Try This Tuesday: Kettlebell Bottoms Up Carryby Jen Sinkler
The mini posture circuits at the end of each workout in our athleticism-building program, Lightning & Thunder (written by coaching greats Angie Brambley-Moyer and Tim Moyer), were wildly effective in changing my carriage. The very way I carried myself. Happened fast, too — lickety-split, not just in name.
Most of these posture circuits involved carrying weights around in some manner, rather than simply raising and lowering them: a focus on strength endurance where we often tend to focus on strength alone. Handy for carrying the weight of your world, or universe, even, with ease.
Feeling the eternity of it, the reality lasting only a few scant minutes. Learning to stay with yourself long enough to build this strength to endure. Long enough.
The poppin’ shoulder muscles this develops are a bonus, in my book.
In lifting, we focus on the main movement patterns: upper-body push, lower-body push, upper-body pull, lower-body pull. Yet another, submitted by one of my mentors, Robert Dos Remedios, is the explosive category, which can be applied atop any of the previous ones, and yet another, credited to the trainer Dan John, is the carry.
The basic idea is to do all of the patterns, some of the time.
What are you carrying, and how?
The kettlebell bottoms-up carry — doubled up, here — helps strengthen and stabilize your upper back and build wildly wicked grip strength to boot (you’ve gotta squeeze the handles like the dickens to keep those kettlebells bottom-side up).
As always, with movements that are new to you, start way light and work your way up. Bottoms-up movements, in particular, have a way of humbling, so start at the beginning, wherever that is for you today.
In fact, begin with one bell so that you have a spare hand to help stabilize the kettlebell in the bottoms-up position before you begin your stroll. Once you get the hang of the timing and sequencing of the swing-into position, add the second bell.
Kettlebell Double Bottoms-Up Carry
- To start, place two kettlebells on the floor out in front of you, feet hip-width-distance apart.
- Grip a handle in each hand with your butt high in the air and knees bent in an athletic stance.
- Brace your midsection and hike the kettlebells behind you to the outsides your legs, hinging at the hips and leaning forward with your torso.
- Immediately reverse the movement and stand upright, swinging both kettlebells forward and bending your arms so that the bottoms of each face the ceiling. This is a timing thing, so squeeze to stabilize the weights into the start position. (Again, practice this move with one kettlebell before progressing to two.)
- From there, walk forward (or backward, or any other direction, for that matter) while keeping your shoulders, rib cage, and hips square. Avoid bouncing or rocking from side to side by exaggerating the gentleness of your stride.
Walk for the desired distance (stop well before your form crumbles), then rest and repeat.