Kettlebell Training FAQs

Q: Will kettlebell training make me lose fat?

A: Yes. Eating a good diet of foods is a faster and easier way to lose fat than kettlebell training, though. If you just want to lose fat, try a different diet to eat, preferably one you’ll be happy with for a long time.

Q: What are the benefits of kettlebell training?

A: Kettlebell training uses one piece of equipment – the kettlebell – to build strength and mobility. There are basic movements that you can use for years and years. The kettlebell’s odd shape and uneven weight distribution will build your balance and agility in ways that a barbell cannot.

Q: How often do you use kettlebells compared with a barbell for training?

A: In the last three years, I trained with barbells for one six-month period. Outside of that, I’ve been training with a kettlebell on a daily regimen.

Q: Does kettlebell training help with back pain?

A: Kettlebell training has strengthened my back and alleviated pain. I think this is due in part to the stability produced from swings, and in part due to the dynamic strength built from get ups.

Q: How do I stop squatting and start hinging more during the bottom of the swing?

A: Pull the kettlebell straight back through your legs, rather than pulling it down to the floor. Bend your knees just slightly as you pull the bell through your legs, then resist further knee bending. Keep them stiff through the bottom of the swing. Maintain tension in your hamstrings. Primary movement is in the hips, not the knees.

Practice, without weight, bending at the hips and inserting your straightened arms through the legs. Your shins should be perpendicular to the floor. Your torso should be straight and might angle down past forty five degrees from vertical at the bottom of the hinge.

Q: How do I stop pulling up on the kettlebell with my arms at the top of the swing? It just feels natural to do it.

A: Think of the swing as an exercise in projecting forward. The hip thrust will generate the force for the bell to come forward. Keep your shoulders tight, packed back in their sockets. Keep a good grip on the bell, but only to keep it from flying.

Snap to a tall stand once your hips reach their stopping point. Resist further backward movement by cramping your glutes and belly. Allow the kettlebell to float by momentum, and practice “turning off” your arms. It’s okay for the bell to stay well below chest height, even as low as belly level. Waste no effort in upward movement, and rather save it for the next swing.

Q: My knees and elbows hurt from grinding the floor during get ups. How do I get past this?

A: There will be a hardening period for the skin of these joints. Use a softer surface for training. Green grass is ideal, as the ground is firm but the surface gentle. Indoors, try a large, heavy rug over carpet for the softest effect, or a rug over wood floor for a medium firmness. Carpet generally functions nearly as well as grass in terms of the firm/soft effect.

Don’t use smaller mats or rugs. You’ll likely end up slipping or catching the edges at an unfortunate moment.

Don’t use knee pads. This will throw off the natural mechanics of your body and develop unnatural compensation for the shape, texture, and behavior of the pad materials. Furthermore, the strap behind the knees will bunch and cause slight joint separation when your knee is bent, which can lead to injury. The biggest downside is the fact that your knees will never have a chance to harden up.

Wear long sweats and long sleeved shirts if you cannot find a good rug or patch of grass. I don’t recommend training on a hard wood floor, though, as this can cause unnecessary pain or damage and hinder your learning.