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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kettlebell Safety and Definitions

It's worth doing at least once on my new blog. I welcome comments and discussion on the following opinions.

Build up gradually. No matter your previous training, work gradually when changing exercise formats or increasing work days to allow muscular structure to build naturally. 
  • Newbies may start with 1 or 2 kettlebell workouts per week and can build up to 3 workouts/week within the first few months. 
  • Seasoned athletes can start with 2 or 3 and work up to 5 kettlebell workouts per week for a deep conditioning phase. 
  • As a peak training phase, 6 kettlebell workouts/week is brutal, intense and will not last as a long-term program.
Warm-up and recover. Use joint mobility and dynamic stretching to prepare your joints and raise your core temperature. Between sets, use dynamic stretching and range of motion drills to normalize the muscles around your joints and safely slow your heart rate down. If your technique deteriorates at all, stop. Rest and recover before resuming exercise. Do not work your arms or legs to the point of failure.

Practice the new and technical stuff first. If you have recently learned a new technique, put it at the beginning of workouts until it is familiar. Moves you have practiced before, such as Turkish get up and screw press, can be a dangerous challenge if attempted at the wrong time in a workout. If you need a spotter for specific lifts, don't practice without one.

Grinding work (defined as lifts that start with the weight at a stationary position, such as deadlift or squat). Select a weight that will be a challenge by the end of each set. Sometimes body weight is enough!

Super set (defined as practicing exercises that require different primary muscle groups back-to-back, such as shoulder press, followed by squat, followed by bent over rows). For a very efficient workout, make a circuit with 4 to 6 exercises that all require a different muscle action. Work through your circuit 3 to 6 times.

Momentum work (defined as exercises that initiates with the weight in motion and uses of a specific muscle firing sequence to propel the weight through it's entire range, such as kettlebell clean or snatch). Momentum sets work best when isolated away from grinding sets, as the breathing patterns are different.

Finish well. Sustained stretching and physical therapy-type drills are appropriate after a work out. Deck rolling, cobra stretches and neck recovery are excellent habits at the end of a training session. These little things will support total rest and prevent over-use stress from building up over time.

Have plenty of drinking water, a source of quick carbohydrates or protein after your workout.

See my website for more information about Kettlebell Fitness classes available in Boulder:
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