How to Start Training Kettlebell Sport from Home

Everything you need to get started in Kettlebell Sport at home.

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There is no time like the present to get started on your Kettlebell Sport journey, when most gyms are temporarily closed, and many of us are being asked to shelter in place. As a power endurance sport, Kettlebell Sport can improve both your GPP and your mental toughness, helping you stay strong and sane during these uncertain times.

Kettlebell Sport Starter Kit: At-Home Edition

Here’s what you’ll need to get started out in training kettlebell sport at home.

Mirror

If you are just starting out with Kettlebell Sport, the technique is a little like spacewalking — you recognize it as something familiar like walking, or in this case a snatch, or a clean & jerk, but unless you have actually done it, you have no way of determining what it feels like.

That’s where the full-length mirror comes in. As you start to develop your technique, it is important to connect what it looks like with what it feels like to perform a repetition with perfect technique. Practicing your technique in front of a mirror—- with or without a kettlebell — is a great way to guarantee fixation, where the kettlebell is locked out overhead and motionless, making it a good rep, and even help you find your rhythm.

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How many breaths do you take? . . This question doesn't always come from my students (possibly because they're holding their breath 🙈) but breathing is key to relaxation and pacing 👌 I tend to exhale 3-6x per rep to maintain a rhythm depending on my desired reps per minute. For example, I'm taking 3 breaths here to keep me at pace 20. If I go heavier and want to slow down, I add extra breaths to relax in fixation. I don't recommend it, but I could also manage even 2 breaths per rep if I'm in a survival mode and snatching for my life…but then I'd be gassssed 😂 so kettlebell friends, how many do you take? Are you consciously breathing?? Happy lifting!! #happylifting #kettlebellsport #snatchtechnique

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Chalk

Do you really need chalk? The short answer is yes, because…science! Kettlebell Sport is all about efficiency, doing the most amount of work with the least amount of energy. An unchalked Competition Kettlebell handle is smooth and slippery and requires a tighter grip (aka more energy) to hold on to the handle.

Using a Chalk Ball or Liquid Chalk on your hands and kettlebell will increase friction, which decreases the amount of energy needed to maintain your hold. So in addition to potentially saving your hands from blisters, chalk also makes you more efficient.

Wrist Protection

Even if you don’t have ridiculously bony wrists like I do, I highly recommend you start your journey in Wrist Guards or, at a minimum, Wrist Wraps. Kettlebell Sport is a game of reps, and wrist protection is vital, both in the beginning, while you are dialing in your technique, and later on, when you start amassing a massive number of reps. Note that while the wrist guards offer more protection, they are made out of neoprene, and don’t absorb sweat.

Kettlebells

These are non-negotiable — if you are serious about training or competing in Kettlebell Sport, you will need a set of Competition Kettlebells. I’ve talked about what they look like, and their unique size and shape are what makes them vital for learning the correct technique, as they will change both your grip and rack position.

While this may seem like a big investment, remember these last forever (or at least a few centuries), they are portable, and they are one of the few single pieces of equipment capable of improving both your strength and metabolic conditioning.

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If you’ve never snatched or cleaned & jerked a kettlebell before:

Bare Minimum: A pair of 8kg Competition Kettlebells
A Good Start: A pair of 8kg and a pair of 12kg

If you’ve snatched or cleaned & jerked a kettlebell before, but have no idea how you made it happen:

Bare Minimum: A pair of 8kg Competition Kettlebells
A Good Start: A single 8kg, a pair of 12kg, and a pair of 14kg

If you are confident in your hoisting abilities.

Bare minimum: A pair of 14kg and a pair of 16kg Competition Kettlebells
A Good Start: A single 14kg, a pair of 16kg, and a pair of 20kg

If you are a seasoned strength athlete looking for something new.

Bare minimum: A pair of 16kg and a pair of 20kg Competition Kettlebells
A Good Start: A pair of 16kg, a pair of 20kg, and a pair of 24kg

Once you have you have your Kettlebell Sport Starter Kit, it is time to move on to technique. Everything starts with the swing, and as you can probably guess by now, the Kettlebell Sport Swing optimizes efficiency. Mastering the Girevoy swing is the first step in your Kettlebell Sport technique journey.

The best way to learn technique is with a coach, but if that’s not an option, there are plenty of tutorials and technique videos online. While techniques may look vastly different, make sure you are learning from a reputable source, like a Master of Sport.

Once you feel comfortable with a movement, get those reps in, and remember to check your ego. This is something new, and it’s ok to suck at it when you are just starting out. Remember, this is not about brute strength, just because you can lift a heavier bell, it doesn’t mean you should. Master the movement with your lightest weight first, and practice, practice, practice. Your movement should look effortless before you even think about moving up in weight.

The highly repetitive nature of Kettlebell Sport can lead to injury if you progress too quickly without the correct technique. It’s important to not only practice as often as possible but also work on your mobility daily. Kettlebell Sport Technique is built around efficiency, and when done correctly, it will allow you to practice it sustainably for decades to come.