While most people have heard of kettlebell training, very few people actually practice this art which provides amazing benefits for just about anyone. Why is this? I think it is because people are intimidated by them, don’t know how to get started, and often are resistant to learning new things. Let me help you figure out how to get started and hopefully inspire you to learn something new!

Your first lesson with a kettlebell is learning the deadlift, probably bodyweight at first. Train the deadlift until you can demonstrate exact technique every rep, starting with no weight and slowly increasing weight as you go. This may take a day, it may take a month, but don’t progress until you’ve nailed it.

Once you have learned the deadlift with exact and consistent technique, it is time to learn the kettlebell swing.
Swings part one
Swings part two

You should pratice this exercise the same way you did the deadlift, starting light, developing exact form and increasing the weight safely. In kettlebell training, when you develop the proper technique, it is typically accompanied by an “Ah-Ha” moment that also tells you “this is too light”. Let your body tell you when it is time to move up in weight, believe in yourself and challenge yourself.

The Clean & Press and Snatch come after the swing. However, for some people the clean is a better transition into the power phase movements of a kettlebell. You can perform the clean without the press as a way of developing the hip snap and acceleration of the bell. Remember, the swing is front to back, while the clean is up and down, both of them are an acceleration and decceleration of weight.

I also recommend the Turkish Getup to any beginner, it is a great way to learn your body, develop strength, flexibility and stability and you don’t need a kettlebell to do them. Turkish getups can be performed with a shoe, a water bottle, a dumbell, barbell or kettlebell. The turkish getup will also have direct carry over to all of your other lifts, including your real life!

As you progress, stick to the basics, the deadlift, swing, clean, Turkish getup, clean & press and (eventually) the snatch. Take your time to learn your body, develop good flexibility and coordination before moving on beyond these moves. Most importantly, remember to have fun. The benefits of kettlebell training are tremendous for both the mind and body!

Peter Hirsh