How To Run Mixed Ability Kettlebell Classes [2nd Edition]

 In How To:, Kettlebell Training, Uncategorized

[Updated 10th September 2016]

Kicking off your first Kettlebell class may be exciting but just because you want your students to come out the other side with fantastic technique doesn’t mean they all will.

However, as a new instructor you can do your best by considering these three specific things when monitoring technique in a group class:

Number One

The first thing an instructor needs to do is to differentiate between whether the exercise is a ballistic or a grind.

This may sound obvious, but the challenge in a group setting with a ballistics exercise is that these are often much more technical. So you need to ask yourself whether or not each of your students is even capable of doing a ballistic movement like a swing, a clean, or a snatch.

SMKCert_Day.2_MG_8856_LowRes

The risk in pooling a lot of students together in one class is assuming that they’re all at the same skill level. The more ballistic the exercise, the more potentially dangerous it is. So first and foremost ensure each student is cleared to do ballistics.

[bctt tweet=”How do you monitor technique in your group KB class when everyone’s at a different level?”]

If they are – fantastic! They go into the ballistic side of the class; they can do the swings.

If they are not, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be part of the class. It just means that they’re going to regress the swing down to a deadlift.

This is a hinge pattern so it is the same pattern, but without being a ballistic. Instead, it has become a grind exercise, which is a much safer and logical place to start.

Number Two

The second most important thing that a trainer needs to know when conducting a group class wherein there is a focus on ballistics is what is each student’s weak point here?

[bctt tweet=”When conducting a group kettlebell class set up station’s to focus on each student’s weak points”]

So for example, if somebody has a breathing issue you will need to set up a station where people are focusing on breathing.

Maybe someone has an issue with timing, and the way in which they’re swinging the Kettlebell means that their timing is off. They may not understand how to let the bell float, let the arms fall, and at the last second bend at the hips. So again, you have to set up a station with the focus on timing.

Setting up these stations within your class means you’re grouping people together rather than making them feel awkward and singled out because of their weakness. Additionally, the emphasis is not even on ‘weaknesses’.

Rather, it’s about different students working together on a very specific skill that is going to help them toward mastering of some of these kettlebell ballistic exercises.

That’s empowering, not discouraging.

SMKCert_Day.2_MG_9558_LowRes

Number Three

This addresses the most advanced work. The focus here is primarily on the reps and sets, and the volume that you’re attempting to accomplish.

The first two camps are more centred on people learning the techniques. The reps and sets don’t matter so much; it’s about the quality, not the quantity.

However, once your group has progressed and have been given the green light to do the advanced that means they’ve achieved a level of technique mastery and can pretty much let loose.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t focus on technique, but they’re ready to go.

Like me, many instructors won’t always have the opportunity to work with three different divisions of beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Chances are any single class will be peopled with students from all those levels. So that’s why setting up separate stations become important. It allows you to cater to all those different people and, therefore, allows them to progress.

Nothing worse for an instructor to realise that he or she is not helping all of their students move forward with their technique at a pace that’s right for them.

And, similarly, nothing worse for a student to feel that they are being pulled back or left behind.

Franz Snideman
Franz Snideman, the co-owner of Revolution Fitness, has authored and edited several books, as well as produced a series of training DVD’s. Drawing on his passion in healthy living, athleticism, knowledge and appreciation of human development, anatomy and personal experience, he co-developed the dynamic Primal Speed System as well as Primal Move Velocity.
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