Fitness isn’t just about what exercises you do; it’s about the manner in which you perform them. Form, technique, and body awareness are as critical as the exercise itself, especially when we’re talking about kettlebell training.
Kettlebells have a distinct and versatile training allure that can deliver impressive results but also require disciplined technique.
This is why it’s important to understand common kettlebell coaching cues. They’re short, poignant instructions that remind you how to perform each move correctly and effectively to maximise results and prevent injuries.
In this post, I’ve assembled a comprehensive list of 100 kettlebell coaching cues you may encounter on your kettlebell journey.
Whether you’re a trainer in search of cues to assist your clients or a fitness enthusiast looking for a deeper understanding of kettlebell training, this list is designed to enlighten, enhance, and ensure safety during your kettlebell workout regime.
Let’s explore these 100 unique kettlebell coaching cues and take your kettlebell mastery to new heights.
- Engage Your Core: Reminder to keep the torso and abdominal muscles activated.
- Brace Your Abs: Tense abdominal muscles as if preparing for impact.
- Lock Your Elbow: Prompt to fully extend the arm, providing power and stability.
- Hinge at the Hips: Focusing on bending from the waist and pushing hips back.
- Pack Your Shoulders: Pull shoulders back and down for shoulder joint stabilisation.
- Eye on the Bell: Keeping the kettlebell in sight at all times for exercises including the windmill and Turkish get up.
- Breathing Matches the Movement: Coordinate breath with the rhythm of your exercise.
- Plant Your Feet: A strong, grounded stance is crucial for stability.
- Flat Back: Ensuring a straight, non-rounded back for good form.
- Bell Up / Bell Down: Keeping either end of the kettlebell facing up or down.
- Hand-to-Hand Switch: Safely passing the kettlebell from one hand to the other.
- Pull The Bell Down: Actively bringing the kettlebell down after reaching the top of the swing.
- Short, Sharp Breath: Taking quick, controlled breaths during intense movements.
- Keep Wrists Neutral: Keeping wrists straight to avoid strain or injury.
- Snap the Hips: Prompting forceful hip extension for power in swings, cleans, and snatches.
- Hand Insertion: Ensuring a smooth hand-to-handle transition during snatches or cleans.
- Crush Grip: Firmly squeeze the kettlebell to activate muscles and improve control.
- Keep Joints Soft: Avoiding full lockout or excessive extension of joints.
- Float the Bell: Hovering the kettlebell at the top of a swing.
- Explode Up: Generating maximum power to lift the kettlebell.
- Squeeze the Glutes: Activation of the glutes for optimal performance.
- Soft Landing: Gently returning the kettlebell to the ground after a lift.
- High Pull Elbows: Keeping elbows high during pulls to engage back muscles.
- Straight Line from Hand to Hand: For full body alignment in exercises like the Turkish Get-Up.
- Squat Depth: The angle of the knee joint during a squat. A deeper squat challenges the body’s mobility and glute strength.
- Exhale on Effort: Breathing out during the hard part of the exercise.
- Tame the Arc: Controlling the kettlebell’s swinging arc to be close to the body.
- Stay Planted: Keeping feet firmly on the ground for stability.
- Long Spine: Keeping the back and neck extended and straight.
- Lock Out: Fully extending the legs, arms or hips, depending on the exercise.
- Quick Lock: A fast transition to locking the joints without pausing at each stage.
- Bell Path: The course the kettlebell follows through an exercise.
- Elbow Lock: Straightening the arm fully for safe and effective lifting.
- Packed Neck: Keeping the neck long and in alignment with the rest of the spine.
- Rack Position: A state where the kettlebell is held at chest height, with wrist straight, elbow tucked into the side, and weight of the kettlebell resting on the forearm.
- Fix the Feet: Keeping the feet stable on the floor for improved power.
- Tight Trunk: Engaging core muscles and maintaining a slight natural arch in the back.
- Bell to Chest Distance: Maintaining an optimum gap between the kettlebell and your chest.
- Weight on Heels: Keeping the body’s weight on the heels, not the toes.
- Catch the Bounce: Using the kettlebell’s natural bounce to transition into the next exercise.
- Firm Wrist: Preventing the wrist from bending or buckling under the kettlebell’s weight.
- Even Shoulders: Keeping the shoulders level and not raised towards the ears.
- Thumb Tucked: The thumb wraps securely around the handle for a better grip.
- Vertical Forearm: Keeping forearm perfectly vertical during exercises like cleans or snatches.
- Breathe Behind The Shield: A specific pattern of deep abdominal breathing while maintaining core tension.
- Load the Hamstrings: Make sure the hamstrings are engaged before initiating movements like swings or deadlifts.
- Bell Chest Distance: The distance between the bell and chest when performing movements like cleans.
- Vertically Stacked: Maintaining proper alignment of the joints, typically with kettlebell overhead.
- Same Hip, Same Shoulder: Ensuring the shoulder and hip on the same side move together during exercises like the Turkish Get-Up.
- Head Neutral: Keeping the neck and head in line with the rest of the body during bends and lifts.
- Foot Stance: The position and width of the feet during different exercises, are essential for balance.
- Grip Neutral: Keeping grip neutral to avoid excessive forearm fatigue.
- Spread the Floor: A mental cue to activate the hips and glutes by imagining spreading the floor apart with your feet.
- Gaze Forward: Establishing a steady forward-facing gaze for balance.
- Maintain Tension: Keeping constant muscular tension to enhance strength and stability.
- Relaxed Grip: A grasp that is secure but not overly tight, often used when swinging the kettlebell.
- Neutral Spine: Allowing the back to maintain its natural curvature during exercises.
- Knee Alignment: Keeping knees in line with toes during squats to prevent injury.
- Pelvic Posture: Maintaining correct alignment of the pelvis throughout the exercise.
- Fast/Efficient Transition: Minimising transitional movements to conserve energy and maintain a smooth flow.
- Keep Chest Up and Out: Maintaining an open chest by drawing shoulder blades together for better posture.
- Active or Passive Drop: Actively pulling or passively letting the kettlebell fall during the backswing.
- Play Chicken with the Kettlebell: Waiting until the last possible safe moment to insert or remove your hand.
- Shoulder Extraction: Actively pulling the shoulder away from the ear using the lat muscles.
- Clean Catch: Aiming for a soft and quiet landing of the kettlebell in the finish position of the clean.
- Rib Tuck: Avoid arching the lower back by tucking the rib cage towards the hips.
- Toe Position: The angle of the feet, inward or outward, during different stances.
- Shoulder Pack: Activate and pull shoulders back and down to “pack” them into a stable position.
- Quiet Elbows: Keeping elbows still and close to the body during movements like cleans.
- Forearm Rotation: Rotating the forearm to transition the kettlebell during different exercises.
- Even Grip: Ensuring both hands, in double-kettlebell exercises, have an equal grip on the handles.
- Hip Snap/Pop: Quick and powerful extension of the hips to generate momentum in ballistic exercises.
- Don’t Rush: Encouragement to perform each rep of the exercise with control, not speed.
- Stable Plank Position: Engaging the body to mimic a solid, firm plank, especially at the top of the swing.
- Grip Transition: Changing the type and position of grip during transitions or different phases of an exercise.
- Relaxed Arm: An arm that is not overly tense or actively flexed during exercises like swings.
- Hip Drive: Generating power through purposeful extension or flexion of the hips.
- No Shrugging: Avoid lifting the shoulders towards the ears to prevent strain.
- Neutral Neck: Keeping the head and neck in alignment with the spine.
- Heel Push: Pushing into the ground with the heels during exercises to fully engage leg and hip muscles.
- Lat Engagement: Actively using the back muscles by imagining ‘putting your lats in your back pockets’.
- Drop and Pop: Refers to the drop of the kettlebell in the down phase and the pop during the upward phase of the kettlebell swings.
- Extend the Arms: Cue to fully lengthen the arms during exercises like swings or snatches.
- Feet Rooted: Imagining the feet are rooted to the ground for increased stability.
- Square Hips: Prompt to keep hips evenly aligned, often during single-sided exercises.
- Grip Ends: Holding the ends of the kettlebell handle versus the middle for better control.
- Spiral Path: The corkscrew trajectory of the kettlebell during exercises like the snatch.
- Exit Strategy: Always having a safe and planned way to bail out of an exercise if needed.
- Chain of Command: The idea that power generated in certain exercises transfers up the body sequentially: from legs to hips, torso, and arms.
- Low Impact: Exercises with minimal jumping or harsh movements to decrease the chance of injury.
- Absorb Impact: Reducing the force felt during landing phases of exercises by using the muscles as “shock absorbers”.
- Guided Push: Pushing the kettlebell in a specific path or direction during exercises.
- Drive Through the Heels: Using the heels as the leading force applicator during movements like squats or deadlifts.
- Reset: Returning to the start position and realigning form during or between repetitions.
- Roll to Elbow: The controlled transition from a flat back to one’s elbow during the Turkish get up.
- Bell Clearance: The vertical distance between the kettlebell and the ground during swings or snatches.
- Flow: The smooth transition between different exercises creating a chain of movements.
- Return to Plank: Prompt to return to a firm plank position in exercises with a hip hinge.
- Rack Hold: Holding the kettlebell at shoulder level with elbows tucked in, used as a transitional position.
- Firm Foundation: Keeping the body engaged and stable during kettlebell lifts and swings.
Wrapping Up Your Kettlebell Coaching Cues Journey
And there we have it – the complete compendium of 100 kettlebell coaching cues crafted to assist your kettlebell workouts!
Everything from form to posture, from breath control to grip, we’ve touched upon all facets of mastering kettlebell techniques.
Armed with this guide, both coaches and trainees alike can step onto the training floor with added confidence and precision. Remember, the key to successful kettlebell training lies in the perfect blend of form, controlled movements and mindful execution.
Whether you’ve learnt a new cue, refined your understanding, or found a different way of thinking about your kettlebell workouts, I hope this guide comes in handy. Keep these kettlebell coaching cues close to your workout routine and let them lead you in your pursuit of fitness.
Here’s to many safe and efficient kettlebell training sessions ahead! Happy lifting!