November 01, 2006
The purpose of this series of articles is to share specific kettlebell training tips and progressions to assist the CrossFit community in maximizing the full potential of their kettlebells. The kettlebell is an extremely versatile "old school" strength and conditioning implement. Used properly, it can build functional strength, stamina, flexibility, and amazingly rehabilitate old injuries. Used incorrectly, it can aggravate old injuries or quickly create new ones. The difference is in the details.
Remember, attention to detail and mastery of the fundamentals is what separates world-class performers from the rest of the pack. It is also the key to minimizing risk of injury. The goal is to train, not maim (ourselves or anyone else).
Veteran CrossFitters are very familiar with the two-arm swing. The swing is the foundation of kettlebell exercises. You will reap big dividends if you invest a lot of time in this drill. Uncorrected technical errors in the swing will only be magnified as you progress to the more sophisticated kettlebell lifts such as the clean, jerk, snatch, hand-to-hand (H2H) drills, etc. World War II veteran Sergeant Steve Prazenka said it best: "Learn it right, and you will do it right the rest of your life. Learn it wrong, and you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to get it right… and in battle, you meatheads that get it wrong—the rest of your life will be very short." Listed in the "Rules of Engagement" (following page) are proven teaching progressions that will help you to learn it right the first time and address common errors before they become habit.