Category Archives: Technique

How to Avoid Hitting Your Forearm With the Kettlebell

We’ve all been there: banged up our wrists so bad that we couldn’t lift the next day without pain.

One of the most common issues for people new to training with kettlebells – outside of hand tears – is being able to clean and snatch the kettlebell without slamming the bell onto their forearm. I remember being super proud of my forearm bruises when I first started lifting kettlebells; they were a battle scar, of sorts. That being said, continually bruising your forearms is not a great idea (for obvious reasons).

So enter my latest video, where I’ll teach you exactly how to avoid hitting your forearm with the kettlebell! Whether you are in your first few months of kettlebell training and want to apply to this to your own lifting, or whether you have been lifting for years and want to improve your technique and get some new coaching cues, this video is for you.

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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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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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Kettlebell Snatch Drop: 4 Most Common Mistakes

4 Common Mistakes on the Kettlebell Snatch Drop

  • Not enough deflection
  • Hinging hips too early
  • Regripping too late
  • Gripping too tight or too loose

This video addresses these mistakes and how to fix them:


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Kettlebell Snatch Drop: Breathing

Besides being essential to staying alive, breathing plays an incredibly important role in movement. With relation to the kettlebell snatch, utilizing the proper anatomical breathing pattern will help you keep the right posture, relax, and prevent grip fatigue.


If you missed the first and second videos in this series on the kettlebell snatch drop, click here and here.

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Kettlebell Snatch Drop: Thumb Forward v. Thumb Backward

This video addresses how to manage rotation of the forearm on the snatch drop, and whether the thumb should point forward or backward. Comment below with your preference! 


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How to Master the Kettlebell Snatch

Reaching My Kettlebell Snatch Potential

Since working with my coach Denis Vasilev when he came in San Diego in October, I’ve changed up my Snatch technique. While I have been snatching kettlebells since 2011, I’ve always hit a road block when it comes to the 20kg bell and above. I’ve competed with 20kg and 24kg, and have never hit a number even close to what I believe my true potential is. While I have made many changes to my technique over the past five years, I think I’ve FINALLY made the changes that will allow me to reach my potential over the next couple years.
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Snatch Technique Variations featuring Aaron Vyvial

If you’ve ever attended a Kettlebell Sport competition, you will notice that everyone’s technique varies – almost as if they are using a totally different technique to do the same lift. While there are stylistic differences in how each person lifts, in general the basic biomechanics of the lift always remain the same. 

The kettlebell snatch is the most technically challenging of the GS lifts, as well as the lift that varies the most between athletes. In the following video, Ketacademy Master Coach and Texas Kettlebell Academy owner Aaron Vyvial describes two variations in kettlebell snatch technique that are aesthetically different, but maintain the same biomechanical principles.


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