There is a plethora of Kettlebell exercises every CrossFitter should incorporate into their training, but if I had to pick 5 of the best; 5 exercises that provide the most bang for your buck; 5 exercises that will help you become a better CrossFitter, well, then I would chose the following:
- Open Palm Front Squat (double kettlebell)
- Kettlebell Standing Pull-over
- Turkish Get-up AKA TGU
- Conventional Kettlebell Swing
- Hybrid Strict Press (single or double kettlebell)
The first three kettlebell exercises are mainly for thoracic and shoulder mobility, range of motion, and to get a better overhead position. The Open Palm Front Squat provides plenty of other benefits, like proprioception and stability. The TGU is also awesome for an all-round body workout and especially core strength.
I included the Conventional Kettlebell Swing to lay the proper foundation for the American Swing, Kettlebell Cleans and Snatches, which is so overlooked, and creates an incredible black hole that sucks in any progress when it comes to kettlebells in CrossFit.
Last but not least, I included the Hybrid Strict Press with double kettlebell for several reasons; it transfers so well to hand-stand push-ups, the position of the hands and the pressing action is pretty much on par with that of the hand-stand push-up; and pressing two kettlebells can help with muscle inconsistencies so often seen in Barbell presses, i.e. one side dominating.
Now that I’ve quickly covered the five exercises that I would recommend any CrossFiter include in their training, let’s delve deeper into each one and have look at the fine little details.
Open Palm Front Squat
Great for wrist strength if you do this properly, i.e. you don’t just let the bell rest in your palms and let the wrist joint take the weight through muscle relaxation, no, you actually work to keep your palms up. Think about carrying a platter like a waiter. See more related details about wrist hyperextension in the section about the Hybrid Strict Press.
If you take the time to learn the Open Palm Clean, which requires you to first learn the Swing, then you can also work on proprioception and kettlebell control, plus look super cool—and we all want to look cool.
As if wrist strength, proprioception, kettlebell control and looking cool isn’t enough, here comes the bang for one’s buck; the Open Palm Front Squat mimics the CrossFit Barbell racking position; it helps with tricep and lat flexibility; and it promotes thoracic and shoulder mobility. That’s just the Open Palm part of the exercise, add the squat and you’re working on so many things that I could write a book on it. Whether you’re just cleaning once and squatting multiple reps or cleaning upon each rep, the exercise provides incredible benefits.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean.
Note that the bells are never resting on the shoulders, I’m always actively pressing into the bells. As you can probably understand by now, there is so much that can be said about this exercise, but I’m going to keep it short as I still have four other exercises to cover.