This past weekend, IFAST hosted a “Kettlebell Basics” seminar. The course was free for IFAST members to attend, while people outside of IFAST were charged $50.
The goal of the course was simple:
To give the attendees a crash course on technique for two of the primary kettlebell exercises – the swing and the Turkish get-up.
Since this was our first time running a course like this, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, with 9 people in attendance and only a week or so of promotion, I was very excited with our turnout!
Here’s a quick recap of what we covered.
Hour #1 – The Swing
The swing is the foundational kettlebell exercise. Not only is it the first exercise you should learn, but it also lays the foundation for lifts such as the clean and the snatch.
However, jumping right into a swing can be tough. First off, most people don’t hinge/bend well, and then when you add the element of speed and explosiveness to it, it muddies the water even further.
As such, we started off with basic drills and instruction on proper body alignment, foot placement, and the motion without load first.
Once I was comfortable with everyone’s positioning, we then moved on to a kettlebell deadlift. This gets you into the same basic starting position and mimics the hinging motion, but without the speed.
We drilled the deadlift for 10-15 minutes, and then we started in on the swing. An hour isn’t a ton of time, but I wanted to make sure the attendees got some of the “big rocks” when it came to swing technique.
After demonstrating good technique, here were the big things we focused on:
- Tripod foot,
- Maintaining the foot-knee-hip relationship,
- Hinging at the hips versus squatting the weight,
- Neural spine,
- Attacking the zipper, and
- Finishing tall with the lats tight.
We got a fair amount of swings in, and then wrapped this session with a mini-workout. We performed kettlebell swings on the minute, which is an awesome finisher I learned from Geoff Neupert.
Here’s how it’s done:
- When the second hand of a clock gets to the 12, perform 10 swings.
- Once done, rest for the remainder of the minute.
- When the second hand if back to the 12, perform 10 swings.
- Repeat for anywhere from 7-15 rounds.
We did 10 rounds of 10 swings, and everyone had worked up quite a lather so we took a 10-minute break to let them catch their breath.
Hour #2 – The Get-up
In the second hour, we focused our time and energy on the Turkish get-up. My goal here was simple:
To drill proper body position and make sure the attendees knew what good technique looked and felt like when they walked out.
To do this, I was always reminding them to be robotic, and make sure to pause/hold each position like someone was taking their picture. This analogy works well, as people tend to slow down and really nail down each specific “stop” along the way.
Seeing as how there are 13 steps to a Turkish get-up (TGU), almost the entire time was spent working on the various positions. You can see all of the TGU positions in the post linked below:
Once technique was within an acceptable range, the attendees really wanted to give the entire lift a goal with a kettlebell. But not so fast!
Instead, we performed a handful of reps on each side of “The Extreme, Naked Shoe Get-up.”This is a variation I learned from Brett Jones, and I use it every time I’m teaching someone the TGU for the first time.
To do an extreme naked shoe get-up, make a fist and place your shoe on the top of your fist. But don’t wear it like a shoe with your hand on the inside! Instead, the bottom of the shoe rest on your fist instead.
If you aren’t incredibly dialed in and stable throughout, there’s no way you’ll make it all the way up and down without that shoe falling!
To wrap up, we took the attendees through a positional workout (again, to help drill each and every position), and then called it a day.
Summary and Closing Thoughts
All in all I think we had a very successful day, and the response was very good. Thank you to everyone who attended!
In the future, I’d love to host a course like this quarterly, with the goal being to really dive in one a lift or two and make sure technique is awesome.
If you’re interested in learning more about these courses, make sure to sign-up for our newsletter ASAP to stay in the loop. Have a great week!
All the best
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