Kettlebell Training Cheat Sheet

Print this cheat sheet and take with you the next time you are training with Kettlebells. It will help you to keep good form and help you avoid mistakes.

Kettlebell Training Tips

General Kettlebell Training

Stance

  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Weight on heels.
  • Knees stay in line with toes.
  • Focus on a point six feet in front of you.

Back Posture / Core

  • Maintain a neutral spine position – do not over flex or over extend your spine.
  • Pull back and down with your shoulders.
  • Place equal pressure on both feet.
  • Draw the ribcage back slightly.

Grip

Swing Type Movements

  • Make a hook with your hand to grasp the Kettlebell.
  • Don’t squeeze the handle.
  • Leave your thumb free.

Clean Type Movements

  • Wrap the thumb and index finger around the handle.
  • Leave the rest of the grip relatively loose to allow the bell to rotate.

Hip Movement

  • Wear tight fitting clothing that will not impair your natural movement.
  • Position the Kettlebell a little ahead of you.
  • Ensure that your feet are firmly set, with your heels pushing into the floor.
  • Lead from the hips in every movement. As you squat down push your hips back.
  • Focus on snapping your hips by pushing your butt back.
  • Crease at your hip flexors, sit back on your hips as far as possible, keeping the shins vertical and the hips as far back as possible.
  • In the upright position ensure that your quads and abs are tight and braced.

Breathing

  • Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Stay relaxed and breath evenly without pursing your lips.
  • Keep your abs tight.

Kettlebell Mistakes to Avoid

Main Kettlebell Mistakes to Avoid

  • Gripping a Kettlebell like a dumbbell.
  • Bringing your knees forward.
  • Not following a progressive movement pattern – start basic, master the movement, then progress.
  • Rounding the back.
  • Using upper body strength to manipulate the Kettlebell rather than ballistic movement.
  • Training to muscular failure.
  • Using weights that are too light or too heavy.

Main Kettlebell Exercises and the Right Technique

Here are the tips on some main Kettlebell exercises. Learn about the right stance, back posture, grip, core, breathing and hip movement.

Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

Kettlebell Sumo DeadliftKettlebell Sumo Deadlift Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

Stance

  • Exaggerated stance with your feet about 12 inches wider than shoulder width.
  • Feet pointed out slightly.

Back Posture

  • Maintain neutral spine.
  • Ensure a slight arch in your lower back.
  • Keep your shoulders back and behind the knees.
  • Contract your lats when you grip the bar and as you lift the Kettlebell.

Grip

  • Two handed over-hand.

Hip Movement

  • Hinge the hips and push the butt back.
  • Ensure perfect alignment from the back of the head to the tail-bone.
  • The knees bend but do not go forward.
  • Keep your glutes tight throughout the movement.

Core

  • Keep the abs tight and pulled in.
  • Push out the chest.

Breathing

  • Inhale deeply to start the movement.
  • Breathe into the abdomen.
  • Forcefully breathe in through the nose on the downswing.
  • Breathe out through the mouth on the upswing.

Tips

  • This is a great exercise for loosening up the hip flexors in preparation for more ballistic moves, so do it first.
  • Drive through the thighs to lift the Kettlebell.
  • When turning the bell to the ground try to place it behind your heels – this will help to prevent your back from rounding.
  • Lock your knees out in the fully erect position.
  • Pretend that you’re using the heaviest Kettlebell in the world – this will keep your body straight and tight.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swing Kettlebell Swing Kettlebell Swing

Stance

  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Toes pointed out.
  • Knees slightly bent.

Back Posture

  • Maintain neutral spine.
  • Ensure a slight arch in your lower back.
  • Engage the lats by packing the shoulders back and down –start with the Kettlebell a foot in front of you.

Grip

  • Two handed over-hand.
  • Don’t apply pressure with the thumb.

Hip Movement

  • Hinge the hips and push the butt back.
  • Ensure perfect alignment from the back of the head to the tail-bone.
  • The knees bend but do not go forward.
  • Feel the load in the hamstrings and butt.
  • Drive the hips forward to complete the swing, locking them in the top position.

Core

  • Keep the abs tight and pulled in.
  • Push out the chest.
  • Don’t let your core relax at the top of the swing – keep it contracted.

Breathing

  • Inhale deeply to start the movement.
  • Forcefully breathe in through the nose on the downswing.
  • Breathe out through the mouth on the upswing.

Tips

  • Drive through the thighs to lift the Kettlebell.
  • Keep your arms locked out throughout the movement.
  • Fix your eyes on the ground six feet in of you throughout the entire movement.

Kettlebell Clean and Press

Kettlebell Clean Kettlebell Clean Kettlebell Clean Kettlebell Clean

Kettlebell Press

Stance

  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Toes pointed out.
  • Knees slightly bent.
  • Position your shoulder over the Kettlebell as you reach down to grasp it.

Back Posture

  • Maintain neutral spine.
  • Ensure a slight arch in your lower back.
  • Consciously engage the lats when pressing overhead.

Grip

  • One handed over-hand.

Hip Movement

  • Hinge the hips and push the butt back.
  • Ensure perfect alignment from the back of the head to the tail-bone.
  • The knees bend but do not go forward.
  • Make sure the weight is loaded onto the back of your body – the glutes, buttocks and hamstrings.
  • Drive the hips forward to initiate the clean.

Core

  • Keep the abs tight and pulled in.

Breathing

  • Inhale deeply as you begin the clean.
  • Forcefully breathe in through the nose on the downswing.
  • Exhale when the Kettlebell reaches the rack position.
  • Inhale through the mouth to initiate the upward drive and then exhale at lock-out.

Tips

  • Practice the clean and press separately until you have mastered both movements.
  • The swing is the driving factor in the clean, so emulate your Kettlebell swing form to get the bell up to shoulder height.
  • Imagine the you’re pulling the cord on a lawnmower during the clean.
  • Keep the Kettlebell in close to your body as you clean it to your shoulder – imagine there’s a wall in front of you.
  • Perform a mini squat between the clean and press to initiate the over head drive.
  • Rotate your hand as you press the Kettlebell overhead so that you palm is facing forward in the top position.
  • Avoid jerking the weight from the floor.
  • To stop the Kettlebell smashing into your forearm, bring the arm underneath the Kettlebell during the clean rather than bringing the Kettlebell up and over.
  • Take a momentary pause between the clean and press portions on the movement.
  • You don’t have to touch the floor between each rep.

Download the Kettlebell Training Cheat Sheet

Kettlebell Training Cheat Sheet

or download the PDF version.

Get in Shape with These 9 Must-Do Kettlebell Exercises

This compact, illustrated report will teach you, step by step, 9 critical Kettlebell exercises to burn fat and pack on lean muscle.