Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How To Do a Kettlebell Pistol

Trying to learn how to do Kettlebell pistols is a fairly humbling experience. I wish I had better notes but it took we approximately three months of doing them with assistance before I was able to do them without any help.

I used a pillar to teach myself but there are other ways. Here's how I used the pillar. I grasped it with as little pressure as possible as I lowered myself and then tried like the dickens to not use it on the way up. As I mentioned, it took approximately three months for me to get rid of this crutch. My limiting factor was average balance.

Kettlebell pistols require excellent coordination, balance, stability,flexibility and power. Done correctly there may not be a more complete lower body exercise. Few people do it because not many people are able to do it on the first attempt. Too many folks say "Hey, I'm not the right body type" etc and that's just a bunch of stuff. It's worth the practice required to master this movement.

To perform the movement start my lowering yourself "butt to hamstring" on one foot. Extend the non-working leg out in front of you. If you push your rear back as you lower yourself and lean forward a bit to balance yourself at the same time you will keep your weight back on your heel. You really want your weight back on the heel. If your heel comes off the ground, most likely you didn't push your butt back. Failure to lower yourself both "back and down" can put unnecessary pressure on your knees as well.

Here's a few things to keep in mind before you lower yourself. Squeeze your glutes to really get them ready to work. Exhale before the movement and hold your breath "hardstyle" as you lower yourself. Create as much tension as you can and pull yourself down into the whole. As you lower yourself,pretend that you are lowering yourself onto a razor and make yourself as skinny as possible. Extend the kettlebell out and away from your body as a counter balance. And when you reach bottom, you will pause slightly, crush grip the kettlebell to create the desired tension and drive up through the bell. Check out this video.


At May 13, 2009 at 3:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Very useful.

Do you think limited flexibility plays a role in pistol progress??


At May 13, 2009 at 4:19 AM , Blogger Chris said...

Hey Sandy,
Thanks for the video, Im gonna have to use my door frame I think to work on the pistol. Definitely a humbling experience.

Great instructions, and a great improvement on your own pistol from a few months ago.

At May 13, 2009 at 5:53 AM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


Thanks for your feedback. I do think that hip flexiblity plays a special role in pistols. If you have clients who are trying to master the pistol, stretching that area seems to help.

At May 13, 2009 at 5:53 AM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


Keep at it and eventually you will do it. I keep getting a little better each time I do them.

At May 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM , Blogger Chris J said...

I like this video. I always have a death grip on the door frame, and my hands don't slide up and down like on a rail. I'm going to try this and see how it works out.

At May 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...

Chris J,

Let me know how it turns out. Thanks!

At May 14, 2009 at 8:43 AM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Pistols suck... so hard! Good training tips to get over the humble reckoning that is the early stage of getting an unassisted pistol!!


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