Mountain Biking with Kettlebells!
By Abdul Mujib
“You wouldn’t want to go downhill mountain biking before you learned how to ride a bike”
The above quote is from one of my teenage clients and the analogy is certainly applicable across any board that you look at. Far too many times have I witnessed high skill Kettlebell movements being grueled through by individuals who lack the foundational principles for how to engage their core in order to control the Kettlebell.
A few months ago, I was watching an individual being led through a Kettlebell exercise routine that showed me that even the instructor was most likely unfamiliar with basic Kettlebell training principles. Now I can’t blame the trainer for wanting to use Kettlebells with their clients, Kettlebells are awesome.
In fact, when I first started using Kettlebells myself, I had no idea if what I was doing was right.
The difference is that when I first started using Kettlebells, and when I started showing other people the basics that I understood, I was not considered a certified fitness professional and I certainly was not charging anybody a dime for what I was offering. Hell, even when I was just starting out as a certified professional, and I was charging folks not much more than a dime, I was still only working within the scope of my practice. In essence, I wasn’t taking my beginning students, throwing them on a bike and sending them flying down the “Stowe Flow” trail. In fact I was all about those “training wheels”, and that “walk before you run” mentality.
To clarify… let’s use the Kettlebell Snatch! IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE POSITION OF THE WORKING ARM DURING THE LOCK OUT THEN YOU PROBABLY ARE BETTER OFF NOT DOING HIGH REPETITION KETTLEBELL SNATCHES…plain and simple! It’s as simple as this in fact, “would you do that with a heavy Kettlebell?” If the answer is no then stop right there. Instead, work on the lockout! Or better yet, go all the way back to the beginning and ask yourself if you understand how to engage the glutes and the abs as a foundation for all Kettlebell movements, then go from there.
Here’s the deal, there are absolute foundational principles that go into using Kettlebells, these principles are how we swing without back pain, clean or snatch without wrist bruises, press without shoulder pain, and do get ups without feeling like we’re flailing around swimming through the air. The truth is that these foundations should be taught at the start of any program that has significant Kettlebell usage – a lot of times they are not.
The reality is that most of the time the introduction of these foundations takes a fair amount of talking, like a whole 15 minutes – and surely if you came to do a workout you must never want to even consider standing there listening to someone talk for 15 minutes. But you would benefit greatly from it!
So, if you’re currently working with or planning to work with Kettlebells and you can find a Kettlebell instructor, or attend a workshop or a Kettlebell specific class, it would go quite a long way to keeping your progressions steady, safe, confident, and pain free to take advantage of the opportunity. And if you find a specialized instructor, or you attend a specific Kettlebell workshop, and this still isn’t the case then come on over to North Country Kettlebells and get your first consultation, ON US! Just remember what the young lifter said, “ you’d never go downhill mountain biking before you learned how to ride a bike” believe me you!