First, we broke down the granddaddy kettlebell exercise: the swing. But that was just the beginning. These four killer kettlebell moves that anyone can do — the goblet squat, the clean, the press, and the Turkish get-up — will take your kettlebell game to the next level.
The Goblet Squat
Goblet squats are a solid alternative for anyone who can’t barbell squat. They’re also great for learning to nail a good squat pattern before progressing to heavier squat variations, such as barbell front squats and back squats. Bonus: Holding the weight in front of your body gives the core a good working over.
You can use goblet squats as your primary squat during strength training workouts or as an assistance movement. Since it’s tough to load them heavily, stick with three to five sets of five to 10 reps as the main strength movement, and three to five sets of eight to 20 reps as an assistance movement.
Like barbell cleans, kettlebell cleans are done to transition the bell into the rack position to press it overhead. But they also work well to build hip explosiveness and core, arm, and shoulder strength. They’ll also give you some appreciable bulk. Nailing the single-arm swing, as seen in the video, is a prereq for learning the clean.
Cleans fit well into power-training sections of your workout and as part of conditioning circuits, once you have the skill to do them cleanly for a lot of reps. Cleans are done on a wide spectrum of set and rep ranges. If you’re using them to develop power and work on skill, do three to five sets of three to five reps per side. For conditioning, the EMOM workout from the “Master the Swing” article works well.
Upper-body strength and mass. Core strength. Synchronization of the lower body and the upper body. These are the killer benefits of doing the standing overhead kettlebell press. The press sturdies your chassis while building your engine and layering on the aesthetics.
It’s great as a main and assistance strength movement. When programming it as your main movement, keep the reps between two and six while completing three to 10 sets. With fewer reps, do more sets. With more reps, do fewer sets.
The Turkish Get-Up
Get-ups were initially developed as a way to avoid getting choked unconscious or stabbed or beaten about the face and neck. Their purpose was to practice getting off of your back and into a solid defensive position. In the course of all that practice to not die, folks realized something. It’s also a great, total-body exercise that builds strength, mobility, and athleticism. It is, however, a bit of a complicated bastard. So practice it in the stages described in the video.
The good news is that the get-up is as versatile as it is complicated. You can use just the first stage — known as the quarter get-up — to improve upper-body mobility and shoulder stability. Or you can use the middle phases to train core strength and coordination. Put the whole thing together, and you can train both the elements discussed above as well as massive amounts of strength and conditioning.
One important principle when programming get-ups: The number of reps per set decreases in direct proportion to how many stages of the movement that you’re doing. For example, you could safely do quarter get-ups for sets of 10. But if you’re doing the full movement, stick to sets of one or two per side, with rest interspersed. Again, the application is broad. You can use them in warmups, as a mobility filler between strength exercises, or as part of a conditioning session, once you’re dialed in.