Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another short and sweet kettlebell routine!

I posted a 5 minute kettlebell routine focusing on total body recruitment, which quickly became very popular on youtube.  So in response to that demand, I turned the video camera on during one of my many shoulder exercise circuits.  Here it is:

Please keep in mind that these are advanced exercises.  If you have not mastered the basic swings and getups, and perhaps even cleans, presses, and snatches (videos to come), I would focus on those exercises first.  For the record on terminology, the video above shows exercises in the following order:
1) Kettlebell Pummel
2) Kettlebell Side Press
3) Kettlebell Bend Press (with some Kettlebell Windmills thrown in as well)

Double Kettlebell Swing

I posted an earlier video for the basic 1 arm kettlebell hip swing.  As you all know, the 2 arm and 1 arm hip swings are considered the foundation of kettlebell training.  Everyone should master both versions, as well as the kettlebell turkish getup, before attempting to incorporate other exercises and their variations. 

However, for those who have mastered the basics, and who do not have very heavy kettlebells, here is a variation of the kettlebell swing you may wish to try.

The beauty of the double kettlebell swing is that it allows you to overload the hip and core musculature, even if you don't own heavier kettlebells.  At the office, the heaviest kettlebell we have is 40kg or 88lbs.  I would like to train with twice that weight, so the closest I can get right now is using (2) 32kg kettlebells, which translates into a total of 64 kg or 140.6 lbs. 

The challenge is that as your kettlebell size increases, you must create a wider stance for them to pass under you hips.  You must also be certain to rotate your wrist inward as you pass under your hips to make certain you do not hit the heavy kettlebell into your thigh.  Believe me, that is a BAD idea!  ROTATE THOSE WRISTS!

Double Kettlebell Cossack

I posted an earlier video showcasing the "bottom up kettlebell cossack", which is a great exercise for lower body strength and flexibility.  For those who wish to throw in more challenges for your upper body and core, try the double kettlebell cossack.  Each hand holds a kettlebell in the "rack position", creating a lot of tension around the shoulders, lats, and obliques.  I consider this a more advanced exercise, so if you haven't mastered the basics, let this be a goal for yourself!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why can't you swing your kettlebell right? (Part 3)

We have touched on gluteal amnesia and poor core strength as two culprits in hurting your kettlebell swing. The third thing that is very often a problem is slow hip drive. The kettlebell swing is not supposed to be a "slow-controlled" movement. To reverse the kettlebell arc between your legs, there should be a fast, powerful, and VISIBLE hip drive. Your hip should "POP!" forward, faster than you can say the word out loud! Start popping!

Rehab your Shoulders By "Getting-Up"

Many people know the turkish getup is a great exercise for your core and leg flexibility and strength. However, some in my field would argue that it is even better for shoulder rehabilitation, especially if you are doing a few in a row. Because of the long "time under tension" around the shoulder capsule, both the stabilizing rotator cuff muscles and the strong deltoid muscles of the shoulder are recruited effectively. Check out the exercise here:

In fact, the benefits of greater shoulder stability and strength are greatly improved if you decide to only do "partial getups" instead. For added shoulder instability, try holding the kettlebell "bottom-up", for an even more difficult task on the shoulder musculature.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Short but Sweet!

Experimenting one day, I completed a 5 minute kettlebell routine consisting of 3 exercises:

1) 1 arm Bottom-up Cleans and Presses (Using 16-20kg)

2) 1 arm Rows in a Split Stance (Using 24-40 kg)

3) 1 arm Full Snatches (Using 24-32 kg)

Check it out! Stay safe and have fun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why can't you swing your kettlebell right? (Part 2)

In part 1 a few weeks ago, we talked about how gluteal amnesia can contribute to dangerously performed hip extension, which would also create problems in your kettlebell swing dynamics. In part 2, I want to talk about another likely culprit, namely poor core strength and stability. When I talk about "the core," I don't just mean your "six pack." The core consists of many muscle surrounding the hip,spine, and torso that produce force in 360 degrees of motion. That means that just performing situps and crunches will not strengthen the core in its entirety, and in fact, focusing on them can cause problems rather than solve them. Read Dr. Stuart McGill's article here to learn more:

So to strengthen the core, lets start with focusing on plank holds and glute bridging, both of which teach you to firmly connect your ribcage to your pelvis, allowing you to effectively transfer energy throughout your body in your kettlebell swings, snatches, presses,getups, etc.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kettlebell Bottom-Up Cossack: Improve hip flexibility and strength!

For those of you looking for variations of kettlebell exercises that continue to improve your hip flexibility and strength, try the "Bottom-up Kettlebell Cossack." Dr. Horwitz and myself are seen here demonstrating the movement using an 88lbs kettlebell:

Be sure to maintain maximum tension in your arms, shoulders, and core to ensure stability of the kettlebell. Once you have mastered the exercise, it becomes a full body lesson in tension, "connectedness," and precision movement of the kinematic chain!

Have you been warming up the correct way?

In my experience, a lot of people believe that spending 10-15 minutes warming up is wasted time. For most, a quick 5 minute jog on the treadmill is all they complete for a warmup, with perhaps a few brief static stretches thrown into the end, then its time to hit the heavy weights! Sure, jogging 5 minutes will help to raise the body's temperature, making the muscles more pliable, but where is the dynamic mobility and movement specificity for your nervous system? The fact is, spending 10 minutes moving through dynamic mobility exercises and specifically preparing your body for the major lifts of the day will IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE! Dynamic warmups actually increase your strength, flexibility, and stability INSTANTANEOUSLY, because your nervous system prepares for the training immediately to follow. Here is a 10 minute full body, dynamic mobility routine that you can use prior to your kettlebell training, and is also great as soon as you get out of bed.

Upper Body:

Lower Body

You won't believe how much better you feel throughout the day after having completed it first thing in the morning! Incorporate the movements demonstrated however you can into your daily life. Joint mobility movements are nearly infinite in their variation, so the videos are merely examples of routines that you can create on your own, once you fully master the full ranges of motion of all your major joints. Have fun! Be consistent!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why can't you swing your kettlebell right? (Part 1)

Those of you who have begun learning and practicing kettlebell swings should already know that you must have a powerful gluteal contraction to perform them correctly. What you may not know is that many people struggle with neurologically recruiting their glutes, because of habitual sitting throughout the day or inactivity. When people cannot preferentially recruit their glutes to perform powerful hip extension, the brain attempts to compensate by firing the hamstrings and back extensors to complete the quick hip drive. If this continues, not only will your kettlebell never swing correctly, but you may cause a lower back injury or chronic lower back pain.

So, start fixing the problem by reteaching your brain to contract your glutes for hip extension. Begin with mastering the Gray Cook Hip Lift, or other glute bridge techniques on the floor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why be thankful for KETTELBELLS?

“A lot of women who could not do any type of exercise with knee issues, shoulder issues are exercising again.”
“I have lost weight with the kettlebells…40 + pounds.”
“I’ve lost 50 lbs. total.”
“I’m grateful for what it’s done for my body, for the way I can look in the summertime in a bathing suit…I just feel good about myself.”
“I’m a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter and I have seen tremendous benefits in my lifting.”
“I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m in my mid 30s.”
“You can get cardiovascular and strength training at the same time.”
“Being able to walk places where before it just killed me.”
“Cardio and strength training in a blender.”

Come join the kettlebell community...try a class...for FREE!

Call us now at 301-622-9000 or email at to register!


Read what military personnel say if they had lifted kettlebells before they had enlisted:
“Definitely would have had a stronger back if I had lifted kettlebells.”
“I could have spared myself a lot of knee, neck, and shoulder pain.”
“I started to use kettlebells about a year and a half in and it completely enhanced my military experience. The packs got easier to lift and throw on your back…loading heavy weapons, lugging them around…everything just got easier.”

Watch these inspiring videos!

Come to your first class free and see for yourself! Call 301-622-9000 to register!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


At Capital Sports Injury Center we have been using kettlebells as an exercise rehabilitation and injury prevention therapy since 2006 with GREAT results! We have had success with conditions such as lumbago (lower back pain), lumbar disc herniations, degenerative hip arthritis, degenerative knee arthritis, ankle sprains, pulled hamstrings, rotator cuff injuries, obesity (weight loss!), and fatigue.

The kettlebell will make your back resilient. Unique Russian exercises condition your back from every conceivable angle, statically and dynamically. One would have to take up powerlifting, yoga, strongman, gymnastics, and a couple of other things to half way imitate the benefits of kettlebell training.

Kettlebell's offset center of gravity maximizes shoulder strength, flexibility, and health. According to Pavel, most Russians have never heard of 'rotator cuffs.' Save for combat wounds, shoulder injuries are virtually unheard in the Russian armed forces.

We are unique in being able to combined kettlebell rehab with scar tissue removal techniques like Active Release Techniques®, Graston Technique®, Kinesio Taping®, Cold Laser, and chiropractic adjustments. No other health care facility in the national capital area has the amount of experience offering this combination of therapies that we have! If your body’s got damage from a high-mileage life, kettlebell rehab may be able to give you more relief and restore your strength and quality of life better than anything else.

Call us today at 301-622-9000 or email us at!