There are lots of weird and wonderful kettlebell terms that are used for kettlebell training.
I thought it would be helpful to list and explain all these kettlebell terms so you can better understand what they mean.
Kettlebell Terms Related to Exercises
There are lots of kettlebell exercises, many you will be familiar with from other types of exercise, but some are unique just to kettlebell training.
It is these unique kettlebell exercise terms that I am listing below:
1. Dead Clean
The dead clean is a kettlebell exercise that takes the kettlebell from the floor and up into the racked position on the chest. The dead clean starts from a dead or stopped position hence its name.
2. Swing Clean
The kettlebell swing clean is similar to the dead clean except a slight swing is used in between the legs generating momentum to take the kettlebell up and into the racked position on the chest.
The classic full body kettlebell exercise that involves swinging the kettlebell in between the legs and up to chest height in one fluid movement. The swing can be performed with one hand or two.
4. Turkish Get Up
Another classic full body kettlebell exercise that involves taking the kettlebell from a lying down position with the kettlebell overhead to a standing position and then returning to the lying down position again.
Related: Ultimate Guide to the Turkish Get Up
A mobility and stability based kettlebell exercise for the shoulders and hips. The exercise starts with the kettlebell overhead with a locked straight arm, you then reach down with the opposite hand and touch the toes before returning to the upright position again.
6. Goblet Squat
The goblet squat is a kettlebell term where the kettlebell is held upside down with both hands while you perform a deep squat ensuing that the thighs reach parallel with the floor.
Related: 7 Kettlebell Squats You Need to Know
7. Slingshot or Around the World
The kettlebell slingshot is the perfect warm up exercise and great for beginners. The kettlebell is passed around the body at waist height with the arms kept straight.
Related: Why I Love the Kettlebell Slingshot
For mobilising the shoulders the halo is an excellent kettlebell exercise. The kettlebell is passed around the head in a circle following the neck line.
9. Good Morning
With the kettlebell held in between the shoulder blades you bow forwards keeping the back flat. Excellent warm up exercise for mobilising the hips.
Our strongest movement pattern that takes the kettlebell from the floor to around knee height while keeping the arm and back straight. All the power from the deadlift comes from the legs, hip and buttocks.
Related: 11 Kettlebell Deadlift Workouts
11. Tall Kneeling
An exercise position that involves kneeling on the floor with both knees and the body upright. Exercises are performed from the tall kneeling position, most commonly the overhead press.
12. Half Kneeling
Similar to the tall kneeling position except this time you only kneel down with one knee creating a right angled position similar to the bottom of a lunge. Again presses and rotations are common from the half kneeling position.
13. Push Press
When pressing a kettlebell overhead you can use your legs slightly in order to help pop the kettlebell up and create a little extra momentum.
14. Jerk Press
The jerk press is a two part movement again that helps lift the kettlebell overhead. You start with a little push press to assist with the momentum of the upward motion and then drop down underneath the kettlebell and finish with a straight arm.
The same as a squat and press the kettlebell thruster combines the kettlebell squat with the overhead press. Momentum is used from the squat to help drive the kettlebell overhead. Great for cardio!
With the kettlebell in between the legs the kettlebell is driven up and overhead as if trying to hit something being your head with the back of your hand. The kettlebell is then flipped over and swung back down in between the legs and the exercise repeated.
17. Sotts Press
From the bottom position of the racked squat the kettlebell is pressed overhead then returned to the racked position before standing back up.
18. Pistol Squat
A single or one leg squat is performed while holding a kettlebell with two hands. Throughout the exercise the one leg does not touch the floor. Excellent leg strength is needed.
Discover more: Master the kettlebell pistol squat with 5 progressions
19. Deck Squat
Squatting down to the floor and then taking the kettlebell overhead before driving the kettlebell back over your head and standing back up again. Good hip mobility is required.
Kettlebell Terms Related to Exercise Technique
Kettlebell movements can also be very different from other forms of weight training so here are some you may not be familiar with:
20. Rack or Racked Position
The kettlebell rack or racked position is a kettlebell term that involves the kettlebell sitting comfortably on the chest with the hand holding the handle and the wrist nice and straight. You can hold one or two kettlebells in the racked position.
21. Long Cycle
Another kettlebell term for the kettlebell clean and jerk. The long cycle can be performed with one kettlebell or two but is used with two in kettlebell sport events.
Kettlebell exercises that are less dynamic and involve a feeling of ‘grinding out the reps’ for strength building purposes. The kettlebell overhead press is an example of a grind based exercise.
When the kettlebell is sat in the racked position against the chest this is classed as being in the hole. From the hole you have less of a mechanical advantage due to your arm position when pressing overhead. The push press or jerk is often used to overcome the problems of the hole.
24. Bottoms Up
When the kettlebell is turned upside down so the handle is pointing downwards then this is referred to as bottoms up. The kettlebell offers a very challenging balancing act when bottoms up.
25. Concentric Loading
When you flex a muscle or shorten it under load this is referred to as concentric loading. Rowing a kettlebell to the chest would be an example of a concentric movement.
26. Eccentric Loading
When your muscles lengthen under load this is called eccentric loading. You are always stronger eccentrically than concentrically. Eccentric training is useful for building strength for more difficult concentric exercises. Be careful, eccentric loading leads to muscles soreness.
The body conserves energy when you perform an exercise by only using the muscles and force it needs to perform that movement. If you squeeze and get tight throughout your body you can ‘up regulate’ your muscle activation and become even stronger through irradiation.
Kettlebell Terms Related to Kettlebells
These kettlebell terms refer specially to the kettlebell itself:
28. Kettlebell Pood
I often get asked: “What does a Pood mean”? A Pood is a Russian weight measurement that refers to just over 16kg. Kettlebells were traditionally measured and manufactured in Poods. 1 pood = 16kg (35lbs), 1.5 poods = 24kg (53lbs) and 2 poods = 32kg (70lbs), these are the classic kettlebell sizes.
The kettlebell handle is of often referred to as the horns of the kettlebell. You may hear the kettlebell term “hold the kettlebell by the horns”
30. Competition Kettlebell
Kettlebells come in all shapes and sizes but competitions kettlebells are a uniform size regardless of the weight. Used during kettlebell sport events competition kettlebells enable you to increase the weight without the feel and balance changing.
Kettlebell Terms Related to Workouts
The exercise community uses lots of different terms in order to describe different types of workouts.
Short for repetitions this exercise term refers to the amount of 1 complete exercise movement you perform. For example: 20 reps of kettlebell swings.
A general fitness training term, sets refer to a group of repetitions. For example: 3 sets of 20 reps of kettlebell swings.
33. Time Under Tension
When training to increase muscle then the time that the weight is actively held under tension is important. 45 seconds is a good goals to aim for.
Dividing your workout into work and rest intervals. For example: kettlebell swing 30 seconds, rest 15 seconds, repeat 5 times. Intervals tend to be very cardiovascular.
Developed by the Japanese speed skating coach. Tabata training traditionally uses intervals in a ratio of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times.
Pyramid training involves adding or subtracting: exercises, repetitions, rest periods or changing the weight after every round or set. Using Pyramid workouts is an effective way to get more out of your workouts and to add in a little fun along the way.
A variation of pyramid training. When you increase the number of repetitions of an exercise each set this is called a repetition ladder. For example a strength ladder may use the overhead press for 1 rep, then 2, then 3, 4 and 5.
Another type of pyramid training, similar to ladders except the amount of repetitions is reduced each set. The repetitions reduce each round as your muscles fatigue. Usually more motivational than ladders.
Mixing more than one kettlebell exercise together in order to create a sequence of kettlebell moves. For example: Clean, Squat and Overhead Press. Complexes can be performed as single reps or as multiple reps of each exercise within a complex.
40. Kettlebell Sport
A competitive kettlebell training event based around 3 kettlebell exercises: Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Jerk. Competitors are divided by their weight and perform as many repetitions as possible in 10 minutes.
Are there any kettlebell terms missing? Let me know in the comments below: