Recently I have taught a few workshops on how to perform basic kettlebell movements. After the numerous hours of teaching these workshops, I have noticed that there are many common hurdles that people run across when working with kettlebells. In this article I am going to present a quick list of the 25 tips you can implement right now to fix some of the most common kettlebell technical mistakes I have come across.
1) Make sure that the shoulder blades are retracted by pulling them down and back. An easy way to do this is to rotate your elbows towards each other.
2) To use the hips more to extend the body (and alleviate pressure off the knees) keep the shins straight and push the floor away with your mid-foot; don’t think about the knees at all.
3) Remember to force the knees out when performing a squat. This will open up the hips and activate the glutes to assist with the concentric portion of the lift.
4) Make sure the hips always finish (get the hips fully underneath your body); this not only ensures proper technique but you are also going to save your low back.
5) You want to properly propel the kettlebell upward (not forward) using your hips.
6) No leaning back, you want a “tall body” posture at the top of the movement.
7) When performing the backswing wait for the kettlebell to almost hit you before you hinge. The kettlebell should be above the knees in the backswing. Hinging too early can cause a sore lower back or even worse problems.
8 ) During the 1-Arm Swing it is important to swing the empty arm as well during the movement. This will keep your shoulders square (proper posture), add some momentum to the swing and also make hand switching much easier.
Check out my Fix Your Kettlebell Swings video below to see more tips.
9) First thing is first; get a solid rack position
10) Before you press, imagine there is a sponge full of water in your armpit; squeeze this virtual sponge to activate the Lats to help you press.
11) Make sure you are pressing against the contact point between your forearm and the kettlebell. If you rotate your forearm too much, you will lose this contact point and your pressing strength will decrease
12) Crush the handle when pressing a heavy kettlebell
13) When pressing, do your best to keep the weight directly over the hips so the structure of your body supports the weight.
Check out my Kettlebell Press video below to see more tips.
14) Keep the upper arm close to the body; don’t let it get away like in a traditional 1-Arm Swing.
15) Clean the kettlebell towards the middle of your body with your elbow near your beltline. Do not clean it up high towards your shoulder.
16) Don’t grip too much; let your hand slide through the handle.
17) On the backswing do not cast the kettlebell forward; simply let it fall and then push it through your legs to create a backswing sufficient enough for the next rep.
Check out my Fix Your Kettlebell Cleans video below to see more tips.
18) Always build off of a good swing.
19) Practice high pulls to train the shoulder retraction.
20) Do not keep a tight grip on the handle at the top. Spear your hand through the handle and upward towards the ceiling to have the kettlebell rest without pummeling your forearm.
21) Keep the kettlebell close to your body on the backswing. Casting the kettlebell too far will pull your body forward and wrench your lower back.
Check out my Fix Your Kettlebell Snatch video below to see more tips.
22) Don’t move too fast; stabilize each position before transitioning to the next.
23) Make the small adjustments with your base to keep you in the most strong and stable position.
24) Practice the high bridge position not only to strengthen your hips but to make as much room as possible for the leg to sweep through.
25) When returning back to the supine position from the top; from the lunge position find the floor by pushing your hip out and reaching out to the side with your hand. Do not sit your hips back.
Check out my Fix Your Kettlebell Get Up video below to see more tips.