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Extended Kettlebell Drills: How to Mix Kettlebell Basics into Powerful Hybrid Exercises

December 29, 2005 08:05 PM

At the RKC certification in June 2003 I had the opportunity to spend some time with some of the best brains in the kettlebell world. One conversation the really got me thinking was with Comrade Johnny "Pull-ups" Alstadt on the subject of Extended Kettlebell Drills.

Extended Kettlebell Drills are two or more basic exercises done as one continuous rep. It is similar to boxing combinations in concept. A fighter might put together a combination of strikes and repeat the same sequence over and over on the heavy bag or focus mitts. Some examples of this are the "Old one-two" combo of lead jab and rear cross or "one-two-three" of lead jab, rear cross and lead hook.

Using kettlebells like this is a great way to get a lot of work done in a short period of time. It works your strength-endurance and coordination while giving you a tremendous cardio blast. It is not for the faint of heart.

A few basic single kettlebell combinations that I have played with are:

1. 1 arm swing followed by
2. 1 arm snatch followed by
3. 1 arm clean & jerk, then repeat the whole sequence. This is one rep.

1. 1 arm snatch, lower the kettlebell to the rack position
2. 1 arm jerk, lower the kettlebell to the bottom position
3. 1 arm clean&jerk, repeat the sequence. This is one rep.

If you feel ambitious, put a swing in between reps & use it to change hands.

You can make things even more interesting by adding squats and bending drills or by using 2 kettlebells (insert evil laughter here). Out of necessity and to be safe, you will have to keep the weight and reps lower. Here are some examples of 1 arm drills:

1. 1 arm snatch, followed by
2. Overhead squat, lower the kettlebell to the rack position
3. 1 arm jerk and repeat.

1. 1 arm clean & jerk followed by
2. Windmill, lower the kettlebell to the rack position and
3. Front squat to finish the rep.

1. Turkish get up, lower the kettlebell to the rack position
2. Jerk, lower the kettlebell to the bottom position and
3. Finish with the snatch
4. Put the kettlebell down and do a rep on the other side.

Here are some 2 kettlebell extended drills:

1. Clean & jerk
2. Overhead squat, lower the kettlebells to the rack position and
3. Jerk again, lower the kettlebells to the bottom and repeat

1. Clean & jerk, lower the kettlebells to the rack position
2. Front squat while pressing the kettlebells up.
3. You should reach the full extension of the arms and legs at the same time.

1. TGU to standing
2. Windmill while keeping the kettlebell overhead and lift a second kettlebell in the 2 hands anyhow fashion
3. Lower the kettlebells to the rack position and jerk.

With knowledge of just a few basic KB drills, the possibilities are practically limitless. It is important to put extended drills together so that one basic drill flows smoothly into the next, just as in the jab, hook, cross example given earlier. Use your imagination. Practice kettlebell basic safety and, as Pavel says. "ENJOY!!"

David Whitley, RKC, LMT is located in Nashville,Tennessee. He is currently
available for workshops, private and small group lessons in kettlebell work
and Close Quarter Combatives, as well as therapeutic massage & Thai
bodywork. His e-mail is