Kettlebell training is one of the more recent fitness trends that seems to be “steamrolling” in popularity. More and more people are hearing about the benefits of training with Russian Kettlebells, a training tool that has actually been around for a few hundred years, but recently started gaining more attention here in the United States. Is this another fitness fad? I say, “not a chance!” Why? Because this is so highly effective, and it’s truly unlike any other training modality I’ve ever experienced in my almost 30 years of training experience.
So, you’re ready to get going and give it a go? Then, here’s the essential beginner’s guide for getting started with kettlebell training:
- Be Clear on Why You’re Training. Know what you’re training for and what results you want. In basic terms, are you training for fat loss, muscle building, strength gain, performance enhancement/athletics, general conditioning, or some other reason or goal? If you know what you are training for, you’ll be able to have the best program design for you’re specific goals and you’ll be highly motivated to achieve that training goal. The clearer you are on your training goals, the more likely you’ll achieve them. I know you already know this, but this is essential.
- Learn the right way to train with kettlebells. The most important thing you can do to maximize your benefits training with kettlebells is learning how to use these dynamic training tools the ‘right way.’ What is the right way? That’s learning fromsomeone that’s skilled in teaching kettlebells, someone that has had the proper training and experience themselves. Kettlebell training is extremely safe, providing you learn how to use them correctly and the ONLY way to do this is from a certified instructor, period, end of story. If you don’t know this, I am a former orthopedic physical therapist. With my background and training, I can only recommend the best and safest ways to use kettlebells to meet your training, fitness, and performance goals. That means learning from a qualified instructor. Remember, this is NOT just “lifting.” It’s moving better, it’s a skill, it’s a higher level of motor learning. To learn the right way, visit your local HKC or RKC instructor.
- Commit, Don’t Dabble. There is a great book called “Mastery” by George Leonard. In this book, he talks about people that “dabble” in things and never get any good because they are not committed to it, they just “dabble”, then move onto the next thing and so on, and so on. To get the full benefits of kettlebell training, commit to learning the skill, don’t just “dabble” with it. When you realize how unique the skill is and how much you can benefit, you’ll be able meet the fitness goals you want. Commit to it, but I’ll warn you this type of training can become addicting. Also, be patient, realize it takes time, but once you really discover it, you’ll be hooked. A great quote to illustrate this point. “Do or do not, there is no try.” -Yoda
- Understand Kaizen. Have you heard of Kaizen before? I hope you have. I love the meaning of this word. It is Japanese for continuous improvement. That’s exactly what training with kettlebells is. It is continuous improvement. I’ve been training for a few years now with Russian kettlebells. The foundational exercise is the kettlebell swing. I’m STILL working on my swing technique after thousands of swings! It’s continuous improvement. I’m still learning how to move better and perform better with this training tool, it’s really amazing! Realize that it takes a long time to master the movements, but that’s another added benefit. It would be pretty boring if it were easy to do. You will always be learning and improving on your foundational techniques, that’s part of what it so unique and awesome.
- Continually Practice the Fundamentals. While I just stated that you’ll always be working on improving your fundamental techniques, one of your goals should be focused on striving to master the basics. Essentially, everything is “built” on the fundamentals, such as the kettlebell swing. This means ultimate success for you and your training. The better you get at the basic movements (the swing, the turkish get up, the deadlift), the better results you’ll get. Also, because the higher level movements are based on the fundamentals. If you want great results with your strength, body composition changes, or performance, continually practice and improve on the fundamental movements.
- Prepare to be Amazed. Ok, here’s the best part. After you’ve done all of the above and you really commit to learning this new skill and amazing way to train, prepare to be amazed by the benefits of kettlebell training. What type of benefits? You can refer back to a previous article I did on this: 28 Ways Kettlebell Training is Great for You. I can tell you about the benefits all day long, but when it comes down to it, you’ve just got to experience it for yourself. So, when you get it going and learn to perform this training method correctly, prepare yourself to be amazed.
There you have it, a simple 6 step guide for beginners. If you haven’t discovered the benefits of kettlebell training yet, you owe it to yourself to get started right now. Again, contact your local certified trainer and get it going!