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Lose Weight, Move Better, Get Stronger  with Seth Thomas

Personal Trainer in the Capital Region


Category Archives: Kettlebell Education

Kavon Atabaki Teaches the Kettlebell Snatch

Thank you for tuning in to the Albany Movement & Fitness blog. In this video, the owner of Functional Fitness in Virginia,  Kavon Atabaki, teaches the kettlebell  snatch. As an instructor, this movement is one of the most difficult to teach since it requires a unique coordinated rhythm that is different than many other exercises.  Kavon beautifully teaches the snatch from the top down, but first he makes sure that the student has competency in the foundational exercises that lead up to the snatch, which include the hip hinge, deadlift, two-handed swing, single-arm swing, and the high-pull. Here are some additional cues to help you grease the groove (aka practice).

“Pour the Pitcher” – From the lock out position, if you dropped the bell straight down it would hit you on the head. So it is important that you push the bell forward a bit. This is where I use the bell to counter balance and immediately settle into my heels. Casting the bell straight out especially with a heavy kettlebell is not a good idea. Doing this will pull you forward and you will lose the necessary symmetry in your hips and torso required to perform the movement safely. Lead with the thumb from the lockout position, simply turn the wrist and think of pouring water out of a pitcher. Gravity will bring the bell down in front and you will need the confidence to attack the hinge and feed the hike pass. This move is subtle and does not require very much movement.

“Swimming” –  From the lock out position, after you Pour the Pitcher, you create an arm motion similar to the front crawl stroke, imagine bringing the bell down the midline in the body while performing the front crawl stroke. Your arm is not straight nor is it bent at a precisely prescribed angle. The elbow is softened and the degree of the angle on the elbow adjusts slightly to create movement efficiency. This arm position is unique to the individual, but it should feel graceful and be aesthetically pleasing.

“Unzip the Jacket” and “Zip It Back Up” – This last cue is reminding us to keep the bell close on the way up and the way down. In my experience teaching the snatch, it is more challenging for people to keep the bell close on the way down. The arm should not end up being straight similar to the position it is in at the top of the single arm swing. Reminding people not to cast the bell out away from the body is helpful.

The performance tips above will certainly tighten up your groove.  If you are a self-guided kettebell enthusiast, I highly recommend a hardstyle kettlebell instructor to help you nail down the groove.  Resources: Works written by Dan John, Pavel, and Mark Reifkind.

Debbie Whaley-Hayes Teaches the Kettlebell Swing

Albany Movement & Fitness has the pleasure to present a Kettlebell Swing educational taught by Debbie Whaley Hayes. She is one of the strongest and smartest women in our StrongFirst family. Although we come from the same StrongFirst community, often times the lineage of instructors that we learn from is different, making our instructional styles and cuing different as well.  No matter how good you think your swing is, it can always get better.  A new look at a familiar movement may revive your swing and help you take it to the next level.

In this video, Debbie skillfully walks us through the progressions that lead to a proficient swing, focusing on nailing down the foundation, making sure that each prerequisite movement has been sufficiently practiced prior to proceeding to the next step.  Debbie’s expertise as a fellow Functional Movement Specialist mandates that movement competency be achieved for the sake of safety prior to executing the movement.  So make sure that you can touch your toes, that you have a 2/2 on your Active Straight Leg Raise, and that your deadlift is solid before practicing the swing.  Remember:  Quality over quantity.

Thank you so much, Debbie, for being part of our blog project.  You rock!

Artemis Scantalides Teaches the TGU

The Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-up (TGU) is a fantastic movement that is useful for all ages. The movement is so important because it brings us back to the ground.  As adults we don’t spend enough time doing ground work (exercises performed on the ground). Examples of beneficial movements in this category include rolling, rocking, head nods, bird dogs, bridges, dead-bugs, creeping, crawling, and the unloaded TGU. Together these exercises help to stimulate the vestibular system, encourage the body to respond reflexively, promote mobility and stability simultaneously and take us through all of the planes of movement using the key functional postures . Getting up and down from the ground easily and pain free is a movement pattern that escapes us as a result of being sedentary or simply not spending time in these positions.

When we introduce the kettlebell to the TGU it gives us the opportunity to experience all of the benefits listed above in loaded positions. Everyone can do the TGU as long as you build it from the ground up using the exercises named above and practicing the TGU transitions  step by step.

At Iron Body Studios and Albany Movement & Fitness we determine your readiness to perform the TGU using the results of your Functional Movement Screen combined with our observations of you while practicing your ground work. The TGU takes a lot of coordination and can be very challenging for some people, therefore, it is extremely important to learn all of the steps first before adding weight.

Artemis Scantalides is the Co-Owner of Iron Body Studios in Needham, MA,, author of the blog Iron Body By Artemis,, and Co-Founder of The Female Fitness Formula Workshop

Written by Artemis Scantalides and Seth Thomas