Kettlebell Training 101; Kettlebell Buying Guide Part 3

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Kettlebell Training 101 – Kettlebell Buying Guide Part 3

In last two articles we spoke about choosing the kettlebell that is right for you. Today, we are fortunate enough to have Kelly Scott, Owner of Fulton Kettlebells and Creator of the ForeverStrong(TM) Fitness System here to go over kettlebell training, the basics and more advanced movements, and creating kettlebell workouts.

Kelly is a certified personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She earned the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) and a level II Kettlebell Certification through StrongFirst (SFG2). As a certified FMS Professional,(FMS) she is qualified to perform functional movement screenings with her clients and design corrective exercise strategy. She is also a member of the IDEA fitness association and a Primal Movement Certified Instructor (PMI). As a Certified Functional Aging Specialist (FAI) through the Functional Aging Institute, Kelly is proud to be recognized as an expert in functional aging and training of older adults. Strength has a greater purpose and for most older adults, quality of life becomes that greater purpose. She design programs that enhance balance, agility, speed, gait and power when working with clients who want to make the next 20 years their best. Kelly is currently pursing a professional coaching certificate at HCC.


In this article, Kelly will be answering questions, including how to start using kettlebells, how to use kettlebells safely, how your kettlebell workout should be, and what kettlebells are right for you.

I’ve never trained with kettlebells. How should I start?

Kettlebell training is not something that you can jump into without proper instruction. Anyone getting started needs to find good, qualified instructors. Understand that not every personal trainer is well-versed in kettlebell training.  It takes a lot of daily practice to craft the perfection needed to teach the functional movement required when using kettlebells.

I recommend starting by learning the kettlebell swing. There is no substitute for personal instruction from a certified instructor. If your curious about what’s covered in a beginner kettlebell lesson, watch my perfect swing series. (VIDEO SERIES)  Learning the Kettlebell Swing is a good start to understanding the foundational technique of kettlebell ballistics.  It covers the basics of Russian Hard Style training: Breathing, Tension and the Hinge Movement.


How can I stay safe during my kettlebell workout?

Kettlebell training is serious business. We condense the amount of time required for exercise, because we lift with great intensity and effort. The only way to do this safely is to approach each workout with the same mindfulness and respect that you would a high risk activity. How?

1.) Begin each workout with mobility drills. Your joints require special attention prior to every workout. Each individual joint must be ‘rolled’ prior to picking up a kettlebell. This stimulates the release of synovial fluid which lubricates and protects your joints. Start from the ground and roll each joint left to right in circles. Pay close attention to any pain or discomfort. Don’t ignore it. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Bring anything new to your instructors attention. Start at the ankles, then knees, then hips, then wrists, then elbows, then shoulders then your neck. If you would like a demonstration on how to do this, we will be happy to demonstrate.

2.) Practice your corrective movement drills. Most new students will be given exercise strategies from a qualified instructor to help correct poor movement patterns. Are you doing them on your own? These are things like, facing the wall squats, hip bridges, arm bars and other drills intended to help your body learn to move properly. Performing these drills will improve your performance during your session and ultimately get you to your goals faster – while reducing your risk of injury.

3.) Pay close attention to any pain or discomfort. Don’t ignore it. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Never work through pain or train to muscle failure.

4.) Set up your work space. Never face another person directly when swinging a kettlebell. If you are done using a kettlebell, put it back in it’s spot to make more room for yourself and others. Never perform an activity that requires balance with a kettlebell in your space.

5.) Ending your workout. Take time at the end of each session to stop and record your results. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and use the note area on your workout to record what you performed and how it felt. Then, breathe deep and start stretching out.


How long should a kettlebell workout be?

Kettlebell workouts provide one of the most effective total body workouts in the shortest amount of time.  A complete kettlebell workout includes strength, cardio, and flexibility in a single session. The unique shape of the kettlebell enables an endless variety of movement pattern so transitioning between moments is seamless and fast.

Due to the shape, kettlebells are some of the most effective pieces of fitness training equipment available. The location of the weight in the kettlebell recruits more stabilizer muscles and works the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion. Isolation exercises done with dumbbells or barbells do not hit those stabilizing muscles to the same degree. Most of the exercises utilize the whole body; the legs, hips, abdomen, back, arms and shoulders in coordinated movement, so you get more work done in less time. For this reason you can achieve an effective total body workout in as little as 30 minutes.


As a beginner, what size kettlebell should I get?

Kettlebells are an investment that will last a lifetime. Start with a weight that you can comfortably press overhead at least 5 times. Your set will grow as your skill and proficiency improves. For most women an 8kg (18lb) kettlebell and for men – 16kg (35lb) kettlebell are good starting points.

If you are able to purchase a set of three initially, you will have many more options: Women – 8kg, 12kg, 16kg, Men – 16kg, 20kg, 24kg.

In time, you will probably want a pair of each of these bells for double kettlebell work.

If you need a heavier weight for some exercises, you can grasp two kettlebells in one hand to increase the weight for certain movements.


What are ways I can work out my arms with kettlebells?

Since almost every movement with a kettlebell requires lifting it with your arms, your arms are going to get a lot of work no matter what kettlebell movement you do. This is one of the great things about kettlebell training, we focus on movements instead of individual muscle groups.

That being said, my favorite upper body movements with kettlebells are the clean and press and the staggered stance row.

The clean and press primarily works your shoulders, but the movement also works your traps, triceps, middle and lower back, abdominals, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

The staggered stance row primarily trains your biceps, forearms, and back.

I demonstrate these movements in my ForeverStrong Full Body 5 Strength Movements video below.


Is kettlebell training right for me?

Kettlebells are adaptable to men and women of all ages and levels of conditioning, so as you get stronger and more fit there are endless workout progressions to challenge you and keep you from hitting a plateau. It’s a perfect exercise tool that allows you to take your workouts from the studio to your home, the park, or beach.

To design your own full body workout in 30 minutes or less, I recommend watching the ForeverStrong guide to full body training. This will help you understand how Full Body Training methods compare to traditional Body Part Training. It will also provide a guide for creating your own Full-Body Workouts using kettlebells and other training tools.

You can download  the ForeverStrong Guide to Full Body Strength Training here:


I have created a quick start guide to using kettlebells for full body training. It covers:

  1. Kettlebell Basics 101: Swings & Dead-lifts
  2. The perfect strength workout: The only 5 additional exercises you’ll ever need
  3. Better than cardio: the perfect finish to your workout

There are free gifts mentioned in the video that you can email Kelly directly for.

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