Kettlebell Fitness Training

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Kettlebell fitness workouts allow you to get better at things you didn’t even expect. Kettlebells proponent Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet Special Forces training instructor, writes in “Enter the Kettlebell” that his students tell him that they “powerlift heavier, hit harder, run faster, bend nails and so on -- just from lifting kettlebells.” You also can take the basic kettlebell moves and combine them into a workout to reach your specific fitness goals

The RKC Rite of Passage

In “Enter the Kettlebell,” Pavel provides a fitness workout called the RKC Rite of Passage training plan. It's designed to be an all-purpose, challenging program to lead to overall fitness. This plan, with its seven-day framework, allows you to rest on Fridays and Sundays. Mondays involve clean and presses, or military presses. On Tuesdays, you get to do whatever you want, ideally keeping it easy. On Wednesday and Thursday, you can do any or all of the following: cleans alternated with getups, swings and snatches. Saturday is your hard workout day, when you perform clean and press ladders, and timed hard swings.

Creating Customized Programs

In his book “Kettlebell Training,” California-based trainer Steve Cotter describes how to create your own fitness workouts. Start by defining your fitness goals, Cotter advises. If you want to burn fat, your kettlebell workout can involve high-intensity circuits. If your goal is muscular strength, set up lower reps and higher weights. For strength and endurance, you’ll perform moves with moderate weights and longer duration. Create a training journal for whichever type of workout you want to follow. Don’t be afraid to experiment and tweak, he recommends.

For Beginners

A fat-loss workout for beginners might warm you up with the around-the-body pass, halos, the kettlebell deadlift, goblet squats and joint mobility exercises. Cotter suggests that your main exercises consist of the single-handed swing and single-handed press. For a strength and endurance workout, warm up with joint-mobility exercises, and perform single swings, cleans, presses, snatches and goblet squats. And for a strength and power workout, warm up with the figure-8, between the legs pass. Your main session can include single swings, single cleans, the single press, the push press, the half snatch and front squats.

As You Advance

You can make a fat-loss workout more challenging by preforming double swings, double cleans, double front squats and Russian twists. For a greater challenge in strength and endurance, work up to double cleans, one-arm jerks and double front squats. And for an intermediate-level workout with a focus on strength and power, perform rack holds, overhead holds, the bottoms-up press, renegade rows, the kettlebell jump squat and the farmer’s carry.