I remember learning to ride a bike. For weeks and months beforehand I sat in a chair in my room, moving my legs up and down, up and down, in a gentle ellipse, my hair dancing in the breeze of the fan in front of me (for enhanced real world simulation). And only after months and months of this endeavor, did I attempt to ride a bike. And it was perfect, I never made a mistake riding a bike for the rest of my life.
But not really…
I learned to ride a bike, like most everything else I’ve learned in life, from my father. He sat me on a shiny blue beauty, training wheels equipped, and sent me on my way. Once I was comfortable navigating the world on four wheels, the training wheels came off. After a scraped knee or two, I was actually riding a bike, no need for a real world simulation.
Cliché aside, Kettlebell training is no different from riding a bike. Kettlebell practice has its own version of training wheels (scaled exercises, movement progressions); no one should attempt to two-arm swing “the Beast” (48kg) on their first introduction to a bell.
The best way to become more proficient at a skill is to practice that skill. Running on a treadmill will not prepare you for Kettlebell training (and may actually make it worse), doing squats will not get you ready for swings (even if the muscle groups overlap), and sampling the plethora of weight machines at the gym won’t give you good form .
If I had to do a two-arm swing for every person that told me they are “trying to get in shape before starting Kettlebell training” you’d find me in a pool of my own sweat and disapproval, lacking the will and stamina to shake some sense into them.
My favorite clients are the ones who have never touched a weight their entire lives. They listen well, focus on form over reps, pick up the skills fast and are able to move on to the advanced strength, endurance, and mobility training the Kettlebell has to offer.
Therefore, the best way to get sustainable, functional strength/endurance/mobility is the Kettlebell. The best way to get better at the Kettlebell is to practice the Kettlebell. So find a good instructor, a light bell and find your strength today.