Category Archives: Kettlebell Sport

15-Rep Burnout with Kim Fox

Today my good friend and Absolute World Record Holder in 2x24kg Long Cycle, Kim Fox, is leading the workout of the week!

The assignment is to complete 8 sets of 15 repetitions. Start at your competition weight and decrease weight by 1-2kg each set. Your goal is to complete this workout as quickly as possible. As always, safety is my priority, so please be sure that you are maintaining your form and using kettlebell weights appropriate to your level of experience.

An alternate workout that Kim mentions in the video is for those who don’t have enough kettlebells (consider purchasing True Grit kettleweights or PlateMate weights). Instead of decreasing in weight, you will decrease in repetitions each round with 20 seconds of rest in between (i.e. 15 reps, 14 reps, 13 reps… down to 1).


For those of you who don’t know who Kim is, she is a pioneer in the world of women’s double kettlebell lifts, and the first woman to ever officially compete in 2x24kg Long Cycle (and smash most of the men’s numbers too!). She is the owner of Fox Fitness in Wichita, Kansas, and coaches her own Kettlebell Sport team. You can check out more videos from Kim on her YouTube channel

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Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes: Part 4

Pre-habilitation Exercises for Overhead Athletes

As a kettlebell coach whose number one goal is to keep her athletes healthy, I’m always looking to learn from other health and fitness experts that have ideas on the subject of injury prevention. Unfortunately, overuse injuries run rampant when people don’t properly prepare their bodies for the volume-heavy work in Kettlebell Sport, from a mobility and/or stability standpoint.

This is the fourth (and last!) in a series of posts where Doctor of Physical Therapy (and Team KOR kettlebell lifter!) Jordan Levine will share his favorite pre-habilitation exercises to build shoulder stability and avoid injury with overhead lifting. Whether you’re a coach or an athlete that uses kettlebells, these are great exercises you can implement to prevent overuse injuries before they happen.


Bottoms Up Screwdriver

  • Start lying on your back. With kettlebell in bottoms up position and thumb side of hand pointing up. Keep bottom of kettlebell pointing straight upward.
  • Begin by setting scapula gently down and back and keep in this position for entirety of exercise.
  • Use screw motion to internally rotate shoulder by rotating thumb inward, then externally rotate shoulder by rotating thumb outward.
  • Repeat for high reps (20 or more) until burn is felt or form begins to compromise. Start with light weight and make sure to rotate from whole arm (not solely forearm/wrist).
  • For an increased challenge, perform exercise lying on your side.
  • This exercise is a great for building stability of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder as well as strengthening rotator cuff muscles and scapula stabilizer muscles. Research has shown creating distal instability down the chain of the extremity (i.e. using a bottoms up kettlebell) leads to increased muscle activation.

Dr. Jordan Levine PT, DPT is a physical therapist at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center located in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area of San Diego. He specializes in orthopedics with a strong emphasis on manual therapy.

Click here to check out part 1 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.

Click here to check out part 2 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.

Click here to check out part 3 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.

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Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes: Part 3

Pre-habilitation Exercises for Overhead Athletes

As a kettlebell coach whose number one goal is to keep her athletes healthy, I’m always looking to learn from other health and fitness experts that have ideas on the subject of injury prevention. Unfortunately, overuse injuries run rampant when people don’t properly prepare their bodies for the volume-heavy work in Kettlebell Sport, from a mobility and/or stability standpoint.

This is the third in a series of posts where Doctor of Physical Therapy (and Team KOR kettlebell lifter!) Jordan Levine will share his favorite pre-habilitation exercises to build shoulder stability and avoid injury with overhead lifting. Whether you’re a coach or an athlete that uses kettlebells, these are great exercises you can implement to prevent overuse injuries before they happen.


Serratus Anterior Wall Roll

  • Place foam roller horizontally against wall; slightly lower than shoulder height.
  • Weight bear wrists to mid forearms area against foam roller with body rigid and angled away from wall.
  • First engage abdominals; think about keeping ribcage down. Then protract scapulas (push blades apart), pushing elbows further into wall without straightening elbows.
  • Imagine you are pushing foam roller through the wall with elbows and then slowly roll upward while keeping that push through the wall. Stop when elbows reach about eye level or foam roller reaches elbows.
  • Keep that elbow push through the wall and roll foam roller back to start position with roller at wrist to mid forearm.
  • Repeat for high reps (20 or more) at slow pace.
  • You should feel the muscles in your armpit / rib area working as you push elbows upward.
  • The serratus anterior is a main contributor to outward scapula rotation along with upper and lower trap muscles. Outward rotation of the scapula must occur during overhead lifting to get full range of motion and to stabilize scapula so smaller muscles of shoulder do not get overworked (which can lead to injury over time).

Dr. Jordan Levine PT, DPT is a physical therapist at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center located in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area of San Diego. He specializes in orthopedics with a strong emphasis on manual therapy.

Click here to check out part 1 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.

Click here to check out part 2 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.

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Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes: Part 2

Pre-habilitation Exercises for Overhead Athletes

As a kettlebell coach whose number one goal is to keep her athletes healthy, I’m always looking to learn from other health and fitness experts that have ideas on the subject of injury prevention. Unfortunately, overuse injuries run rampant when people don’t properly prepare their bodies for the volume-heavy work in Kettlebell Sport, from a mobility and/or stability standpoint.

This is the second in a series of posts where Doctor of Physical Therapy (and Team KOR kettlebell lifter!) Jordan Levine will share his favorite pre-habilitation exercises to build shoulder stability and avoid injury with overhead lifting. Whether you’re a coach or an athlete that uses kettlebells, these are great exercises you can implement to prevent overuse injuries before they happen.


Isometric Shoulder External Rotation with Mini Band

  • Place mini band loop around both wrists.
  • Flex elbows to 90 degrees and place against rib cage. Gently set scapulas down and back, then rotate hands away from one another to externally rotate both shoulders.
  • Keep equal tension on band while slowly elevating arms. Flex at shoulder until elbows are at shoulder height.
  • Keep tension on band while lowering elbows back to starting position.
  • Repeat for high reps (20 or more) at slow pace with light resistance.
  • This is a great rotator cuff exercise for building endurance and strength at end range external rotation, both of which are beneficial for repeated overhead lifting.
  • The mini band used in the above video can be found here, or you can hold resistance tubing in hands to replace the mini band.

Dr. Jordan Levine PT, DPT is a physical therapist at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center located in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area of San Diego. He specializes in orthopedics with a strong emphasis on manual therapy.

Click here to check out part 1 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.

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Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes: Part 1

Pre-habilitation Exercises for Overhead Athletes

As a kettlebell coach whose number one goal is to keep her athletes healthy, I’m always looking to learn from other health and fitness experts that have ideas on the subject of injury prevention. Unfortunately, overuse injuries run rampant when people don’t properly prepare their bodies for the volume-heavy work in Kettlebell Sport, from a mobility and/or stability standpoint.

This is the first in a series of posts where Doctor of Physical Therapy (and Team KOR kettlebell lifter!) Jordan Levine will share his favorite pre-habilitation exercises to build shoulder stability and avoid injury with overhead lifting. Whether you’re a coach or an athlete that uses kettlebells, these are great exercises you can implement to prevent overuse injuries before they happen.


Y – T – W – L Scapular Retractions

  • Begin in one of two positions: 1) Lying prone on Swiss ball, or 2) Stand bent forward hinged at hips with neutral spine.
  • Keep abdominal muscles engaged and squeeze scapula down and together while simultaneously bringing arms up to spell Y, T, W, and L.
  • Perform with light or no weight and high reps, with a slow tempo to build stability. 2 sets of 10 reps of Y, T, W, and L is a good place is start.
  • Point thumbs toward the ceiling and do not allow scapula to elevate toward ears throughout the movement.
  • This exercise is intended to increase scapular stability and scapulohumeral rhythm by strengthening the middle and lower trapezius muscles. These muscles often get overpowered by dominant upper trapezius or rhomboids. To help bias the lower/middle trap muscles make sure to externally rotate the humerus by pointing the thumbs towards the ceiling and do not allow scapulas to elevate towards ears.

Dr. Jordan Levine PT, DPT is a physical therapist at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center located in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area of San Diego. He specializes in orthopedics with a strong emphasis on manual therapy.

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Hand Care for Kettlebell Lifters

As we all know, kettlebell lifting can wreak havoc on your hands. I, for one, often feel self-conscious giving people a high five because of the blood blisters, callouses, or giant patches of dry skin on my hands. In some gym cultures, ripping your hand is a glorified battle wound that shows you gave your all in a workout. In the kettlebell world, ripping your hand totally sucks because it means your technique was off and/or you might not be able to train tomorrow.

Even if you don’t particularly care what your hands look like, there are several factors to keep in mind if you want to lift consistently without tearing up your hands.

How Do You Prevent a Hand Tear?

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Training tips and ideas to mitigate imbalance

Welcome to the club…

When a kettlebell lifter laments to me about the huge imbalance between their left and right sides, my typical response is to chuckle and say, “Welcome to the club!”. That’s not to undermine their frustration, but to make them realize that being uneven is normal and not the end of the world.

Of course being uneven is not something to write off as unimportant, because an imbalance in repetitions can lead to an imbalance in the body, which is the recipe for an injury. Addressing the imbalance is crucial, but it’s also completely okay if your left and right side are not EXACTLY the same. From a competitive standpoint, improving your weaker side is a no brainer as it will lead to more repetitions and thus a higher score!

(But I still think it’s funny how everyone seems to think they are MORE uneven than everyone else.) Continue reading

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2-Move Monday Workout

As a personal trainer and kettlebell coach, something I do almost daily is program workout routines. Some days I’m more motivated to come up with something new than others, so I have a few go-to rep / time schemes when I’m not feeling particularly creative.

Here are a few examples:

  • 10 reps per side x 3 sets.
  • 1 min on, 1 min off x 4-10 sets.
  • 50-40-30-20-10 reps 1x through using varying exercises.
  • 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min with 3 min rest between sets.
  • 5-4-3-2-1 reps per side without setting the kettlebell down until you get to 1.
  • 20 sec work, 10 sec rest x 4-8 sets.
  • 10 to 1 rep scheme, as featured in this week’s workout:


Need more help with your Snatch technique? Check out my tutorial video. 

 

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Build stability and flexibility with isometric drills

Kettlebell Sport is first and foremost an endurance sport, not a strength sport. Beginners often confuse the two and move up in weight too quickly, without realizing that it takes months for your joints, tendons, and ligaments to adapt to being under load for such a long period of time (compared to the few seconds spent under load in any other weightlifting sport). Unfortunately, this often leads to an overuse injury.

Beginners can avoid overuse injuries and prep their joints and tissues more effectively by incorporating isometric drills into their training, i.e. overhead hold, rack hold, farmer walk. These drills will build stability and strength, as well as teach the lifter how to relax in the rest positions. 
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