The kettlebell drop

The Kettlebell Drop! From Overhead and Racking

The kettlebell drop doesn’t always get the attention it deserves as a topic of its own. The kettlebell drop goes from overhead lock-out into the racking position, note that the drop is different if you’re doing a full snatch and does not return into racking then. I’m covering the kettlebell drop from racking, the half drop. This drop either enters the backswing, hang, or path to dead.

The drop can be a controlled movement to take advantage of the down phase, it can be a literal drop, i.e. just letting the weight fall down into a racking position, a controlled drop, or it can be a pull-down in which the drop is accelerated by pulling it down into racking position. What you use depends on your goals, if you’re training for strength and your program requires you to take advantage of the eccentric phase then you would control the down phase and perform it as slowly as possible, if you’re going for high reps, speed and power then you’d want the kettlebell to come down as quickly as possible and choose either the drop or pull.

In a drop where you do not want to take advantage of the eccentric phase, you’ll want to bring your body towards the weight by bringing the heels off the ground, essentially bringing in two factors that will be slowing down and take the impact of the weight, that is the calves/ankles and quads/knees, a third one could be brought into play if required, and only if the previous two did not do the job, that is the hips and coming into a squat, but only when working with extremely heavy weight should you even have to think about this last one. The following video demonstrates the heels coming off the ground.

When the weight is coming down, you come onto the balls of your feet, bringing your upper body closer to the weight, as soon as the weight is coming into a racking position the calves will provide the first deceleration until the heels are on the ground, then the knees bend to provide the last deceleration with the quads. After a drop, it’s common to come into full body lockout.

Only if you’re performing a controlled drop for the eccentric phase of the press should the body be tense and all joints straight when receiving the kettlebell, doing so with any other variation of the drop could be a cause for knee or other injuries.

The naming for the kettlebell drop:

  • Drop from overhead into racking (half drop)
  • Drop from overhead into backswing (full drop)
  • Drop from overhead to dead (full drop)
  • Drop from racking into backswing (half drop)
  • Drop from racking into hang (half drop)
  • Drop frame racking to dead (half drop)

Kettlebell Press

  1. Straight standing position
  2. Create tension
  3. Press
  4. Overhead lockout
  5. Fixate
  6. Drop from overhead into racking (heel lift variation)
    1. lift heels
    2. make contact
    3. calves provide deceleration
    4. heels touch
    5. knees bend
    6. quads provide deceleration
  7. Rack
  8. Repeat

Note: December 2016, Google provides no results for the kettlebell drop other than to cover the drop for the snatch, which is a full drop. On that note, a more appropriate name for this part of anything overhead would be half drop or full drop.

Don’t forget to check out our FREE kettlebell fundamentals and what is kettlebell training?

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