Back to Basics: The HKC Big 3

The HKC Big 3 (Swings, Goblet Squats & Turkish Get Ups)  are the fundamental movements to kettlebell training and because of their high yielding results,  should be included in everyone’s fitness tool-box.

Here’s what the Big 3 consist of and why they are such badasses!

The Kettlebell Swing

No other movement uses the ballistic power of the hip extension, challenge the cardiovascular endurance system, burns a ton of calories and creates strength in the back side of the body, all at the same time. This movement also helps create better posture and reduces chronic lower back pain.

So it goes without saying that the Kettlebell Swing is a go-to-move for anyone who is looking to maximize they’re progress in fat-loss and strength building while minimizing the time invested to those goals. But doing them right is crucial, or things go awry real fast.

  1. Start by standing tall, feet shoulder width apart and your kettlebell about 1-2 feet in front.
  2. Perform a hip hinge, keeping the shins vertical while reach the hips back. Be sure to maintain a neutral spine, allowing you to safely and effectively load up the posterior hip complex.
  3. Without breaking the neutrality of the spine, reach for your bell with both hands, firmly grabbing around the bridge.
  4. Hike pass the bell high between the thighs to load up the hips.
  5. At the furthest point of the hike, squeeze the glutes and snap the hips back into alignment of the torso and legs, launching the bell out in front.
  6. During the ascending of the bell, keep the shoulders packed to tame the arch.
  7. Once the bell reaches the top of the arch – about eye level – be patient and allow the bell to start it’s decent while still maintaining a tall posture.
  8. At the very moment the upper arms connect into the ribs, hinge at the hips and pull the bell high in between the hips allowing the forearms to hit the upper inner thighs.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 to continue the swing or reverse steps 1-4 to park the bell.

Unlock tight hips/hamstring with this one movement!

The Goblet Squat

Squatting has a special place for every fitness enthusiast. Walk into a gym and you’ll be able to point on the ones who squat, and the ones who avoid it. Reasons for avoiding the squat vary depending on the athlete but some of the more common ones range from a lack of mobility to easily get into a good squat position, to pure & plain laziness and avoidance of that oh-so uncomfortable burn in the legs.

Another issue with the squat is that there are some many different variations and pieces of equipment to choose from. It can almost be too overwhelming to even try to wrap your head around. The Kettlebell Goblet squat is the most simple, effective and safe variation. But proper form is crucial

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width a part and toes pointed ahead
  2. Bring bell to the Goblet Position: Hold onto the horns in front of the chest.
  3. Make sure you brace the core to keep a good upright position
  4. Send the hips back and down, sitting in between the legs
  5. Ensure your knees are inline with your toes, weight in the heels and your chest is tall.
  6. Drive through the heels and use your thighs and glutes to push yourself back up to standing.

The Turkish Get-Up

This is the ultimate move that builds full body strength, mobility and core stability. It takes you from the floor to standing while holding onto a weight above the head, so there’s that added sense of danger to all the thrill seekers out there.

But more than just getting your adrenalin going, the Turkish Get Up teaches you movement pattern coordination, spacial awareness and maintain full body tension through multiple planes of motion.

Because this movement is more involved than the standard Point A to Point B movement, it’s best to take this in chunks and master each piece before moving on to the next.

Set Up to Tall Sit

  1. Lay flat on your back with the bell extended in your right hand towards the ceiling.
  2. Set up your right leg to be bent and foot flat and out about 45degrees from the spine
  3. Left leg will be straight and inline, while the left arm is extended out from the body about 45 degrees
  4. Drive your right heel into the floor, lifting your right side off the floor and rolling over to your left. Be sure to keep the bell up towards the ceiling.
  5. Drive your left elbow in the floor, pulling yourself onto your left forearm and then onto your left hand. Your Left hand should slide back to where your left elbow was.
  6. Check in to make sure your spine is neutral and chest is tall. Your left leg should still be extended straight and your left ear should be away from your left ear.
  7. This is the tall sit.

Tall Sit to Table

  1. From the Tall Sit, drive through your right heel, bringing your hips up and balancing your weight on your right foot and left hand.
  2. Slide your left leg under your torso and bringing the knee to be inline with your left hand and shin parallel with your spine.
  3. Weight should now be distributed evenly between Left Hand, Right Foot and Left Knee

Table to Kneeling Lunge

  1. Gently shift your weight away from your left hand by hinging the left hip back towards your left heel.
  2. Using the Right Glute, bring your torso up
  3. Sweep your Right foot around so your hips are closed and you’re in a kneeling position.
  4. Drive through the right heel and left toes to bring yourself up to standing.

Now you have to get back down! Just simply reverse the steps till your back on the floor and repeat for the other side.

Before I Go,

One quick word of advice before I go: practice! Every rep of the HKC Big 3, you should be attempting to get better, more efficient and stronger with each one. Review the steps, apply and reassess after each rep.


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