Kettlebells for SUP Paddler – SUP Tip: SIC Talk Story


Global Athlete Seychelle hosts SUP Tips on #sictalkstory talking about “Kettlebells for Paddlers” Seychelle hosts these Talk Stories LIVE on SIC Maui’s Women of Watersports Facebook Page.  




Hi, welcome to another edition of Talk Stories Live. I’m your host Seychelle and we’re going to be talking about some kettlebell exercises today and actually doing them together.

What You Need:

A yoga mat or beach towel Kettlebell or a dumbbell (in a few different weight options if possible) *Disclaimer. I am a certified personal trainer, however please consult your doctor or sports therapist if you have any concerns about performing these exercises. I don’t have eyes on you. I don’t know what it looks like. A couple of things that I do recommend to help with that is like, especially if these are new things. Put up a mirror and watch yourself and how you’re moving. Since I can’t have eyes on you, you can have eyes on yourself. So please be mindful. Please. Use a very light weight, especially if you’re learning and, and when you’re warming up or no weight at all and if something hurts, please stop immediately. Please reach out to me and let me know what it was and see if I can help you with that.* So, that being said, be smart, safe and let’s have fun together doing a few of my favorite kettlebell exercises. I’ll describe why they’re good for paddlers and what I’m thinking about while I’m doing them. That’s helping me with my strength and my stroke.

Warm Up

1. Hip Hinge

Feet are going to be parallel, right underneath hip distance apart and you’re going to draw the hips back, bending the knees and hinging at the hips. Hinging is a way that we are lowering our body down while maintaining a neutral spine. I’m not rounding anywhere in my upper or lower back. I’m not arching anywhere in my back. I’m maintaining this nice neutral spine and the upper body is lowering down as the hips pull back. Weight stays equal in the feet and the heels, nice and balanced and I have a nice tap. I’m drawing everything in towards. My belly button up and in and down to maintain that stable core and that’s going to help me maintain a neutral spine. So we’re going to do several hip hinges going. The more you bend your knees, the lower you’re going to go and again, this is a great one to watch yourself in the mirror to watch how your legs are moving and watch if you’re maintaining a neutral spine as you lower down. This is a really great warm up for almost every strength exercise and every paddle session that I do, because this is training that primary muscle movement, especially that lowering and lifting the body back up that we’re doing with a stable core, neutral spine.  

2. Kettlebell Halos

Grab a light kettlebell. We’re going to warm up a little bit in the upper body and the shoulders. So, you’re going to grab it and hold up underneath your chin. Shoulders back, down, and wide apart. Back of the neck is long and again, a neutral spine, so pulling everything up and in towards me and what you’re going to do as the kettlebell halos around the back of your head and back to the front, is watch and see, are you arching your back? Are you jutting your head forward? You want to maintain the back of the neck long, neutral spine, there’s no forward or back movement of the body. This is a big range of motion for the shoulders. If you can’t do this with weight, you can just grab and pretend like you’re holding a weight and go ahead and bring the hands in like a sphere. Around. Core tight. Not leaning forward or back, and you’re going to do about eight in each direction. Relax your jaw. Relax your neck. Relax your shoulders. Core should be turned on and we’ve done a little bit of lengthening and activating in the back of the legs. So those are two great warm ups. The, just the hip hinge and the kettlebell halo.  

Main Set

1. Romanian Deadlift

I’m going to set up in the same way for the hip hinge, and it’s exactly the same as the hip hinge, but I’m adding weight. So feet are hip distance apart, parallel, and if you have a hard time activating the backs of the legs, go ahead and root down into your feet, and pretend like you’re spreading the floor apart. Set up here and you’re going to keep the chest up, keep the back of the neck long, keep the core stabilized and the spine neutral as you draw the hips back, bending in the knees, lowering down to about chin height. Then pressing through the heels, using the large muscles in the backs of the legs to come back up. The weight’s sliding down the front of the legs and you’re just going as low as you can while maintaining a perfectly neutral spine. Once you’ve done about 8 to 12 with your lightweight, you would slowly increase the weight depending on what type of workout you’re doing, how many reps sets, what weights you have at home. I only have two kettlebells at home, so I make my workouts based off of the weights that I have. A couple of variations on this, you can go a little bit heavier, if you’re picking your kettlebell up from the ground, you’re going to be about a foot behind it, and you’re going to go down into your hinge, and you’re going to neutral spine, tight core, back to the legs, pick it up like this, pick it up like the exact up motion of the Romanian dead left.  

2. Kettlebell Swing

I’m going to start with my lighter kettlebell and I’m going to take a different stance for this one. Set up your stance first. You’re going to be about a foot behind your kettlebell that you’re getting ready to pick up, and your feet are going to be wider than shoulder width like you’re setting up to take a squat. I also go a little bit wider on squats and kettlebell swings. I get wider than shoulder width, and the toes are pointed out just slightly. Again, you’re going to spread the floor away from you. Spread the floor underneath your feet. Draw the heels away from each other and keep a tight core, neutral spine, chest up, and back of the neck long. Go down into your hinge with this wide leg position and grab your kettlebell. Go ahead and stand up and I always do a little bit of a warm up swing. You’re going to go down like you’re going into your Romanian deadlift position and then it’s an explosive up. The down portion is just like you’re in that Romanian deadlift, except for the kettlebell swings, just behind your legs. Neutral spine. Chest out, back of the neck long and you’re going to hip thrust up, and you’re going to end shoulder height. A couple of things that I see often are people going too low on their down, so watch that you’re maintaining that neutral spine on your way down and you’re really exploding the hip thrust on the way up. This is super helpful for paddlers because what I’m feeling in my body is the lat activation. So the backs of the legs and the hips are this thrust here, and that’s going to help you so much with the thrust on your paddle stroke. But what’s key is the connection from upper body to lower body because just like paddling, the kettlebell swing is a complex full body movement. So how I connect the upper body to the lower body is in the lat activation. Grab your kettlebell and you’re going to draw the shoulders back down and wide apart. You’re going to, just like I’ve explained to you when you’re paddling, you’re going to draw the elbows down and feel the lats activate. So there’s going to be just a slight bend in the arm, and the lat is super active. You’re going to maintain that as you come up to shoulder height. You’ll feel the lats and then you’re going to control and slow down. You’re going to maintain that lat activation throughout the movement. So slight drawing down of the elbows and in, out. Slight bend of the elbows so that the lats are really firing and working on the downward movement and the legs are working on the upward movement.  

3. Goblet Squat

I’m going to set up in the same way that I set up for my Kettlebell Swing. Hips wider than shoulders, with a very slight outward turning of the toes. I’m going to anchor with an outward isometric contraction and, I’m going to send the hips back as the knees bend. Instead of stopping here, I’m going to keep going all the way down until the hips are parallel with the knees, but I’m going to maintain that nice neutral spine. That’s a squat and a goblet squat is just adding your kettlebell, holding it underneath your chin. This is back down wide apart, back of the neck long, so I’m not grounding in my upper back here. I’m keeping this all open and up. This is helpful for paddlers because I see this a lot when we’re paddling. We get rounded and we get tight, and really if I can keep the chest up and open, keep the rib cage wide, I can take nice, full, complete breaths. I want to be able to do that. So I’ve got the pad on the kettlebell under my chin, under my stance, and I’m going to send the hips back so the spine stays neutral and then down. Knees are right over my toes and thighs are parallel to the ground. I’m going to press into the heels. I’m going to squeeze my butt. I’m going to come up. Just go as low as you can before you round or arch a lot in your back, in either the upper or lower back to come back up. As you develop mobility, that’ll happen. So, I’ve done mobility talk stories too, and one that was just on the hips. Spread the floor apart, knees push wide, hips push wide, hips draw back, chest up, and press into the heels, squeeze the butt, come on. So these are Goblet Squats.


If you want to do a whole workout, go ahead and do three or more sets of these exercises in a circuit. That’s a really simple, easy, fun workout that you can just do with the kettlebell. Again, if you have a dumbbell, you can do your swings with a single dumbbell, and you can do your swings with a little bit more difficulty. You can do your swings with two dumbbells. These ones are a little bit heavy for me to do a double kettlebell swing with. Same thing with the goblet squat. You can hold it here, just balancing on the collarbone, but being held by the elbows drawing down, the lats active, back of the neck long, chest open, and here. So those would be the dumbbell modifications. Those were five exercises. Three exercises and two warm ups that you could do as a circuit and if you are looking for more, I write training programs. Strength training and these types of circuit workouts and kettlebell workouts are included in your program. So if you are looking for a workout, reach out, and let me know. Additionally make sure that you’re on my mailing list so that you’re not just relying on social media to get notified of when I have talk stories or upcoming events and retreats. Thank you so much for being here, for practicing some kettlebell skills and exercises with me and reach out, I’d love to hear your questions, I’d love to hear what else you want to hear about and maybe I’d love to work with you on paddle and strength training so, have a beautiful, beautiful rest of your day! As always, I hope this is helpful!