Random Thoughts on Kettlebell Training for Tennis

I had the privilege of observing part of the Russian Kettlebell certification and participating in a free workout at the Koret Center in San Jose over the past weekend.

As strength coach and athlete, there are several reasons why the kettlebell is a great tool to use in the quest of improving ones athleticism, such as becoming more explosive and increasing power output. I’ll touch on a few reasons why the kb swing improves those specific qualities, but there are books and published studies about the efficacy of kettlebell training that I recommend you check out.

The first reason is that the kettlebell swing is relatively easy to teach. This allows the strength coach working with the athlete to produce results faster, which leads to quicker gains in the weight room as there is less time spent teaching technique and more time spent training.

Secondly, it incorporates movement patterns that athletes need to groove, such as sitting the hips back, which is very similar to “athletic ready position”. I can’t tell you how many athletes come in and can’t get into the correct ready position usually due to a flexibility and awareness issue.  Kettlebell swinging can be used to improve mobility in the hips due to range of motion needed in the hip flexors and extensors to sit back deeply and “pop” the hip to activate the gluteals and hamstrings. Once this movement is grooved it is much easier to progress the athlete to other lifts such as the trap bar dead-lift.

The swing also strengthens the hip complex which is used in all forms of movement. Regardless of the sport that you participate in, hip strength factors into force production, movement efficiency, and lack of hip strength will result in a higher risk of injury to the low back or knees.

I briefly explained some of the benefits of the kb swing but there is also a conditioning component from swinging that will improve athletes and weekend warriors alike.

In my opinion, kettlebell training should be a staple in the strength and conditioning program. Although the kb is simple and beneficial tool, it isn’t the end all, be all exercise that some push it as. It is a great tool that should be used along with other great tools such as body weight training, sleds, and traditional lifts like dead-lifting and squatting. Remember that each modality has strengths and weaknesses, but the ultimate goal when training athletes is to get them more explosive on the field of play and there are many ways of getting the job done.

Here’s a video of Jason swinging the Beast demonstrating the proper technique to sit the hips back and “pop” the hips to swing the bell.

In Strength,



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