The 5 Biggest Problems with Kettlebell Training Today

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So the other day I decided to create a Flipboard account. The app automatically comes installed on my Galaxy S4 but I had never used it.  I noticed I got a couple of hits from Flipboard on my web site. So I decided to look into it.  Pretty cool app. You can create your own little magazines based on your own interests. You can also look up other articles of all kinds on there. Naturally, I punched in kettlebells.  Big surprise. Lol So one of the first articles I come across is the 10 most common kettlebell mistakes. I read through it and I could automatically tell which kettlebell organization the author was from. Out of the 10 most common mistakes, there was nothing in regards to warming up! That really blows my mind.  So I googled common kettlebell mistakes and found numerous articles on the subject. None of which mentioned warming up! This is truly mind boggling to me.  Well I decided to compile my own list. Here are my 5 most common problems with  kettlebell training today!

1. Can you guess?? Improper warm up! Most practitioners and coaches do not warm up properly period! The kettlebell swing is legendary for jacking up peoples lower backs. Most of the traditionalist will say its from lack of technique. Well that’s bullshit. People rarely perform the kettlebell swing correctly when they are first taught. So if your posterior chain is not completely warm before swinging, there is a good chance you will jack up your back. Warm up before any type of rigorous workouts period. Especially kettlebells.

2. Over emphasis on swings and snatches.  Kettlebell training is immediately recognizable from these 2 trade mark movements. Probably because that’s all you ever see the traditional peeps doing. Those 2 movements are the be all and end all of kettlebell training. Although swings and snatches are great exercises, there is so much more to kettlebell training than that.  Traditional peeps will have you swinging and snatching  until you are blue in the face. But  trust me when I say this, you will never retain students if you are doing the same movements over and over. Plus your body gets used to it and you will stop experiencing results.  I see posts of people saying they did 1000 swings. How much stress do you think that puts on your lower back. Sounds painful to me. These 2 movements are great as supplemental exercises to add into routines. But centering your entire workouts around them will not render you significant gains in muscle.

3. Over emphasis on technique.  It trips me out that I can see a “master” level practitioner posting a video saying, “I need to break down my swing so I could really master it.” I mean, how complicated is the swing? For that matter, how complicated is the deadlift? I see people online always talking about how you should never teach the swing until you master the dead lift.  So, they give you an 8kg kb and put you in front of a wall and take like 2 hours to break down a simple movement like the deadlift. They tell you, if you don’t do it correctly, you will hurt yourself. Which brings us back to number 1. Improper warm up! I have never seen anyone hurt themselves by improperly lifting something. I have however seen plenty of peeps, including myself hurt my back after not warming up properly.  If I went to a trainer for a workout and they spent the whole session teaching me the dead lift, I would want my money back.  I can teach a monkey to do a dead lift in less than a minute. Its not rocket science.  In fact, I don’t even teach a single kb deadlift at my gym. Its such a boring, rudimentary exercise.  I have even seen entire dvds devoted to the swing alone.  Blows my mind that people would spend their hard earned money to learn one single exercise like that. In the 30 years of my martial art and fitness experience, I have learned that nobody performs exercises the same.  Everyone has different body types. Some people’s body types simply do not allow them to perform movements ideally. If you place too much emphasis on the technical aspects of the movement, then when do you have time for the actual workout?? Kettlebellers are constantly ridiculing crossfit people about their form. Ive even had people telling me that everything im doing is incorrect. Whatever. These people criticize other fitness systems simply because they are jealous. People are showing up in droves to practice crossfit. If it was so bad, then people wouldn’t do it.  Most of these people hating don’t even have gyms where they train people on a regular basis. They do this because they are programmed by the leaders of their organizations. They have closed minds. They are robots.

4. Over emphasis of weight. “Comrade, you are man. You must use 20kgs.” Such a crock. Nobody should ever be pressured to use more weight than they are comfortable with.  I always say after a thorough warm up, find a bell that is manageable for you. While we are doing practice sets of a particular kb exercise, you can assess whether or not you want to upgrade your bell.  For me, its all about the safety of my clients.

5.  My last and final problem with the kettlebell industry is that they are stuck in their ways and lack creativity. Creativity is how the kettlebell was conceived in the first place.  Most traditionalist practice the dead lift, goblet squat, swing, clean, Turkish get up and the snatch only.  They think doing anything other than that is blasphemy. This is exactly why there are no kettlebell training systems that are household names. Ask anybody if they have heard of crossfit, they will most likely say yes. Ask someone about RKC and they wont have a clue, even though RKC has been around longer than crossfit.  I constantly have to explain what the hell a kettlebell is all the time.  The kb has been around for hundreds of years, yet people still do not know what it is.  Hell, the man accredited with bringing the kettlebell to the states, Pavel, left the organization he originally started and is now including barbells in his courses. I guess he must have gotten bored with doing the same exercises over and over as well. Now hes jumping on the crossfit band wagon. Hes also endorsing bodyweight flows and what not. I saw a pic of him the other day swinging the bell in one hand, with his other hand by his chin resembling a combat swing. I guess someone got a hold of one of my dvds.  My point is, that most kb trainers do not know how to use kettlebells to their fullest potential. They use them only as a supplemental training device. If you call yourself a master trainer, you should be able to put people through complete, full body workouts using kettlebells. The last 10 years of my life have been dedicated to getting people fit with kettlebells and body weight. I teach large bootcamps 6 days a week.  You will never retain students with a traditional kettlebell mind set. Check out the enclosed videos that shows me teaching a packed Kettlejitsu bootcamp. That has always been my objective. I could care less how much weight I can snatch with. I care about getting people in the gym and retaining them.

So there you have it. Those are the 5 biggest problems with the kettlebell industry today. If more kb enthusiasts would think outside of the box instead of judging people on their form, maybe kettlebells would be a household name by now. I am constantly pushing myself to develop the most effective, full body kettlebell workouts possible. 

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