Reading Time: 3 minutes
by Amanda Holst
Two handed kettlebell swing
- Start with the kettlebell an arm’s length away on the ground in front of you. Sit your hips back and slightly bend the knees, keeping your back straight and chest up, and grab the handle with both hands.
- From here, pull the kettlebell between your legs. Once you feel the momentum stop at the back, drive your hips forward by squeezing your glutes and core to stand up straight, using your hips against your forearms to propel the kettlebell up to shoulder height – you should not have to use your shoulder muscles for this.
- As the kettlebell begins to descend, sit your hips back and slightly bend the knees while keeping the back straight, letting the forearms make contact with your inner thighs to load the hips. Drive the hips forward to stand again, and continue in this manner until you complete your reps.
- Set the kettlebell on the ground by letting it go at arms length once you’re in the bent over position.
- To practice form, start with 3 sets of 10 reps, trying to get a feel for the momentum of the kettlebell to make the transition between each rep smooth. Once this feels comfortable, do a set of 20-30 swings, then move directly to the next exercise.
Kettlebell clean and press
- In the same setup for the swing, grab the kettlebell handle with one hand, making sure your index finger is against the inside of the handle.
- Pull the kettlebell through your legs again, and this time when the kettlebell gets just in front of your body when you stand, pull it towards you by bending at the elbow and shrugging your shoulder.
- From here you want to bring your elbow close to your side as you shoot your hand upwards- bringing your forearm to the kettlebell as it flips over to the outside of your wrist (you don’t want the kettlebell slamming on your forearm- ouch). This takes some practice initially, but will become more fluid and comfortable with a little time. This is the “clean” portion of the lift.
- For the press, press the bell straight up as you turn your hand forward. As you lock out your arm, your bicep should be close to your head with the weight of the kettlebell pulling backwards slightly on your shoulder. Keep your glutes, quads, and core tight as you do the press.
- Lower the bell by reversing the press motion, then drop it between the legs to initiate another clean.
- To work on form for the clean, do 5 sets of 5 reps per arm. If the kettlebell keeps slamming onto your forearm, give it less hip drive and more pull with the arm. Once this is comfortable, do 8-12 reps per arm following the swings, then go to the next exercise with no rest.
- With the kettlebell in the overhead position, turn your upper body slightly outward, putting the overhead arm towards your backside. Next, look up at the kettlebell and maintain eye contact with the bell throughout the entire move.
- Place your inside hanging hand on the closest leg, and begin to sit your hips back, using your arm against the leg to guide you straight down. Keep the kettlebell pressed straight towards the sky as you bend forward, keeping your weight even between both feet.
- Get as far down as you can while keeping the spine in line, then use your core and hips to come back to a standing position.
- An easier variation of the windmill can be done by placing the kettlebell in the hand that follows the leg down to the ground. You will keep everything else the same, ending in a sideways T position at the bottom of the move and with the opposite arm overhead at the top of the movement.
- Do 5-8 reps per arm for this exercise following the clean and press, then rest 2 minutes.
Repeat this circuit 3-5 times
—Submitted by Chase S., Northern Illinois University
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Amanda Holst is a recent graduate of at San Jose State University in California, where she majored in journalism and nutrition.