I want to run faster. I want to jump higher. So many times I have said that to myself and heard it said by athletes of all ages. Here are 3 crucial kettlebell exercises that will get you there. The age old goal of jumping higher and running faster; those two objectives are the basis of what’s known in the fitness industry as “Speed & Agility.” There are simple ways of training for that, but do they really get you the speed and agility that you want to achieve?
A big part of speed and agility training is based on strength and conditioning. I have worked with many extreme athletes and fighters that are doing a lot of sprints, vertical jumps, long jumps, and even timed runs; all of these are wonderful for increasing your speed and agility (and even better for testing these out).
What they lack is a good base of solid strength and conditioning that is more focused on the demands of speed and agility. Most are just doing weight training exercises like Bench Presses, Deadlifts, Overhead Presses, and Curls which are not focused on directly enhancing speed and agility. While their overall strength may go up, these two big elements may stay the same.
That’s where the kettlebell comes in. You have probably learned how wonderful and diverse a tool the kettlebell really is. It can give you all around strength and dynamic movement that “traditional” workout tools cannot. Did you also know that just adding kettlebell weights to some of your base exercises can also work your speed and agility?
I not only train athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and the general public, I’m also a professional stuntman, who consistently has to enhance speed and agility to jump off walls, over people and objects, as well as reach to ledges to pull up. I’ve been able to enhance all of these abilities with kettlebell training and have actually taken them to new heights.
Kettlebell Exercise #1: Pistol Chair Flow
This is similar to a Chair Flow in Yoga, but you will be adding kettlebells to add pressure to all of your muscle groups. Start off with light kettlebells. Start the exercises standing tall with kettlebells in each hand in a suitcase position. From there, squat down as far back as you can (putting your weight in your heels) and raise your arms with the kettlebells straight in front of you (biceps next to ears for more difficulty).
Then slowly swing your arms back, while moving your body forward and slightly up. You can add a calf raise to add some extra resistance and to build up jumping strength. Flow back and forth between these two positions about 5 times to build up strength for sprints and jumps.
Kettlebell Exercise #2: Squat Chair Raise
This is taking your normal Racked Kettlebell Squat to the next level to work on high jumping power. Take two kettlebells and hold them in the “Rack” position. Perform a deep squat trying to get your elbows to your knees. Come all the way back up and go up as high onto your toes as you can.
Hold that position for a second, then go back into the deep squat and continue. To add a little more difficulty, have both kettlebells in the overhead position throughout the entire exercise, or press them up when you are going into the calf raise. Perform this 5-10 times.
Kettlebell Exercise #3: Double Kettlebell Swim
This exercise helps build endurance and total body strength to enhance your sprint speed. To perform, use two lightweight kettlebells. Start with the kettlebells in the suitcase position at your sides. Get into a light squat/isometric hold.
Swing your hips and the kettlebells back, and once they come forward, one at a time swim your arms back toward you alternating your arms each time. Try and keep your arms flowing with your shoulders, core, and hips with each “swim.”
To add more difficulty, you can go up onto your toes, or try and move your legs with it. Perform this for a total 10 reps (5 each side).
Kettlebell Workout For Speed & Agilty
Do each of these exercises with the allotted reps and minimal to no break in between exercises. Take at least a 60 seconds rest after completion, then do the whole set again 2-3 more times.
A1. Up Downs – 10 reps
A2. Pistol Chair Flow – 5 Reps
A3. Long Jumps – 25 yards (or for space con- straints, back and forth 10 times)
A4. Squat Calf Raises – 5 Reps
A5. Vertical Jumps – 10 reps
A6. Double KB Swim – 10 total reps
A7. FINISHER – High Knees – 20 seconds