Workout Report: K-Bells, and the Advantage of Being a Lunatic

Posted: May 31, 2011 in kettlebells, Strength Stunts, Workout Reports

I’ve been participating in a local Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention over the weekend, and we’ve also had to work around some extra trips to the doctor’s office in the last few days. Nothing earth-shattering, but enough to shake things up just a bit. Thus, I ended up missing a few of my normal workouts. That said, I feel pretty charged up at this moment, and I’m sure that I’ve lost no ground as a result of the minor layoff. Well, it’s possible that I’m fatter, but I suppose that was not an altogether unforseen circumstance. More below the fold.

Late this evening, I went to visit my k-bell, and we had a bit of fun together. Not a workout. More like practice. That said, practice with a k-bell will get you breathing and bring your pulse up. It’s just the way things are.

I chalked up my hands and started with a set of bottoms up cleans with both hands. Not perfect, but pretty good. I will be getting better and better with these with each practice, I think. It’s not a fall-off-the-log movement, especially if you’re not the most coordinated fellow to ever wander through a gym. That said, I think they’re coming along. I can generally get ten somewhat-clean reps per hand, at least until my left one begins to fritz out.

I was standing there, thinking about it, and here’s what I get for thinking:

“I wonder if I can do a bottoms-up snatch?”

I’d seen it done. Looked scary, and hard. I like those attributes.

For those who aren’t aware, “bottoms up” means that the k-bell’s handle stays below the weight, so that one must use his hand like a break caliper to stop the ‘bell’s rotation, then balance said ‘bell for a beat. It’s tough. “Snatch” means that you swing the ‘bell up from between your legs, catching it at the pinnacle of your reach, with arm extended and elbow (soft) locked. Normally, you let the ‘bell go up and over your hand, ending up depending from the handle, with the ball portion on the back of your arm.

If one is to do the snatch “bottoms up”, he must arrange to carefully stop the ‘bell’s progress as it is at its highest apogee. This occurs when said goofball clamps down on the handle as if his appendage were powered by hydraulics.

Strangely, I was able to do this. It was also hella fun, and looked really neat in the mirror. Yes, I know we don’t do these things based on how they look in the mirror, but I felt that it was wisest to be able to watch my progress, since I’d never tried this particular stunt before.

I was able to get nine in a row with the right hand, then something like seven or eight good reps with the left. Once this exercise blows out your grip, though, you may as well stop for a few minutes, because I don’t think you’ll have any luck eeking out reps on guts alone.

The exercises that I’m doing are not beginner moves. The k-bell I’m using is not “beginner weight”. As to the weight of the ‘bell, I am not a small person, and I’ve been lifting for a long time. The moves, though–I can’t say that I’d recommend that anyone jump right to anything that I’m doing. I’m a strange person. For whatever reason, everything that I do “bottoms up” feels natural, while the traditional way feels awkward. I’m not using k-bells for my sole training tool, and so playing with them is enough for me. I don’t envision myself becoming enamored of the endless reps involved in competition k-bell sport, nor do some of the long cycles of exercises look exciting to me. I’d rather do HIIT work with my caveman implements. That said, I think that my coordination, grip, and explosiveness stand to be improved by swinging the k-bell around. For now, it’s bottoms up for me!

Anyhow, that’s why it’s a benefit to be a little “more than happy”, as George Carlin used to say.

Happy Lifting!

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