Exercises You Probably Don't Do, But Should: Part 3!

If you think you need a little pick me up to generate more power then maybe the kettlebell drills I have described below will help you out.

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Are you strong enough? This time we are going to look at two more drills that will generate power in the upper body and improve your overall strength.


This is a tremendous upper body power builder. It is very effective with a kettlebell or a dumbell.

Exercise Description:

    Place a weight between your feet. Bend over and take hold of it with the palms facing each other. Press the palms together and "Crush" the weight between your hands, using as little gripping with the fingers as possible.

    You will have to contract your pecs really hard to do this. Pull the elbows back in a rowing motion. When the weight gets to your body, push your butt back and stand up. Continue the upward motion with the weight until you have pressed it overhead. Lower it in the same fashion.

Click To Enlarge.

Important Tips:

  • Use as little grip as possible; press the palms together and let the crushing action of the pecs keep the weight in place.
  • Keep the reps low, in the three to five range and do two to five sets.
  • Practice this one in a place where you have no reservations about dropping the weight if something goes wrong. Fast feet are happy feet.
  • For added fun, try the John Brookfield version with a stack of bricks, but don't take it over your head, just row it. Your skull will thank you.

    Who Is John Brookfield?
    John Brookfield is a internationally known speaker, writer, and strongman. John uses hand strength to bend and twist steel and iron into beautiful artistic shapes. These pieces of steel and iron are made into magnificent sculptures.

Renegade Row:

This drill, developed by Coach John Davies has become a staple of most kettlebell users. It can also be done with dumbbells, but if you try it, be sure to use hex-shaped dumbbells, so they don't roll out from under you.

This one will simultaneously work all the muscles of the upper body: your pecs, back, biceps, triceps and abs. Your legs will even benefit from their role of stabilizing the body.

Exercise Description:

    Place two kettlebells about shoulder-width apart on the floor. Get in the top position of a push-up with your hands on the handles. Tighten up your entire body and squeeze the handles as if you were going to crush them.

    With your right hand, push hard into the ground while pulling the weight to the waist with your left. Lower the weight slowly and with control. Repeat on the other side.

Renegade Row
Click To Enlarge.

View Video Of Renegade Row: MPEG (841 KB)
Windows Media (546 KB)

Important Tips:

  • Do these only on a flat, solid surface. If the bottom hand moves while the top hand is up, it won't be a pretty fall.
  • For a more difficult variation, do a push-up between each row.
  • You can alternate hands with each rep or do all the reps for the left and then all the reps for the right.
  • Keep the elbow of the bottom arm locked.
  • If you are having trouble keeping stable, move the feet farther apart. As you get stronger, move them closer together.

These two drills will work the muscles of your upper body in a way few other exercises can. Add them to your arsenal and let me know what you think of them.

About the Author:

David Whitley, RKC is a Russian Kettlebell instructor, strength coach and massage therapist in Nashville, TN. He earned his RKC at the June 2003 certification and was an assistant instructor at the April 2004 RKC.

One December fourth 2004 he became the first American-born man to achieve CMS rank in Girevoy Sport. He conducts Kettlebell workshops and trains clients privately in the Nashville area. He is also available for online personalized training and phone consultation. Contact him by email at irontamerdave@hotmail.com, and visit his website: www.irontamer.com.

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