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THE ESSENTIAL 6 KETTLEBELL EXERCISES Every Beginner Should Master

The Essential 6 Kettlebell Exercises Every Beginner Should Master

Written by
September 10, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018

I’m a firm believer in mastering the basic skills and attributes before diving into advanced un-conventional stuff. One cannot hope to build a solid building on a shaky foundation. If you want serious results with kettlebells, you must dedicate a fair amount of time to basic kettlebell lifts, as well as mobility and bodyweight training.

The Basics of Kettlebell Training

It is not enough to just briefly “learn” the basic lifts, which is just a beginning phase of mastery commonly referred to as “skill acquisition.” Once you have a grasp of the right technique, you need to now condition that skill and acquire a reasonable level of mobility, power, strength, and conditioning behind that skill, as well as the ability to perform it well under pressure and various (sometimes not ideal) circumstances. This process takes time and consistent undivided effort.

During that phase, your lifts should be kept as basic as possible. You will be ill served by variety for variety’s sake, and it will do you no good to rush into advanced lifts way too early. Stick to the basics and become real good at them. In real life, advanced performance is of ten simply the basics executed well.

Basic Kettlebell Lifts

Kettlebell lifting has seven basic lifts (some- body’s list might be a bit longer or shorter than mine). There are four basic Ballistic Lifts and three basic Grinding Lifts.

BASIC BALLISTIC KETTLEBELL LIFTS

  • Swing
  •  Clean & Jerk (Long Cycle) > Snatch

BASIC GRINDING KETTLEBELL LIFTS

  • Press
  • Front Squat
  • Turkish Get Up

Basic Kettlebell Mobility

At the same time you’re working on raising your basic strength and fitness levels, you should work hard on improving and maintaining your mobility. This will serve multiple purposes such as:

  • Create a solid platform for you to maintain your fitness regimen for a lifetime.
  • Improve coordination and body awareness.
  • Improve active and dynamic flexibility.
  • Enhance recovery.
  • Build a strong foundation for both basic and advanced lifts down the road.

Lots of advanced lifts are simply impossible without good mobility skills. Regardless of that fact, whether you are interested in performing advanced lifts one day or not, your training should be balanced. You want to be strong, fit, and mobile (this is the truth).

General Preparedness Levels For Basic Kettlebell Lifts

Please keep in mind that this table is approximate and does not take into account the athlete’s age, possible orthopedic issues, etc. It is meant to be used as a general guideline and a live person and his/ her health should be always more important than some numbers on a paper. With that said, it gives you a ballpark that can help you to estimate your basic kettlebell fitness levels.

Beginner
Men

Intermediate
Men

Advanced
Men

Beginner
Women

Intermediate
Women

Advanced
Women

2-Hand
Swing

1/4 of BW
X 100 Reps
in 5 Min

1/3 of BW
x 200 Reps
in 10 Min

1/2 of BW
x 200 Reps
in 10 Min

1/5 of BW
x 100 Reps
in 5 Min

1/4 of BW
x 200 Reps
in 10 Min

1/3 of BW
X 200 Reps
in 10 Min

Clean &
Jerk

One Arm
1/4 of BW
x 30-40 Reps
ES in 5 Min

Double KB
1/4 of BW
X 50-70 Reps
in 10 Min

Double KB
1/3 of BW
x 50-70 Reps
in 10 Min

One Arm
1/5 of BW
x 30-40 Reps
ES in 5 Min

One Arm
1/4 of BW
X 50-70 Reps
in 10 Min

One Arm
1/3 of BW
X 50-70 reps
in 10 min

Snatch

1/5 of BW
x 100 Reps
in 5 Min

1/4 of BW
X 200 Reps
in 10 Min

1/3 of BW
x 200 Reps
in 10 Min

1/6 of BW
X 100 Reps
in 5 Min

1/5 of BW
X 200 Reps
in 10 Min

1/4 of BW
X 200 reps
in 10 min

Press

1/4 of BW
X 1-5 Reps

1/3 of BW
x 1-5 Reps

1/2 of BW
x 1-5 Reps

1/6 of BW
X 1-5 Reps

1/5 of BW
X 1-5 Reps

1⁄4 of BW
X 1-5 reps

Front
Squat

Goblet Style
1/3 of BW
x 1-5 Reps

Double KB
1/3 of BW
x 1-5 Reps

Double KB
1/2 of BW
x 1-5 reps

Goblet Squat
1/4 of BW
x 1-5 Reps

Double KB
1/4 of BW
x 1-5 Reps

Double KB
1/3 of BW
X 1-5 reps

Turkish
Get Up

1/3 of BW
x 1-3 Reps ES

1/2 of BW
x 1-3 Reps ES

3/5 of BW
x 1-3 Reps ES

1/5 of BW
x 1-3 Reps ES

1/4 of BW
X 1-3 Reps ES

1/3 of BW
X 1-3 reps ES

Become a Kettlebell Legend

Onnit Legendbell

If you are really feeling like challenging yourself with the kettlebell, try the 28 KG Legendbell. Who can resist the primal urge to howl at the moon, to stalk your prey, to feel muscles rippling under bristled skin. The legend of the Werewolf is the primordial reversion from human to Beast. A transformation you can undertake while using this perfectly balanced, and savagely heavy 62lb Legend Bell.

Greg Mihovich
Greg Mihovich is the owner and head trainer of the Underground Gym. With a lifetime of experience in martial arts and fitness, Greg utilizes multiple disciplines to enhance the athletic performance of his clients. His innovative approach to training has led to the development of the Compound Conditioning method.

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