Hand-to-Hand Kettlebells for Fun and Conditioning

I would like to share with you some fun and unique H2H Kettlebell drills that will add a new dimension of variety, enjoyment, and intensity to your current KB routines. Practicing these drills will dramatically increase your:

  • Explosive strength and stamina
  • Hand-eye coordination and hand speed
  • Grip strength
  • Shock absorbing qualities of your connective tissue
  • Strengthen the core muscles
  • Enhance athletic performance

Best of all — they’re fun! Forget about rep/set schemes or fighting the clock. Time and stress will melt away when you practice these fun and challenging drills. Please note: These drills do have an element of risk (which can make them even more fun for you risk takers out there). My goal is to train not maim, so please heed the following safety tips:

  • Train where there is no concern about property damage or injury to anyone. A soft, level surface is optimal.
  • Don’t try to recover a questionable rep or bad catch. When in doubt — drop the KB.
  • Beware: rubber kettlebells (4 and 8kg) have an unpredictable bounce pattern when dropped on a hard surface.
  • Quick feet are happy feet!” Thin-soled shoes or bare feet are optimal.
  • Start with a light KB, learn and master movement patterns.
  • Build up the training load gradually using common sense.
  • When all else fails, remember the H2H Motto: “If you’re going to be stupid, you better be tough!”

“Slingshot/Figure 8 Combo”
The “Slingshot/Figure 8 Combo” (i.e. the around the body pass) is a powerful midsection exercise and serves as a good warm-up and/or active rest drill. It will develop strength, endurance, the skill of ‘matching the breath with the force’, and quick alternation of being loose and tight — all essential in kettlebell lifting, martial arts, and sports.

Pick up the kettlebell and grip the handle with one hand. Pass it from hand to hand around the body in a clockwise/counter clockwise fashion. Keep your abs, glutes, and legs tight. Arms stay fast and loose until the moment your hand grabs the kettlebell.

“The Slingshot.”
Quickly pressurize your abdomen, ‘sending energy to your fist’, then instantly go loose again. After a few warm-up circles in each direction, it’s time to add the figure 8. Begin with the kettlebell in you right hand. Pass it counter-clockwise to the left hand. When it comes back to the starting right hand, quickly fold at the hips, contract your abs, and pass the KB between your legs to your left hand.

“The Figure 8.”
Move your left hand in a clockwise fashion passing the KB to your right hand. When it comes back to your starting hand (left), fold at the hips, contract your abs, and pass the KB between your legs to your right hand. Repeat as many times as you can in good form. Note: the kettlebell is always passed between the legs from front to back.
Be sure to master this drill before moving on to the next one.

“Tactical Lunge™/Slingshot/Figure 8 Combo”
The Tactical Lunge™ is a superior lower body conditioner that targets the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and adductors. I strongly advise that you master the Tactical Lunge™ before attempting the combination drill.

Begin by picking up the kettlebell in your right hand. Step backward with your right foot, the right knee barely touching the ground. Your left shin should remain vertical, loading your left glute. Simultaneously pass the kettlebell under your left leg to your left hand. Stand straight up and repeat the sequence stepping back with your left leg, passing the KB under the right leg to your right hand. Repeat for reps or time, terminating before form deteriorates. Now add the Slingshot/Figure 8 Combination to the Tactical Lunge™. This combo actually gives you a built in rest allowing you to perform more reps, prolonging the misery, I mean enjoyment.

“Hot Potato™/Slingshot/Figure 8 Combo”
The Hot Potato™ is a dynamic drill for strengthening the muscles of the core, chest and arms. An easy and simple variation of this drill is to begin by holding the ball of the kettlebell in your right hand, the handle down. Keep your elbow attached to your torso, abs, glutes, and legs tight. Quickly and explosively pass the kettlebell from hand-to-hand, actively exhaling upon every catch. Be sure to master this drill before moving on to the slingshot/figure 8 combo.

“The Hot Potato™”
Now add the Slingshot/Figure 8 Combo. Start with the ball of your kettlebell in your right hand, the handle down. Hot Potato pass it to your left hand. Pass it back to the right, grabbing the KB handle with your right hand. Guide the kettlebell around your right side, behind your back, passing it to your left hand. Your left hand guides the KB around your left side, towards the front. Quickly contract your abs, fold at the hips and pass the KB between your legs to your right hand. Drive off your right foot, leg, and hip (as you would throwing a boxer’s uppercut). Catch the ball of kettlebell with your left hand.

The Works
As you can see, H2H Kettlebell drills can be quite demanding. They require your complete attention and some coordination. By adding one new element or combining a few elements, you can load different various parts of your body without overtraining.

For you H2H practitioners, H2H II is available with over 50 new drills, as well as H2H: Kettlebell Circuits

Train Hard. Stay Safe.

Jeff Martone,
Tactical Athlete Training Systems