Kettlebell Foundations: Kettlebell Deadlift Progressions

Kettlebell Foundations: Kettlebell Deadlift Progressions

An Intro To Kettlebell Sport Reading Kettlebell Foundations: Kettlebell Deadlift Progressions 7 minutes Next Hardstyle 101: The Snatch

We are excited to work with Dough Fioranelli, owner of Rise Above Performance Training on a super informative series about hardstyle kettlebell movements. There are essentially two different schools of thought in kettlebell training and both are great, we have covered a number of kettlebell sport type movements and will be working to bring you more of the hardstyle movements which most people are familiar with. In the first part of the series, Doug goes through an awesome progression of kettlebell deadlifts and variations designed to improve your overall lift and performance. Doug created and awesome video demonstration and explanation of all the movements which you can watch below!

By Doug Fioranelli

There are two prominent types of kettlebell training that serve the trainee with two completely different purposes. The first type of training you have seen all over Facebook; Athletes moving those different colored bells overhead for five to ten minutes sets often having the look of pain on their face. The other type reflects a much more common training setting where moving an iron ball with a handle might seem a bit foreign to the new trainee from traditional weights and machines.

The latter reflects a more hardstyle or foundational form of kettlebell training and, in my opinion, is the most suited for new trainees, athletes, coaches and trainers looking to learn and teach others.

In this Hardstyle Series for Kettlebell Kings I will completely breakdown all of the essential kettlebell exercises in article and video format so you can add this tool, with confidence, to your training arsenal and achieve the results you are looking for.

For this first installation, we are going over the foundational kettlebell deadlift.

Proper setup and patterning:

The hardstyle deadlift is one of my favorite exercises for many reasons. First, I believe the set-up is much easier to achieve than a traditional barbell deadlift because the kettlebell can sit easily between your feet whereas the barbell deadlift is in front of the body and maintaining proper back alignment during the set-up is much more difficult, especially for the new trainee.

Secondly, it is a great way to teach someone how to hinge at their hips which has many benefits including: increased glute and hamstring activation for muscle building and proper hip drive which is important for proper execution of other kettlebell movement as well as enhanced sports performance .

  • Set the kettlebell on the floor in-between your knees and ankles with a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width stance.
  • Grab the handle firmly and connect your biceps to the side of your body to set your back so it is straight with your chest up, shoulder blades together and lower back arched (not rounded) and head neutral with the chin slightly retracted. If you visualize a clock you want your head positioned at 10 o'clock and your hips at the 4 o'clock position.
  • Anchor your feet firmly into the ground, tighten your core, squeeze your glutes and drive the body up by pushing the floor away with your feet until you are standing up straight with your hips underneath you at the top. Doug is training with his Kettlebell Kings Powder Coated Kettlebell

Elevated Deadlift

Do not worry if you or your client cannot perform a proper deadlift right out of the gate, it just means we must take a small step back; enter the elevated kettlebell deadlift. By simply bringing the kettlebell higher off the floor, by using weight plates or the bigger competition kettlebells, proper back alignment and set up is much easier when the setup is much higher.

When you or your clients become proficient with the basic hard style deadlift, start having fun with some of the variations. Just remember the basic set up and execution is always the same.

Alternating single arm deadlift

A great one to enhance grip strength and anti-rotational core control. Set up the same as you would with the foundational deadlift but grab the handle with one hand. Do your best to keep your shoulders square throughout the movement and do not shift your weight more to one side. I like to switch hands at the top but you can also do it at the bottom, just be safe and stable during the switch.

Double kettlebell sumo deadlift

With two kettlebells, you can really start to move some serious weight around and enhance your grip and core strength. The double sumo deadlift finds us with two bells in between your feet. There are two ways you can execute this movement with either both palms facing back, which will require a slightly wider stance; or with both thumbs forward where you also turn the handles forward and allow the bells and your feet to be closer together.

Double Suitcase Deadlift

If you are old enough to remember when we had to lift and carry suitcases in airports then this version will be familiar for you. Have the kettlebells on the outside of your feet with the handles facing forward. You will most likely have your feet narrower than your traditional kettlebell deadlift set up due to the orientation of the bells. Get your proper setup and go for it! You should feel a great core contraction during these sets and they also transfer well to farmers walk training.

There you have it the hardstyle kettlebell deadlift. Please check out the video below for all of the complete details discussed above.


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Thanks for reading!

Doug's Bio:

Doug Fioranelli is the owner of Rise Above Performance Training® where he uses personal, progressive programming to increase his athletes' performance and reduce their risk for injury. Since 2001, he has assisted many people with their strength training, conditioning and athletic rehabilitation including; adult clients, police, fire, military professionals, and athletes from middle school to the professional level.

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