Movement Quality

Quality Kettlebell Training

Water Symmetry. Getty images

Is there a single most important thing in kettlebell training, or any kind of training for that matter?

There may not be a correct answer here, because the most important thing may come down to the individual choice of what will be prioritized.

For one person, strength is the most important thing. To another, being “in shape” is the priority. In shape to one could mean peak cardiovascular condition, and to another it might mean having low bodyfat.

For yet another person, the ability to perform a certain skill or set of skills (as in a sport) trumps all over priorities. See, it may be impossible to state factually what is the single most important thing in training. 

Still, I’ll venture to give an answer to the question. What is the most important thing in kettlebell training or training with any tool?

Movement Quality.

That’s right, how well you move is more important than strength, or speed, or power, or conditioning or mobility, coordination, balance, accuracy and so on. Simply put, the quality of movement is the foundation which will determine the development of all other skills. So we can say that strength is a skill, power is a skill, balance is a skill, etc. There is no skill, or at least no sustainable skill, without the quality of the movements which create the skill.

Are you able to prioritize as much or more on the quality of your movements as you are on getting stronger, leaner and on down the line towards the Perfect You?

Let’s define Quality

-high grade


-an accomplishment or attainment

-how good or bad something is

-a feature that someone or something has

-a high level of value or excellence

Now that we understand what movement quality is and that it is maybe the most important thing, there also has to be a way to refer to and focus on the quality of your kettlebell movements, and extend the same quality to all forms of training.

Any and every movement must be quality.

The challenge is that in the beginning, with no experience, there will certainly be mistakes. Many times a beginner will struggle to get the body to do what she thinks it is supposed to do, from lack of coordination, poor conditioning and unfamiliarity with the pattern. With practice all these things improve, thus it is important to be conservative in the weight selection. Use a light kettlebell, so that while making the unavoidable mistakes along the path to mastery, there is a minimal risk of injuring yourself. It’s amazing how quickly the body can learn a new movement when you do not put too much pressure on yourself to perform to any certain level. Just learning the movement and develop the comfort of the feeling of the movement is the best thing to aim for at first. 

Of course, you won’t get far without developing a smooth coordination of the breathe and how it should harmonize with the movement of the body, in any exercise. Never hold the breathe, keep breathing and let the breath guide the movements.

Pain is a bad sign. Avoid pain, yet don’t shy from the natural discomfort. You must distinguish. Discomfort comes with hard work and is good, as long as it is in the appropriate dosage (slow and steady!). Pain is a signal that something is wrong. If you cannot figure out what causes pain, avoid that movement and study more, find a coach and figure out what you are doing wrong. 

Along with attention to feeling the movement and using the breath, there is the powerful use of your mind, in which you paint the internal picture of what your perfect Swing, perfect Squat, perfect Press looks like. If you were to perform on a stage in front of thousands of people, would they find it artistic and appealing, or are the movements clumsy and awkward? Be your own audience and SEE in your mind’s eye, your perfect execution.

Movement quality starts in your mind, moves through your breath and demonstrates with your body. Never settle for less than your best!

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