energy has a big impact on
how you perform when working out. On the other hand, if you're tired when
you work out, you increase your chances of losing focus and perhaps injuring
yourself. For example: If you aren't a morning person, an early morning
workout probably isn't the best choice for you. Choose the days and times
that work best for you and your body; just be sure to stick with a consistent
schedule so you get the best results from your workout routine.

__ Chapter 2: A Primer on Kettlebells: What They Are and How You Use Them
In terms of how long your kettle bell workouts should be, beginners can start
with 20- to 30-minute workouts. As you get more proficient and build muscle
and cardio endurance, you can add more time to lengthen your workouts,
but, in general, a 45-minute kettlebell workout is more than enough time to
work all your major muscle groups and tax your cardiovascular system.
How you split the days of your workouts largely depends on your personal
schedule. Unlike a traditional weight-lifting routine, you don't necessarily have
to split your days according to what body parts you're working. Because
the majority of kettlebell exercises work your major muscle groups, a basic
three-day-a-week kettlebell program may have you working out on Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday or on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This type of
workout routine gives you plenty of time to rest in between workouts. Rest is
important because it allows your body to safely execute dynamic kettle bell
exercises that require a lot of energy and stamina.
Perhaps you're also a runner or do some other kind of sport or cardio workout
and you want to combine your other workouts with your kettlebell routine.
In that case, either you can do your other workouts on the days you don't do
your kettlebell routine, or you can work out after your kettle bell routine.
If you combine kettle bells with another workout routine, listen to your body
to make sure you aren't overdoing it. A good rule of thumb is to take off at
least one day per week from any exercise when you're combining kettlebells
with another workout program.
If you're using the right size kettlebell, you're going to need all the energy you

can get for your kettlebell workout (see Chapter 3 for more on how to pick the
right size kettlebell). So if you do another type of workout on the same days as
your kettlebell routine, perform the kettle bell portion first.
Flip to Chapter 9 for some sample weekly programs; Part IV gives you the
scoop on safe workout lengths and frequencies for special audiences (such
as young adults, baby boomers, seniors, pregnant women, and others).

UnderstandinfJ space and
(loorinfJ ret{uirements
You don't need a ton of space for your kettlebell workouts. A 5-x-5-foot
area typically offers plenty of space in which to perform the traditional
kettle bell exercises. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to add any body
weight exercises (exercises using only your body weight for resistance) or
plyometric exercises (fast, explosive movements that usually involve jumping) into your routine, you may want to have a bit more space. No matter
the size of your workout area, you need to make sure it's free from clutter,
children, pets, or anything else that could distract you or get in your way
during your workout.

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Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
The flooring surface you choose to use is also an important component of
your workout. The ideal flooring surface has just the right amount of firmness
and cushion. To achieve this perfect balance, you can put a yoga mat (or
similar matting surface) on top of your wood or concrete floor. A yoga mat
provides enough cushion for exercises like the Turkish get-up (see Chapter 7)
but is also firm enough to allow you to ground yourself properly for exercises
like the swing (see Chapter 6). Firm martial-arts mats work well, too.

KnowinfJ what to wear for maximum
comfort and moflement
The workout clothes and footwear you choose to wear during your kettlebell
workouts have a definite impact on how you perform during those workouts.
I explain what you need to know in the following sections.

Clothinfj
A general rule of thumb to follow when you're picking out workout clothes is
to choose clothes that allow you to move freely. Here are some guidelines:

v

Tops: Wear tops that your body can breath in, like the ones made of

fabric designed to move sweat from your skin to the shirt's surface,
where it evaporates. Style isn't as important as comfort, so choose the
style that makes you feel the most confident and comfortable.

v

Bottoms: Short shorts aren't necessary, but baggy ones aren't a good

choice, either. Owning a gym in California, I see many male clients who
like to wear surfer shorts to class. Baggy shorts or pants impede your
performance because they don't allow you to sit back into your hips
properly for the majority of kettle bell exercises. So, to get the most out
of your workout, be sure to choose a pair of shorts or pants that fits you
a little more snugly.

Shoes
Like your workout clothes, the footwear (or lack of it) that you choose to wear
during your workouts also affects your performance with kettlebells. I prefer to
be barefoot, as do many of my students. Going barefoot or wearing flat-soled
shoes, like Vibram FiveFingers or Nike Free shoes, allows your brain to receive
feedback from the ground. This contact with the ground is important because
you need to be rooted and grounded during all your kettlebell movements.
In other words, you need to feel the ground so that your brain knows how to
move and use your body for maximum power and efficiency.

__ Chapter 2: A Primer on Kettlebells: What They Are and How You Use Them
If you're wary of going barefoot during your workouts and want to wear

shoes, just make sure the shoes you choose are flat-soled sneakers without
any sort of elevated heel; a running shoe isn't a good choice. A boxing shoe
or one worn during a Pilates class is typically a good option. If you need
orthotics or have some other foot condition that requires you to wear a shoe
that's different from what I recommend, by all means do so.

Wristbands and other stuff for lJour hands
Many of my beginning students wear wristbands for added comfort when
they're getting used to having the weight of the kettle bell rest on their wrists
during exercises like the clean, which involves bringing the bell into the
rack position (see Chapter 8). In addition, some students who need to work
on technique and form inevitably bang their wrists the first few times when
learning exercises like the snatch (see Chapter 12), so wristbands can help
alleviate the pressure of the kettlebell.
If you decide to tryout a wristband, make sure to buy one that's three inches

thick (or thicker); a smaller size doesn't cover enough area on your wrist to be
of much help.
When you first begin to do kettle bell exercises, your hands can become
calloused, so many of my students have asked me whether they can wear
gloves while using the bells. I advise against doing so for a couple of reasons.
First of all, wearing gloves actually makes holding onto the kettlebell handle a
lot more difficult because the glove makes the grip bigger than if you were just
holding onto the handle with your bare hand. In addition, your brain and body
don't get the same feedback from gloved hands that they get from bare hands,
which can make mastering proper technique and form more difficult.

To chalk or not to chalk?
Chalk is a favorite among some kettle bell
users. When I competed in Girevoy Sport (GS)
competitions, I always made sure the handle of
my bell and my hands were really well chalked
up. But, in GS, you don't put down the kettlebell for at least ten minutes, so you need all the
help you can get to hang on to the kettlebell.
In contrast, a typical kettlebell workout doesn't
require you to hold on to the kettlebell for more
than a minute or two, so chalk isn't necessary.
Basically, it comes down to preference. If you

have sweaty hands or if you just like to use
chalk, go for it. Be aware, though, thattoo much
chalk can actually make you get more calluses
because the chalk really dries out your palms.
Try using chalk for a week and then going a
week without it, and see what you prefer. If you
end up using chalk, make sure it's a high-quality
weight lifter's chalk - the higher the quality of
chalk you buy, the less likely your palms are to
dry out.

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Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Some situations do lend themselves to using tape or wearing very thin gloves
on your hands. For example, you may want to do so when you have calluses
that may tear or are painful to the touch. Wearing tape or thin gloves is okay
to do while you're healing and still working out, but don't make it part of your
regular routine because doing so can inhibit your kettlebell performance.

SafellJ handlinfJ the uJeifJht
of lJour kettlebell
Besides picking out the correct size kettlebell to begin with (refer to Chapter 3),
you also need to know how to safely handle the weight of the kettle bell you
choose. Most of what you need to know about how to safely handle your
kettlebell comes from the form and technique I help you develop for each
exercise throughout this book. However, if you're ever in a position where you
lose control of the kettle bell, you need to know how to safely abandon the lift.
To abandon the lift, drop the kettlebell and move away from it as you do so.

WatchinfJ out for muscle strain
When beginning any new exercise routine, you need to pay careful attention
to your body and make sure you don't overdo it. If you end up straining
a muscle while working out, make sure to stop immediately and take the
proper measures to heal yourself. Refer to Chapter 5 for solutions to minor
muscle strains and soreness and for tips on what to do if you've really
overdone it.

Chapter 3

Picking the Right Kettlebell and
Setting Up Your Home Gym
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
In This Chapter
~

Figuring out the right size kettle bell to use with the help of a few tests

~

Looking at handle size and kettlebell material

~

Examining quantity, quality, and cost before you take the plunge and buy a bell

~

Outfitting the rest of your home gym

~

Taking your bell on the road

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

B

efore you can get started with your kettle bell practice, you have to

choose the appropriate size weight to use. If you choose an inappropriate bell size, the benefit of the program decreases, either because the bell
isn't heavy enough to yield results or because it's too heavy and results in
injury. In this chapter, I provide basic flexibility and strength tests you can
use to determine the right kettle bell size for you.
In addition to choosing the right size, you have to choose the right kind of
kettlebell. The vast majority of the kettle bells available on the market today
are a far cry from what the Russians used. Some are downright dangerous
and unwieldy. Rest assured, I have tested most of what you can buy and offer
my recommendations for handle type, material, and more in this chapter so
that you get the best bell for your money.

You can enhance your kettle bell workouts by using other equipment, too, but
you certainly don't have to spend a lot of money on exercise gadgets to get
results. My recommendations for supplementary equipment in this chapter
are purely optional. If your budget allows you to buy only one kettle bell, don't
worry - the kettlebell's versatility, simplicity, and results will surprise you!
Finally, if you don't have room to work out at home or just like to be outside
and in touch with nature, the portability of the kettle bell makes it an ideal
tool for taking your workouts to the park or another venue outside your
home, as you find out later in this chapter.

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TestinfJ- Your FlexibilitlJ and StrenfJ-th to
Determine the RifJ-ht Kettlebell Size
Unlike traditional weights, kettle bell exercises use your entire body to move
the weight, so you can't choose your kettlebell size based on the size dumbbell
(or other weight) you use. In my experience, when starting out, women typically choose a weight that's too light, and men choose one that's too heavy.
So what are good weight ranges? Women can usually start with a bell that's
14 to 18 pounds, and men can begin with a bell that's 26 to 35 pounds. (See
Part IV for guidelines on choosing a kettlebell size when you're in a special
situation, such as a pregnancy.) The following sections offer three basic flexibility and strength tests you can use to pinpoint the right size kettlebell for
you to start with. I offer these tests as a guideline, based on my experience
in teaching beginners over the years. You can find countless strength and
flexibility tests out there, but I opt to keep it as simple as possible so you can
begin the program right away with the right size kettlebell.
If you're a woman who can handle at least 18 pounds or a man who can handle

at least 26 pounds for the vast majority of exercises in this book, you're well
on your way to developing a strong and lean body. It's fine if you need to
begin lighter for some exercises, especially if your upper-body strength differs
greatly from your lower-body strength and you require two weights of bells.
After you practice the basics, like swings (see Chapter 6) and Turkish get-ups
(see Chapter 7), you'll gain a significant amount of strength quickly and be
able to progress well.

The basic st{uat test
Ideally, you can do a rock-bottom squat (butt touching heels) while your
heels stay on the floor, your torso stays upright, your knees don't cave
inward, and you don't struggle to come up. However, many people can't
accomplish a perfect squat before they start a kettlebell program because
they never learned how to do so properly. The following instructions walk
you through the basic squat test, which can help you assess your level of
lower-body flexibility (and choose the right size kettlebell).
To do the basic squat test, follow these steps:

1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed out
slightly, and anns out in front of you.

_ _ _ Chapter 3: Picking the Right Kettlebell and Setting Up Your Home Gym
2. Slowly sit back into your hips as you reach for an imaginary chair
behind you with your hips and butt; descend as low as you can without losing your form, keeping your arms straight out in front of you
(see Figure 3-1).
For proper form, initiate the movement from your hips, rather than from
your knees. Flip to Chapter 4 for more information on sitting back into
your hips correctly.
Don't let your knees come over your toes at any time when squatting.

3. After you hit your sticking point (when you feel you can no longer
descend with good form), drive through your heels and stand up tall.
Perform five repetitions, taking note of where your form is breaking. Then
write down your answers to the following questions:

1. How low did you go in your squat without losing your form: chair
height, the height of the first step on your staircase (about 8 inches),
or somewhere in between?
2. Did your heels come off the floor during the squat movement?

Figure 3-1:
The basic
squattest.

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Part I: Gearing Up for a Kettlebell Workout _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
3. Did your torso fall forward during the movement?
4. Did your knee or knees cave inward during the movement?
5. Did you struggle to come up?
If you performed this squat 8 inches from the ground, or somewhere lower

than chair height, and answered no to Questions 2 through 5, you can begin
your lower-body movements with a kettlebell that's in the ranges I provide
earlier in this chapter (14 to 18 pounds for females and 26 to 35 pounds for
males). For beginners, the lower-body movements include exercises like
swings (see Chapter 6), cleans (see Chapter 8), and lunges (see Chapter 10)
that don't require you to bring the bell overhead.
If you performed this squat at any height listed in Question 1 but answered

yes to any of Questions 2 through 5, begin your lower-body movements with
a kettlebell that's in the lower range of the sizes I list earlier in this chapter
(14 pounds for females and 26 pounds for males).
If you answered yes to any of Questions 2 through 5, refer to Chapter 4 for

details on spine and hip essentials and Chapter 8 for tips on how to correct
your squat form. Take your time figuring out how to squat correctly because
proper squat form is vital to your safety in any kettle bell exercise.

The oflerhead st{uat test
While the basic squat test in the preceding section gives you a general idea
of what your hip and lower-body flexibility is, the overhead squat test checks
how mobile your upper body is and how it works together with your lower
body. This test is great for assessing your shoulder and spine mobility, which
you need to be aware of when choosing weight for upper-body exercises like
the Turkish get-up (see Chapter 7), the press (see Chapter 8), and the snatch
(see Chapter 12). Knowing how mobile you are in your shoulder and spine
areas can also help you pinpoint imbalances in your body.
To do the overhead squat test, follow these steps:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed out slightly,
and press a broomstick over your head with a wide grip (see Figure 3-2a).
2. Slowly sit back into your hips to descend into a squat, keeping your
arms (and the stick) straight above you (see Figure 3-2b).
Be sure not to let the stick come forward as you squat.
3. Drive through your heels to stand up into the start position in Step 1.

_ _ _ Chapter 3: Picking the Right Kettlebell and Setting Up Your Home Gym

Figure 3-2:
The
overhead
squattest.

a

b

Perform five repetitions, taking note of where your form is breaking. Then
write down your answers to the following questions:

1. How low did you go in your squat without losing form: chair height,
the height of the first step on your staircase (about 8 inches), or somewhere in between?
2. Did your arms (and the stick) fall forward during the squat movement?
3. Did your knee or knees cave inward during the movement?
If you performed the overhead squat test in a low (8 inches) or rock-bottom

squat and answered no to Questions 2 and 3, you possess good shoulder and
spine flexibility, which means you shouldn't have any problems getting into
and staying in the overhead positions of the Turkish get-up, the press, and
the snatch exercises. Females in this category should use I8-pound kettlebells for overhead exercises, and men should use 26- to 35-pound bells.
The amount of flexibility you have in your upper body, coupled with your
overall strength, largely determines what size kettle bell is appropriate for
you to use in overhead movements. If there's a big discrepancy between your
upper- and lower-body strength, you may need to buy two kettlebells, one in

31


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