01 Oct The Essential 11 Rules of Kettlebell Training
What are your top fitness goals?
No matter what your answer is, I can tell you how you can accomplish all of them through the benefits of kettlebell training (and proper nutrition, of course).
Yes, that’s right, the simplicity and power of a kettlebell.
Understand I’m NOT saying this is all you should do, but it can be the foundation of your training program or additive to what you are already doing. Kettlebells also provide complete total body results in less time with less hassle.
Again, less time and less hassle. Just saying.
If you’re just getting started or want to take your training to the next level, here’s the ultimate list of kettlebell training rules to help you get better results and always keep improving towards your goals.
TRAIN SAFE (GET PROPER INSTRUCTION).
Safe training is the 1st rule of kettlebell training. This is true whether with a kettlebell or any other training method. If you don’t train safe, nothing else matters. Train smart. Train safe. Otherwise, there is no training.
This rule can’t be stressed enough, especially for beginners. The short story is the kettlebells is a very different type of training method that requires proper instruction to maximize the benefits. My advice is to ONLY get instructions from someone that is properly trained themselves. If they haven’t had the training (i.e. not certified through a credible certification program), they are not qualified to teach you, period.
Put very simply, do your due diligence and find out what kind of training your instructor has had. The easiest way to do this is to make sure they have the letters RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified) after their name. RKC is the gold standard in kettlebell certification programs. There are other programs, as well, so please make sure you do some research to find out what your instructor is qualified to teach and what type of training (certification) they have had. It’s worth the extra effort on your part to make sure you learn safely and effectively.
After seeing a recent video online, I was forced to add more context to this rule. I already mentioned about getting a good instructor, but when researching things online, I would advise you to use some caution with some of the YouTube videos out there. I’ve seen way too many videos of people teaching kettleblells that haven’t a clue about what it is they are doing. Sorry, but this is true. There are some excellent videos out there and some very unacceptable videos out, as well.
In today’s fitness climate, just because someone is a “fitness guru” or “celebrity trainer,” does that mean they know what they are doing with a kettlebell? How about if they have a YouTube video teaching a kettlebell exercise? It doesn’t matter who they are, if they haven’t been trained themselves, they simply don’t know how to use the tool properly. That’s the politically correct way of explaining this. Excuse the bluntness here.
ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOU’RE TRAINING FOR.
Be clear on what it is you want. Strength, fat loss, weight loss, more muscle, more energy and self confidence. Whatever it is, know the exact outcome you want and make sure your training matches the goals. Having a strong reason why means that you’ll be more committed to getting what you want. If there is a strong reason why, the how becomes the easy part. Understand your why.
Train for something. Training for a certification like the HKC or RKC can really deepen your learning and enhance your kettlebell skills. An RKC certification weekend may even change your life. Having something to train for will take your training to an entirely new level of performance and conditioning.
FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS.
Work on getting really good at the fundamentals before you get ‘fancy.’ Get good at the fundamentals and you’ll get some amazing results and maximize the safety of your training. Once you have your basic kettlebell exercises down (kettlebell swing, squat, turkish get up) then progress on up the ladder. It’s all about the fundamentals. The 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results comes from 20% of what you do. S0, focus your training on the 20%.
And remember, kettlebell training is a movement based training, which is one of the key ways this is so different from other training methods. So, expect a learning curve to better “program’ how your body moves. This is true for the beginner through the advanced.
TRAIN HARDER THAN ANYONE ELSE AND EXPECT GREAT RESULTS.
If apply rules 1 through 3, then rule #4 applies. With the proper instruction comes potentially amazing benefits. Prepare yourself for rapid results in many different and unexpected ways. If you’re not getting great results, you’re doing something wrong (see above). Train hard, train smart, train consistently. Get results.
IMPLEMENT GOOD NUTRITION.
Training doesn’t mean “jack squat” (ala Matt Foley) if you don’t eat well. This should be obvious, but it’s always worth reinforcing. It’s certainly not all about the training. If you want the best results and want to optimize your health and performance, always practice good nutrition. Learn all you can about how food interacts with your body. Educate yourself and always improve how you eat. Make sure how you eat matches the goals you want. Remember that your body composition is 80% the result of the food you put in your body.
ALWAYS…ALWAYS BE A STUDENT.
The best instructors in the world are still always learning. They realize there is always more to learn to improve their own skills. No matter how long you’ve been at it or how good you get, you will always be a student. Kettlebell training is very humbling and there’s is always something new to learn. Never forget that.
You will get strong. You may get “shockingly” strong and powerful. Stay humble along the journey. Kettlebells mean strength, but don’t act like a jackass and become too big for you own ego. Your confidence and strength will grow, but stay humble.
HAVE FUN, BUT BE MENTALLY TOUGH.
Another obvious rule. Your training should be fun to do. If it’s not, you probably won’t do it. Kettlebell training is actually fun to do because of the variety, challenge, and power it gives you. This type of training changes your body’s physiology, there’s no way you can’t not enjoy it. There’s a twisted saying about it that goes like this, “enjoy the pain.” Be mentally tough to endure some punishing workout sessions, if you’re applying all the other rules.
And, don’t ever fear being bored with kettlebell training. There’s just too many programming options, even with the fundamentals.
As I’ve stated, there are other great ways to train besides kettlebells. Bodyweight training and barbell lifts are awesome compliments to kettlebells. Kettlebells are a great foundation to a training program, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do other things. I would, however, suggest keeping things simple and focusing on the fundamentals (as previously mentioned). I can’t emphasize this enough.
Always practice and improve your technique, no matter how good you “think” you are. Practice to get better. Any top kettlebell instructor will tell you they are always working to improve their fundamentals. I’ve been swinging a kettlebell for the last few years and I’m still working on improving my kettlebell swing. Practice the skill of “performing” the exercise. You can always get better and improve your movement efficiency for even better results.
Kettlebells is about movement. Better, stronger movement. Practice makes improvement. If you think your technique is perfect, go back and review Rule #6.
“Perfection is not attainable. But if we can chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” ~Vince Lombardi
When you discover kettlebells and get good with them, give back by sharing your passion, enlightening others, and teaching what you know. Teaching others also makes you better, keeps you sharp, and always gets you thinking and learning. Recognize that so many people have yet to discover the real power of kettlebells. Help to educate others as so many are searching for the solution to their health and fitness challenges. Help spread the word and give back to what kettlebells have given to you.
These are my essential 11 rules of kettlebell training.
Review these rules and apply them to maximize your own training.
If you’ve used kettlebells effectively then you already know about the strength gains, fat loss, lean muscle building and other benefits I’m talking about.
And finally, if you haven’t grabbed the FREE “Stealth Fat Loss Report” with over 30 pages of content, make sure to enter your email in above to get that and some other good stuff right now. See you on the inside!
TracyPosted at 03:28h, 10 October
Another great one article. I’m getting ready to start teaching at a local gym, so I will be using these for sure!!
ScottPosted at 03:56h, 11 October
Thanks Tracy! Hope all is going well with your training!
StevePosted at 14:33h, 12 October
Excellent advice Scott, honest and direct.
I rarely see people aware of just how important tip 11 is and it is alwyas good to find coaches who understand we need to give back more than we have taken on our journey.
Yours in health,
ScottPosted at 15:24h, 12 October
Thanks Steve! Yes, giving back is really what it’s all about.
That’s a BIG part of the journey.