Shir Konas

(Story by Shir Konas, Demonstration by David Bluman)

Part II: Preparation

SK: In the last issue, we introduced the Kettlebell, it’s history and benefits. Now, I’d like to present some basic facts that will help you better understand how to handle the Kettlebell.

For starters, let’s look at the structure of this weight and it’s simple-yet-brilliant engineering:


Since kettlebells have a different center of gravity and are made of iron, one should always handle them with respect and caution. Before you learn how to perform any of the basic exercised, you should make sure your area is safe and clear of obstacles. You should have at least your height squared in space around you, and that others around you don’t walk into that space while you’re training, as they (and you!) can easily get injured if careless. You should wear comfortable but not baggy cloths, and flat-soled and stable shoes. It is not recommended to wear lifting gloves or anything that separates your hands from the kettlebell – you will develop calluses, and please don’t pick at them – instead, file them if necessary. Lastly, KBs can be used almost anywhere, but it is recommended to work on a slightly softer surface if possible.

When necessary, use spotters, and make sure they are alert to your needs and understand how to work with KBs.

Other Ways to Hold the KB:


Images courtesy of Kettlebell Concepts.

Missing a Lift
The use of a softer surface is recommended because you may need to drop the weight. If you’re working on a surface that may cause for the KB to bounce back, please lower the KB in a quick yet controlled manner.

If you are too fatigued to keep the KB overhead or hold it during a swing, you will have to “miss”:

> KB Overhead – Missing to the front. If the center of gravity is already forward of the body’s midline, then the lift should be missed to the front by quickly guiding the fall of the KB back to the rack position, using the free hand to help catch and control the KB, or guiding the fall of the KB in a controlled manner to the ground/if necessary dropping the KB in front of the body while simultaneously moving the body backwards.

> KB Overhead – Missing to the back. If the center of gravity of the KB is already behind the body’s midline, then the lift should be missed to the back by lowering, or if necessary dropping the KB in back of the body while simultaneously moving the body forward.

Hand fatigue: If the lifter’s hand is fatiguing and cannot hold onto the KB, you should be able to feel this coming. Once you start feeling this is about to happen, you should end your set. If, however, the KB slips, it is important that there was enough concern given to space before you started! Do not use lotion or anything else that may decrease hand-KN friction just prior to a session. You may use chalk to keep hands dry and add friction.

Warming Up
In order to awaken your nervous system, as in any other type of exercise or training, it is necessary to warm up. A very useful method to warm up is active isolated flexibility: bringing the body segment to it’s stretch barrier (the end point of comfortable range of motion – see Sean’s stretching series in our first few issues of Better Human), then mechanically moving that segment slightly further into the range of motion, for no more than 2 seconds. This should be followed by some dynamic exercises when warming up, and by static stretches held for longer periods when cooling down.

Here are links to videos that show you how to miss and give you some warmup ideas as well, courtesy of David Bluman and Kettlebell Concepts:

Intro to Missing the KB

Missing the KB 1

Missing the KB 2

Missing the KB 3

Intro to Warm Up

Warmup 1

Warmup 2


1. Cronin, Khai, Ganulin (2007), Kettlebells Level 1 Instructor Training Manual

2. To read more about David Bluman, visit
3. For more information and workshop schedule, please visit

All images courtesy of Kettlebell Concepts. For more information and workshop schedule, please visit Kettlebell Concepts.

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