Jeremy ‘Dave’ Davies is the Store Manager at Sportsmart Kilsyth, but he has also been an infantry soldier, boxing instructor, personal trainer and Australian Kettlebell Instructor. Apart from basketball, he competes in Girevoy Sport Weightlifting – the traditional Eastern European/Russian sport of kettlebell lifting. You can visit his website  for more information and training tips. He has taken the time to provide some information and training tips on strength bags.

With Sportsmart’s catalogue special on York kettlebells this month, I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce this strength training tools fantastic benefits, and some of its pitfalls too…

You’ve all probably seen them, maybe on The Biggest Loser, maybe in the park with a personal trainer nearby. Maybe you’ve even played around with them a little in the gym.

I’ve been using them for over five years now, firstly as a health and fitness enthusiast, then as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and more recently, as a girevik (kettlebell sport participant)

From my experience I can honestly say that there is no better individual health and fitness tool that can do as much for you in as little time as the kettlebell. You can develop lean functional strength, tone your posterior chain (lower back, butt, thighs) and core, develop power (maximum strength in minimum time), strip fat, increase cardio fitness and better your posture, amongst many other benefits.

But you have to do it right.

So, what’s right?

Firstly: back posture. My clients would get sick of hearing me bang on about it, but this is crucial. For the same reasons that kettlebells are so good, if done with poor posture, they can be very bad.

The York kettlebell comes with a very good instructional poster detailing a whole range of fantastic exercises, but don’t go straight to a single arm snatch or swing or Turkish get up. Instead, start with a basic deadlift.

Plce the kettlebell between your heels. Before you even start lowering yourself down to pick up the kettlebell, tilt your pelvis top forward, bottom back. The more flexible your hips are the better, and this is where women often have an advantage over men starting out.

Now, push your butt back before you start bending at the knees.

Keep that pelvic tilt! And keep your eyes up at horizon level: you don’t need to look down. That kettlebell is going nowhere without you. Maintain a good neutral spine alignment as you push back, like the old ‘sit up straight’ position, then start bending at the knees. Keep those eyes up!

And pick up the kettlebell with two hands.

Stand up straight, roll your shoulders back gently at the top, and repeat, letting the kettlebell gently kiss the ground between your heels without bearing any weight.

Getting this movement right is critical to safe kettlebell lifting in the future, particularly with the most beneficial compound ballistic lifts, such as the swing, the clean, the snatch and the high pull.

Make it a part of a circuit with other more traditional activities that you are comfortable with, such as skipping or dumbbell/barbell lifts, or burpees etc, before you go further with the kettlebell.

Once it feels comfortable, add an upright row movement to the deadlift. As you stand up, row the kettlebell upward until your forearms are parallel to the ground. But don’t just hold the kettlebell up there like you would if you were doing upright rows with a barbell or dumbells, drop immediately with the weight of the kettlebell.

It shouldn’t be an isolative shoulder exercise. The weight of the kettlebell should be primarily shifted by the motion of you standing up straight from the bottom of the deadlift position.

Any further questions regarding kettlebell training, why not drop in for a chat with me at Sportsmart Kilsyth!

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