5 Best Kettlebell Exercises to Build Explosive Power

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The Best Kettlebell Exercises

Explosive power is the most sought-after attribute an athlete can possess. Watch any pro sport; you'll see that the best athletes are not those who compete at a slow pace. If you are explosive, you can dominate the playing field with a combination of speed and power.

Athletes can develop explosive power by using many different tools in the weight room. Although traditional barbells and dumbbells are great options, kettlebells are now recognized as one of the best pieces of equipment for improving explosive power.

To develop explosive power, you must perform exercises at high speed. Kettlebells let you do this in a quick, natural and fluid motion, similar to how you would perform a sports skill. Most kettlebell exercises make you produce power with your lower body, transfer it through your core and finish with an upper-body movement, similar to throwing, shooting, swinging or tackling.

Incorporating these five kettlebell exercises into your program will give you a power boost and add variety to your workouts. They can be added to your lower- or upper-body workouts, or performed as an entire workout.

Best Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell Swing

This is the foundation for all other kettlebell movements. The Swing develops your hip and leg muscles, training them to decelerate and then re-accelerate. This skill is critically important for athletes, as they are constantly stopping or landing and then exploding in a different direction. Perform this exercise with one arm to add a challenge to your core.

  • Assume athletic quarter-squat stance holding kettlebell between legs
  • Keeping arms straight, drive through heels and explode up with hips to bring kettlebell to chin level in front
  • Return to start position with control and repeat rhythmically

Sets/Reps: 3-5x10-12

Banded Kettlebell Swings

A great option for more advanced athletes. When the Kettlebell Swing becomes too easy, or you don't have a heavy kettlebell, attach a resistance band to the kettlebell. This speeds up the downward phase of the swing, forcing a faster deceleration and, therefore, more powerful acceleration.

  • Wrap resistance band around kettlebell and stand on opposite end
  • Assume athletic quarter-squat stance holding kettlebell between legs
  • Keeping arms straight, drive through heels and explode up with hips to bring kettlebell to chin level in front
  • Return to start position with control and repeat rhythmically

Sets/Reps: 3-5x8-12

Kettlebell Sumo Squat Jumps

This is a wide-stance version of the Squat Jump. In this position, the hips are responsible for producing most of the force that powers you off the ground.

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width with toes pointed out; hold kettlebell with both hands in front
  • Bend hips and knees to lower into squat; keep back flat and chest up
  • Jump out of squat position as high as possible
  • Land with soft knees; immediately repeat
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-5x5-8

Kettlebell Snatch

The Snatch is a challenging exercise because of the long distance you have to drive the weight. Since you aren't supposed to use your upper body to move the kettlebell, all of the power in this move comes from your hips, knees and ankles. Master the Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing before performing this exercise.

  • Begin in athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart; hold kettlebell in one hand between knees
  • Squat slightly, then quickly press off ground using a jumping movement
  • Extend ankles, knees and hips while pulling the kettlebell out and up
  • Allow momentum to carry kettlebell up and over shoulder
  • Hold fully extended position for one second, then lower
  • Repeat for specified reps
  • Perform set with opposite arm

Sets/Reps: 3-5x8-12 each arm

Kettlebell Push Press

This exercise develops power throughout the entire body. You must generate power with your legs and hips, transfer it through your core and finish with an upper-body movement. The Push Press will strengthen the entire chain of muscles commonly used in a majority of sports skills.

  • Assume athletic stance with kettlebell at rack position
  • Bend at hips and knees to lower into quarter squat
  • Forcefully extend hips and knees and simultaneously extend arm to push kettlebell overhead; hold for one second
  • Lower kettlebell with control to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set with opposite arm

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-8 each arm

These five kettlebell exercises will help you develop the explosive power you need to dominate on the field. If you have any questions on kettlebell exercises or the technique for each exercise, please contact me flahivetraining@gmail.com.

Still craving more kettlebell in your workout? The STACK Kettlebell page is a rich resource of kettlebell exercises for all muscle groups.

Photo:  crossfitero.com


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: KETTLEBELL EXERCISES | WORKOUTS | POWER | EXERCISE | PRESS | STANCE | SWING | KETTLEBELL | KETTLEBELL SWING