Kettlebell Best Practices

Do it right

IKFF Kettlebells
Ready to go in UAE. Steve Cotter/IKFF

In order to have good results, you need to set SMART goals and achieve them. You also need to keep in mind a sensible approach to training that guides you in attaining good results. The following best practices for kettlebell training are helpful training standards to follow

Quality Over Quantity

Each movement has to have your full attention. A program may ask for a certain number, however the quality of the repetitions are more important than the number or quantity of repetitions.

If the set calls for 10 reps and your form starts to fall apart on rep 8, stop at 8, take a short break and finish the last 2 reps with precise form. The way you practice is the way you will perform. Demand excellence of yourself and you will be excellent.

Monitor your Exertion

You’ll have good days and not so good days. Sometimes you’ll feel energetic and other times you’ll feel lethargic. The same workout, performed on different days, may feel quite different and produce a different training effect for your body. There are a lot of factors that will influence your workout and how you feel. RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) is a subjective way to gauge your intensity. You want to be able to recover between sets and RPE is a convenient and effective way to monitor your workout intensity and recovery periods so you can focus on quality repetitions.

Listen to your body and pay attention to the signs and internal dialogue your body communicates with you.

You should challenge yourself without overdoing it. Don’t be afraid to take an occasional day off if your body is telling you that you need the extra rest. Also, get plenty of sleep between your kettlebell workouts so you can fully recover from one workout and be ready to give your best effort in your next workout.

Take time to warm-up and cool-down

A good warm-up will take 5-10 minutes. Also, take time to stretch and cool-down following kettlebell training. The warm-up and cool-down are as important to your long-term progress as the workout itself.

Don’t Strain

As you become more experienced, you will be able to “push” your body further in your training. Be patient, progress conservatively and do not rush progress. Refrain from moving too fast or doing too much volume or progressing too quickly in load. Developing the skill and fitness with kettlebells takes time and practice. You can always do more next time but if you do too much too soon you will most likely pay a big price and may not bounce back so quickly. The main cause of injuries is when someone selects a kettlebell that is too heavy or doing too much volume of training with poor form (emphasizing quantity over quality).

Think long-term

Your progress should develop over time. Don’t try to accomplish all of your fitness goals in a day, week or month.

Rome was not built in a day, so be willing to invest in your long-term progress through consistent, gradual improvements from week to week and month to month.

High-quality fuel

Eat before kettlebell training, but not too much and not too soon before. It is a good idea to have a little bit of easily digestible food in your belly, but not to overeat. It’s better to eat nothing than to eat too much. Try to allow at least 1 hour to digest before training and eat foods that will give you some energy but are not too heavy to easily digest.

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