What is the kettlebell overhead lock-out and fixation?
The lock-out is where the arm is straight and resting on the skeleton system.
Fixation is where the kettlebell is in proper overhead lock-out and not moving for a split second.
Following are some of the exercises where you use the overhead lock-out (but not limited to):
- turkish get-up
- overhead squat
Requirements for a good overhead lock-out are:
- range of motion
- good handle position
- weight resting on the skeleton system
A good kettlebell lockout is where the:
- arm is straight
- elbow is locked out
- wrist is straight
- kettlebell is positioned right above the shoulder
- chest and shoulders are packed
- lats active to pull the shoulder down
- fingers loosely closed or relaxed and open
How to lock out the elbow?
You lock your elbow out by contracting your triceps, which are the muscles at the back of your upper arm (opposite of biceps).
Not having a good lockout could be cause for:
- shoulder injury
- less reps
- incomplete reps
- invalid reps
Muscles used for overhead lock-out and fixation:
- latissimus dorsi to pull the shoulder down into it’s socket
- triceps to lockout the elbow
- teres minor, to help hold the humeral head in the glenoid cavity of the scapula
- trapezius (inferior region), to depress the scapulae
- rhomboids, to push the chest out
- pronator teres, to pronate the forearm (when palm facing inwards)
- pronator quadratus, to pronate the forearm (when palm facing inwards)
Other muscles used for body lock-out, fixation and stability:
- quadriceps to lock the knees
- gluteus to lock the hips
- obliques to brace the abdomen
- abdominals to brace the abdomen
Direction of the palm
Palm can be facing outwards or inwards, I’m of the opinion that this is a personal preference and different based on body type. However, there is the fact that the palm facing outwards requires pronation of the forearm, where as palm facing inwards is a natural position and requires no pronation nor supination, thus requiring less muscle engagement.
The rest of the body for the overhead lockout:
- looking ahead
- knees straight
- hips locked out
- glutes squeezed
- core braced
I see differences between the overhead lockout in kettlebell training and kettlebell sport, in kettlebell training the lockout appears to be one straight line from the feet to the hands, where as in kettlebell sport there is an arch in the back, chest pressed out and the hands are positioned more behind the head.
Things preventing a good lock-out:
- computer shoulders, rounded shoulders
- lack of strength
- lack of flexibility
- lack of mind muscle connection
- lack of understanding what muscles to activate
Why even bother to lock-out, right? If you’re like me there has to be a reason to do something, and there are plenty of reasons to lock-out, with the main one being safety and demonstrating control of the kettlebell. If you’re not taking the time to lock-out you’re probably half arsing your reps, letting the kettlebell control you rather than the other way around.
If you’re doing competitions, whether it’s kettlebell sport, CrossFit or something else, there has to be a standard for anything overhead, the lock-out is it.
If you’re not locking out, you’re not working on shoulder stability or flexibility, and who doesn’t want a stronger shoulder with greater range of motion? If you’re not locking out, the weight is resting on the muscular system rather than the skeleton system, this would cause early fatigue.
The relative of the lock-out is the drop, the drop goes from lock-out into racking position, note that the drop is different if you’re doing a full snatch. To get access to a full article on the drop, make sure you subscribe to our website and like this page.