Need a New Kettlebell Challenge? Try the Pistol Grip

Published: 04th July 2009
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The Pistol Grip, or inverted, kettlebell position can add a crucial component to your kettlebell training. Up until now, the Pistol Grip kettlebell position has been seen as more of a feat of strength rather than an exercise variation that could be incorporated into your everyday kettlebell training routines. For those who don't know, a Pistol Grip is when you hold the kettlebell upside down from the handle; this puts the ball portion of the kettlebell straight up in the air. You can then create variations of standard kettlebell exercises utilizing the Pistol Grip position, including the clean, press, Turkish Get Up, overhead squats, windmills, etc.

The Pistol Grip position requires a greater amount of effort on your grip and forearms as well as your arms, shoulders and core. This is a great method to build iron grip strength as well as a strong upper body. Additionally, by utilizing the Pistol Grip in your training you can get a greater challenge from a kettlebell that has become too light for standard kettlebell exercises.

If your sets of kettlebell presses and get ups are getting too easy, the Pistol Grip position will make them seem like brand new exercises. It provides another level of difficulty because the kettlebell is even more unbalanced, allowing huge gains in functional strength. Grip and core strength will be taken to new levels. A set of Pistol Grip get ups will work your entire body like never before.

When moving into Pistol Grip exercise variations, you want to make sure that the weight is heavy enough to provide a challenge, but not so heavy that you worry about dropping it on your head. Always be in an area where dropping the kettlebell won't be an issue. When you start off, use your free hand to protect yourself from unexpected kettlebell movements. Remember, safety first.

When you have a firm grasp of all the standard variations of kettlebell exercises, grab a lighter kettlebell and try the Pistol Grip on the following exercises: clean and press, Turkish get up, and windmill. Throw these variations into your workout or make it a workout by itself. Make sure that you don't go to failure with these exercises. The last thing you need is a wobbly arm and an upside down kettlebell over your head. Do each exercise for a few reps and sets before moving on to the next one.

Once you start incorporating the Pistol Grip into your workouts, you will be reaping the benefits in no time. You won't have to spend the money on a heavier kettlebell because you can perform the same exercises with the same weight, only now utilized the Pistol Grip which will provide plenty of new challenges. If you have a heavier kettlebell that you can't seem to lift, work the lighter weight with a Pistol Grip and pretty soon, you'll be lifting the heavier kettlebell in no time.

Give this sample workout a shot and become addicted to Pistol Grip training:

Pistol Grip Turkish Get Up: Use a weight you can easily do multiple reps with. Alternate sides, but only perform about 3-5 reps for 2-3 sets.

Pistol Grip Press: Using a weight you can strict press 10 reps it for 5 reps. Alternate arms, but don't rush through. Get the feel for the Pistol Grip. Do at least 1-2 sets, never going to failure.

Pistol Grip Windmill. Keep the reps at least 2-3 before failure. Work 1-2 sets.

Try adding these to your lower body workout days or on off days. Don't make this particular schedule a workout. Just practice the Pistol Grip. Get a feel for it. Become proficient in it. Pretty soon you will be seeing results in numerous aspects of your lifting.

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