Kettlebell Athletic Development

Posted by BigCommerce on 7th Jul 2021

Traditional kettlebell training does a phenomenal job of improving our overall strength and endurance which is essential. That is the base that every athletic ability is built on. Strength is a pre-requisite for our ability to express power and be explosive. Endurance allows us to produce that output for a longer period of time by increasing our efficiency as well as our recoverability between bouts.

How do we take that foundation that kettlebell training gives us and build on it to develop more athleticism? We force ourselves to relax quicker and mover quicker with different loads in joint positions that we see in sports.

The kettlebell triphasic squat trains our ability to control our trunk under three different circumstances. The first rep is done in a slow descent, the second rep is performed with a pause, and the third rep with fast descent. The demands increase with each rep. That last rep forces us to relax and reverse a fast eccentric contraction(lowering portion of the squat) which is pinnacle of what athletes do well.

When an athlete plants their leg before performing a cut, they need to get into a position then get out of it quickly. This is the most basic form of that kind of skill that can be practiced with our training. We catch ourselves with the kettlebell that overloads our bodyweight then reverse it quickly by producing force from a relaxed state.

This rearfoot elevated split squat with dynamic landings can help improve that same quality but now biasing more of a single leg stance position. This progression will not only challenge our ability to relax and produce power under load but our balance and posture as well.

When the kettlebell is dropped, we are forced to quickly change levels to catch it while maintaining our trunk, hip, knee, and foot stability on the stance side.

The lateral moving swing with leg removal is a kettlebell swing variation that helps us develop the coordination to move efficiently in the frontal plane which is side to side. It takes what we do well with our training then adds another dimension that will improve our ability to move in a different plane of motion.

While it looks simple at first glance, the ability to coordinate the movements require a great demand of strength and speed of the upper and lower body.

The goblet kettlebell dynamic lateral lunge is going to build on the moving swing by forcing us now to catch ourselves in a lower position when we want to be able to change direction. Athletes spend a lot of their time in lower positions because that is where we can easily change direction the quickest.


When we catch ourselves in a lunge that is our plant leg, our goal is to keep our positioning then redirect that force back to a clean in order to get out of plant. The kettlebell is used to overload our own bodyweight so when we perform these motions without the extra resistance, we have even more control and power in these positions.

If you want to move like an athlete then you have to train like an athlete, this is a great place to start after you’ve built a solid foundation from kettlebell training.

As the adage says…the wider the base then the taller the peak.