I have to admit, that I really hate kettlebells. I mean I love kettlebells. KB’s have me torn. On one side, I absolutely hate the torture that KB’s put me through, and on the other side, I know and understand the immense benefit from using them as a training tool.
We utilize KB’s at Peak in nearly every program we write, for all levels and ages of athletes. We feel that it adds elements of instability, imbalance, leverage, and pattern development.
The magic of the kettlebell appears to have something to do with the cannonball shape and the offset handle, which allow you to manipulate the kettlebell much differently than you could with a dumbbell, barbell, or any other training device. The shape and the handle allow you to perform ballistics and grinds. Ballistics are fast, explosive movements, while grinds are slow and deliberate. This allows for a different type of training experience for faster results.
The KB as a tool can apply a ton of various functions to a training session. It can be substituted in during many movements to potentially make them more functional. Most training done with the KB’s can be considered total body training, or at least multi-function training.
The best, and probably most difficult way to use the KB, is with 1-arm and bottoms up.
Using the KB’s in a bottoms up position provide a whole host of rewards. In regards to shoulder health especially, there aren’t many better ways to train. Using the KB in a bottoms up position provides the shoulder with a natural “packing” action, which provides a ton of stability.
Lateral 2 KB Bottoms Up Side-Step
Another prominent benefit of using KB’s in this fashion is that you can reduce the load significantly, and still experience some benefit. Now this doesn’t mean that you can, or should stop lifting heavy weight in order to get strong, but it does mean that in a period of de-load, or as an accessory exercise, this bottoms up version of any KB exercise can be a great version.
Bottoms Up KB Offset Chest Press
The bottom up press increases the instability of the kettlebell press, making it a great variation to add a little spice to shoulder rehab and training. This will really point out side-to-side weakness in an athlete’s strength as well. For those rehabbing from shoulder injuries, the bottoms up position means less overall weight can be lifted and this variation can often be used earlier in rehab or in-season training.
Split Stance 1-Arm KB Overhead Press
KB Arm Bar 1-Leg Hip Thrust
While this is isn’t a bottoms up variation of this movement, it shows that there are so many uses of the KB. You can include these in many different exercises to add variety, and create a different training stimulus.
Hopefully you are already using the KB bottoms up in your training regimen, but if you aren’t, give it a whirl, and see how your training changes to adapt to the different requirements.
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