Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-The Kettlebell Orbit (aka Halo)-

I wanted to share one of my personal favorite shoulder mobility drills.  It’s called a Kettlebell Halo, but I now call it a Kettlebell Orbit.  

Please excuse the poor video quality.  I shot this a while back using my little ol’ laptop.

The movement is pretty straightforward.  Grab the kettlebell by the horns and get it in “bottoms up” position.  I’ve seen Halos done several different ways, but I prefer the variation i’m doing here.  “Orbit” your head with the kettlebell in a smooth motion.  When one elbow is up, the other is down.  The kettlebell should travel around your head, just as the Moon orbits the Earth.  It is for this reason that I really prefer the term “Orbit” to Halo.  🙂

I have also used a dumbbell to perform the movement.  I have found that because most dumbbells, when gripped by the ends, allow the hands to be placed in a slightly wider position, which can be more comfortable and offer more ROM for those possessing less-than-optimal shoulder mobility.  John Izzo covers a drill he calls the “Mobility S Stretch” in his “Stronger Shoulders DVD,” which is a similar drill using a dowel rod or light BodyBar that I like as well.  You place your hands at the ends of the dowel rod and perform a larger “orbit” motion.  The dowel rod allows a sufficiently wider hand placement, and therefore may be more comfortable for some people.  

For those with severely protracted shoulders, I do not recommend this movement right off the bat.


9 responses

  1. Debbie

    Thanks Sarah, I also prefer orbit to halo since it’s more descriptive. Just getting started with kettlebells so this is a simple move I can do. I have used my bodybar but this is more challenging with a heavier kettlebell. I enjoy all your kettlebell videos.

    February 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    • Hi Debbie!
      You’re welcome! Glad you’re enjoying my videos! Ideal shoulder mobility is something we all should strive for! Welcome to my blog! 🙂
      Yours in Health,

      February 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm

  2. I like the “orbit” name instead of “halo” too!

    February 28, 2009 at 6:54 am

    • YAY! Great minds think alike! 🙂 Btw, if you upload a clip of the “S Stretch” I would LOVE to post it on here…it’s a great “orbit-type” movement, John!

      February 28, 2009 at 11:56 am

  3. JMJ

    I like these. I have done Halo’s w/45 lb plate. But I like the use of the KB. Will give these a try. Good variety by using the KB.

    February 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

  4. Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

    Making Money $150 An Hour

    March 1, 2009 at 8:56 am

    • Thanks a bunch, and welcome! 🙂

      March 1, 2009 at 9:01 am

  5. My personal favorite drill for shoulder mobility is now the “arm bar.” Really opens things up and gets me ready to attack the kettlebell.

    April 6, 2009 at 6:05 am

    • Hi Sandy!
      Thanks for your input! I’m gonna check out your blog and find out more about the arm bar! I am not familiar with it, but am thinking i’ve seen it before. Is it a drill that somewhat resembles a TGU @ the start, and requires you to move underneath a stable, upright arm? If so, i’m sold! Gonna give it a shot for sure! Thanks again – i’m glad you stopped by! 🙂

      Yours in Health,

      April 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

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