Getting Into the Swing of Kettlebell Training With Steve Cotter

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 22 January 2021

Steve Cotter has always been fascinated by the mechanics of body movement. He started in martial arts and even went on to obtain a degree in kinesiology. His background as a martial artist helped him master kettlebells super fast and he went full swing into kettlebell training.

“My interest is always the relentless pursuit of better… My interest is in improving, and the starting point for me is myself.”

– Steven Cotter

Steve is now a world-renowned kettlebell instructor, certified strength and conditioning specialist, professional trainer, and author. He has traveled across the world providing kettlebell training and instruction in over 60 countries. He has trained elite athletes, Navy SEALs and U.S. Marine Corps, and many fitness professionals trainers across the world.

Steve is the Founder of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF). He was also named as one of Men’s Health Magazine Top 100 Fittest of All-Time.

Watch the webinar recording on FitNation’s YouTube channel!

Here are the key takeaways from the conversation with Steve Cotter:

1. Kettlebells Are Multipurpose, Full-Body Conditioning Tools

Kettlebells are versatile tools that provide numerous benefits. They help build strength and endurance, improve balance and coordination, as well as enhance flexibility. The planes of motion and the rotation of movement help to improve mobility.

Unlike the traditional weights as barbells and dumbbells which are mostly done seated or standing in one place, kettlebells include mobility and compound movement which is very beneficial for the human body. The movements are integrated and coordinated so that it involves the whole body. It’s really about the full-body movement and how that movement is coordinated so that you use your legs, your back, your torso, and every muscle in your body to power every swing.

2. Kettlebells Connect Us With Our Primitive Human Component

Naturally, the human body is made for mobility. Our ancestors did not need to set apart time to go to the gym because their normal lives included a lot of functional mobility — lifting heavy objects, hunting, and gathering, walking over long distances, etc.

In the modern world, most people sit for long hours and move around in their cars. That’s why there are so many complaints of back pains, shoulder pains, and loss of mobility. Kettlebells are the tools that connect us to that primitive component that is naturally built into us as humans. Kettlebells “remind” our bodies of what they are already built to do — to move — while increasing strength, endurance, and coordination.

“A heavy barbell would be like running a sprint. Kettlebell would be more like a middle distance race, where you’re fast but it’s not a sprint, but you’re going for a long time.”

– Steven Cotter

3. Kettlebell Skill is Paramount for The Best Results

Most people doing kettlebells don’t have the technical skill that’s required. It’s not about merely swinging the kettlebell back and forth. If you’re using kettlebells and your form is off, it doesn’t matter how hard you work. It doesn’t matter how many reps you do — you’re just repeating failure. It’s about doing one good rep and then repeating that one good rep 10, 20, or 50 times.

“The most important thing a person can do when they’re learning kettlebells is to find a qualified coach.”

– Steven Cotter

Form is the most fundamental thing when doing kettlebell exercises. Now, kettlebells are more technical than any other type of lifting tools or methods. So you need to get a qualified trainer who will teach you the correct technique, form, and posture. This is not only essential for getting the best results, but it’s also very important to avoid injuries.


Steve Cotter is passionate about restoring functional mobility and movement to humans. And kettlebells are the perfect tools to develop and improve full-body strength, balance, and coordination. You can connect with Steve Cotter on Facebook and Twitter or visit the IKFF website to learn more about his work.

You can also visit our podcast page or FitNation’s Lunch & Learn webinar page for more insightful gym conversations.

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.

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