Category Archives: Kettlebell Sport

The Muscle Building Cardio Workout

One of the things that made me fall in love with Kettlebell Sport training was the fact that it was the most difficult type of workout I had ever done. If you know me, you know I like a challenge, and this challenged me like nothing else. Not just technically, but physically and mentally as well.

As a runner who thought she had pretty good cardio to begin with, I was shocked by how much training to last 10 minutes under a kettlebell improved my cardiovascular fitness. As someone who already trained with weights, I was pleasantly surprised to find how much my strength increased from lifting kettlebells for endurance. Continue reading

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“Doesn’t that hurt your back?”

“Doesn’t that hurt your back?”

This is the most frequently asked question when it comes to Kettlebell Sport lifting, which requires the athlete to complete as many repetitions as possible in a 10 minute set.

The technique used in Kettlebell Sport is different from the technique most people learn through a hardstyle kettlebell certification (StrongFirst, RKC, etc). However, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Continue reading

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4 to 1 Conditioning Fun Workout

My absolute favorite conditioning exercise with kettlebells is the Clean & Jerk (also known as Long Cycle). If I had to choose just ONE kettlebell movement to do to get in shape, this would be it. There’s something about the combination of a hinge movement plus bringing the bells overhead that just gets your heart rate going like crazy!

Don’t believe me? Try the workout below and let me know how you feel afterwards.

(And if you don’t know how to do a kettlebell Jerk – no problem. Just do a push press and you will get the same result.)

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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?

Continue reading

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