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Sample Kettlebell Program

The first kettlebell maneuver I teach my clients is the swing. It is the most common kettlebell exercise. The swing should be viewed as the foundation exercise and I like to see clients master the swing before other kettlebell exercises are introduced.

Once clients can perform the 2-handed swing, this is a typical progression I teach my clients in the office:

One-Arm Swing. Grasp the handle with one hand in overhand grip with slight elbow bend. Position feet slightly wider than hip width, and assume athletic stance. Upper body should be upright, with chest lifted and shoulder blades retracted. Free arm should be out to side of body. Rotate body slightly, allowing kettlebell to hang between legs. Initiate swing by rocking hips (versus using shoulders to lift bell). Raise bell upward with momentum, and give forceful hip thrust at top of movement. Bell should go no higher than eye level, with bell pointed away from body at end of arm. Allow gravity to bring bell downward in controlled manner. Keep spine at neutral, rather than rounded, at bottom of movement. Perform 10 repetitions in each hand.

One-Arm Alternating Swing. Repeat steps above (one-arm swing), but switch to other hand at top of movement. Perform 10 repetitions in each hand.

Around-the-Body Pass (at waist level). Grasp handle with both hands in overhand grip with slight elbow bend. Position feet slightly wider than hip width apart, and assume athletic stance. Upper body should be upright, with chest lifted and shoulder blades retracted. Release one hand from bell, allowing opposite hand to bring bell behind body. Free hand should grasp bell at back of body and complete the rotation. Grasp kettlebell firmly to avoid dropping it. After 10 repetitions in one direction, repeat 10 reps in the opposite direction.

Figure Eight (between the legs). Grasp handle with right hand in overhand grip with slight elbow bend. Position feet slightly wider than hip width apart, and assume athletic stance. Upper body should be upright, with chest lifted and shoulder blades retracted. Left arm should be out to side and ready to accept kettlebell. Begin movement by handing bell from right hand to left hand through legs from front of body to back. Left hand then brings bell around from back of body to front of body. Continue this figure-eight pattern by passing bell through legs again from left hand to right hand. After desired number of repetitions, repeat in opposite direction.

These exercises provide a good cardio and fat-loss workout, creating a great foundation for other exercises. After a full-body warm-up, perform each exercise for approximately 30 seconds or 10 reps. Do one exercise after another and rest at the end. Repeat the circuit 2 or 3 times depending on your condition and the amount of time you have to train. 

For a one-on-one in-depth kettlebell session, please call my office at 310-473-2911.

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