Few things are as fun for me as having my heroes write guest posts for me. Logan Christopher is a strongman who specializes in something pretty freaking cool: kettlebell juggling. Not bowling pins, not chainsaws, not kittens…heavy kettlebells. These videos are a new genre of poetry: Modernist Badassedness. Enjoy!
By Logan Christopher
Few things can be done with the kettlebell that look as awesome as kettlebell juggling. Pressing, squatting or regular swings, while great exercises, just don’t capture the imagination like tossing around a heavy ball of iron. Check out this video to see just what its like…
And if you want to have true mastery of a kettlebell of a given weight, its not enough to be able to do a hundred snatches. Think that’s hard? Try flipping it over and around your shoulder and other even more advanced kettlebell juggling moves.
Lets compare kettlebell juggling to swings.
Swings travel in one arc over and over again. Kettlebell juggling is fully three-dimensional as the kettlebell goes around you, between the legs, flying over your shoulder. And more advanced work can involve you turning around and moving along with the kettlebell to kick it up another notch.
Because of the motion, the swing is a hip dominant movement. While all kettlebell juggling is built off of the swing, kettlebell juggling works everything from many different angles. It gives you the ability to deliver that strength from virtually any place. Not to mention that specific moves can be used to add additional work to the grip, arms, legs, etc.
Swings are a great tool for conditioning but because it’s the same move over and over its easy to become accustomed and efficient at it. Especially if you train to make the movement maximally efficient like they do in kettlebell sport. With kettlebell juggling the same weight is going to challenge your conditioning even more as each move is more difficult. Many times I’ve ended a free flowing kettlebell juggling set thinking I had it under control, only to be completely gassed right after.
Have you ever done hundreds of swings in a single workout? Can get to be a little tedious can’t it? But many times I’ve forgotten about time as I practiced my kettlebell juggling skills, surprised to find half an hour or more has slipped by. Training can be hard work. But it can also be a ton of fun.
I don’t want to knock the swing as an exercise. Its tried and true and very effective for what it does. Plus all kettlebell juggling has its foundation in the kettlebell swing. Make sure your swing is great before you move on to any juggling. But if you want to add some fun and flair to your training give kettlebell juggling a try.
That all being said let’s get started at the beginning with your first flip. Like anything else you have much more freedom and fun when you get to the higher levels, but you can’t get there without significant time spent on working the basics.
Always, and I do mean always, practice kettlebell juggling in an area where you can drop the bell without damaging anything. Doing this indoors is strictly prohibited, because you WILL drop it.
Assuming you have good form on your kettlebell swing you can get started. Watch the video and follow the steps to attain your first kettlebell flip. Oh yeah, and start out light. A 16kg kettlebell or lighter.
- Release the kettlebell near the top of your swing to discover its natural flight path.
- Do the same except this time bend the elbows so the kettlebell stays in close to you.
- Apply slight downward pressure on the handle to keep the bell from flipping.
- Try doing both the above steps while swinging and switching from one hand to the other.
- Back to two hands, at the top of the swing throw the handle down to start the flip. The bell naturally wants to go this way because of the mass. Let it fall.
- After getting use to the flipping motion, keep your hands close and grab the handle after it makes a single revolution.
- After two hands is easy, trying switching hands, then using a single hand for the release and catch.
That wraps it up. Go out and practice.
Remember the basis of all kettlebell juggling is on the swing. And the basis of all the flips and spins are off of this move. Kettlebell juggling is merely the act of guiding the kettlebell to do what you want it to do. This takes subtle touch to get more difficult flips exactly right. To gain that skill you have to practice. And do lots of it.