Core Training with 2 Kettlebells

Published by Jason Narog on

Kettlebell training

This core training routine with 2 kettlebells I’m going to mark in the “advanced” category of kettlebell training. When learning kettlebells I typically start people off with goblet & cheater clean variations to get 1 kettlebell up to chest level. Here, we’re going to be cleaning 2 kettlebells up to the chest at the same time then utilize principles from StrongFirst regarding tension to keep the body safe / get the most bang for the buck.

The Kettlebell Clean

The clean is a hip hinge kettlebell swing with a different arch (sp?). Instead of the bell going in front of you, you want the bell to essentially travel from behind the hips to up to the chest. The movement was described to me as “holster the gun, slip on the glove.” Although now that I’m thinking about it, it’s more of an un-holster the gun, then slip on the glove. In other words, keep the hands close to the body almost like a T-Rex.

I’ll use one of my direct competitors in online kettlebell training for a demonstration –

The Kettlebell Strict Press

One of the six movements taught during the StrongFirst SFG1 is the kettlebell single arm strict press. Strict meaning no bending at the knees like you would for a “push press.” With the single arm strict press (at least previously), “a slight side bend is allowed.” That’s 1 side of your obliques (or side abs) compensating to help you push the weight up overhead. It’s your body providing “leverage.”

2 Bell Kettlebell Strict Press

When you press both bells up overhead simultaneously guess what you can’t do? Side bend. At all. If you side bend you’ve now tossed yourself off balance and can no longer press 1 of the bells. So… start lighter than you typically would for starters.

Holding 2 bells in the racked position at the same time will also change the stress and load on the body compared to a single bell rack. A single bell rack creates “anti rotation” as you prevent your body from trying to bend to either side due to the uneven weight load. The double rack puts an even load on both sides, which helps transition the exercise from more of a side ab to total ab workout (as now both sides are attempting to stabilize you while the “main abs” are also firing to keep you standing upright.)

[If you want me to use the science / doctor terms for muscles I can, just shoot me an email]

You’ll want to be rooted into the ground for this, feet, quads, glutes, core, and lats all fired up. Inhale when the bells are coming down from the top, strong exhale to press the bells up overhead.