Why Training with Kettlebells is Like Riding a Motorcycle
Training with kettlebells is like riding a motorocyle. Many of the rules when it comes to safety and effectiveness are exactly the same.
I just recently got my full license to drive a motorcycle. Being a StrongFirst Kettlebell instructor I found a huge correlation between Hardstyle kettlebell training and riding a motorcycle.
In my province they make it mandatory for drivers to take lessons before jumping on the road. The instructors put a large emphasis on three things:
Kettlebells, very much like bikes, should be treated the same way.
Hardstyle kettlebell training is extremely effective for fat loss, strength, endurance, and more. But done improperly, can become hazardous and dangerous to the user and people around. Someone once said that with great power comes great responsibility. With this in mind, we must be as vigilant as a motorcyclist on the road.
Sharpen Your Skill for Greater Strength
We at StrongFirst hold our training standards to the highest degree. We want to get better every time we train. That’s why we don’t really “workout”, but practice our skills. As we know, strength is a skill. What are the benefits of “practicing” rather than “working out”?
Here’s a short list:
- Heightened awareness
- Accelerated results
- Safer conditions
- More productive repetitions
- Quality over quantity
- More practice, more strength
I must make a point here that when we mean “skill”, not only is this the act of lifting (one’s bodyweight, a barbell, or a kettlebell), but lifting it in a very precise way and using what we call “tension techniques” and “power breathing”. Please refer to Pavel’s book: Power to the People and the Naked Warrior.
Learning a new movement is a process that takes time. Don’t rush and aim for perfection each and every rep. The body will remember what you do, so make sure you stop before your skill deteriorates. Start strong and end on a high note. When you go back next time, you will be even better.
Lesson for Life
At my first kettlebell instructor certification in 2012, a man severely injured his hand while attempting a Turkish Get-Up and losing control of the bell. His spotter wasn’t doing his/her job properly, and he paid the price. He couldn’t finish the cert, and was terribly embarrassed as medics took him out.
Do not let this happen to you! Always make sure you are safe! Learn how to spot someone properly and are being spotted be someone you trust 100%. Leave no room for mistakes.
Kettlebell Safety 101
- Get a medical clearance from a orthopedist or cardiologist
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Train barefoot or wear shoes with a flat thin sole and room for the toes to spread.
- Never contest for space with a kettlebell
- Practice all safety measures at all times.
- Focus on quality, not quantity.
- Keep moving once your heart rate is high.
- Don’t put your back into flexion during or after training.
- Build up the training load gradually.
- Instructions cannot cover all contingencies and there is no substitution for good judgment.
Learn, follow, and respect these rules and you will benefit tremendously and be safe. Once you become a Master, then you can worry about changing them.
When using kettlebells:
- Learn and practice the skill
- Safety first
- Respect and follow the rules
Don’t know where to start? Do yourself a huge favor and invest in hiring a certified SFG instructor near you that can teach you all you need to know. If not, you can also sign up for our 1-Day Kettlebell user course.
From Point A to Point B
As you master your kettlebell skills, you will get better, more confident, and stronger. Keep setting new goals and reaching new destinations in your training. It is not always the end goal that is important, but the journey as well. Treat your kettlebell as a powerful tool. Respect it and all will be well. Always play it safe and remember to enjoy the ride!
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