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Kettlebells - Breaching Doors to Success

October 20, 2004 01:19 PM

Kettlebells are like special operations -there are constantly new challenges to overcome. Recently we conducted a hostage rescue operation that required our team to break out a window in order to establish communications with the suspect inside the house. This window was approximately five feet off the ground. Our intelligence said the suspect was armed with a shotgun and holding three children hostage inside the house. As we attempted to breakout the window with an ASP baton, we discovered that the window was half-inch think lexan, and the baton bounced off with no effect.

When the team leader called, "Breacher up," it was my job to lift our 40lb. ram 5 feet in the air, and swing it horizontally through the window, and do my very best to not get shot. Conventional breaching with a ram is a linear, vertical movement, much like a kettlebell swing. This situation was much different and led to the development of what I call the 'breacher's twist'.

Starting the Back Rotation
Figure 1- Starting the Back Rotation

Full 90 degree rotation
Figure 2- Full 90 degree rotation

The forward acceleration
Figure 3- The forward acceleration

While most people are familiar with the Russian twist, where you sit on a slant bench and hold a plate out in front of you while rotating side to side, the Breacher's Twist incorporates all that is good about being low tech, high concept and functionally realistic.
Stand perpendicular to the handle of your KB with a shoulder width stance and take a two-handed, overlapping grip on the handle. Keep your arms straight and swing the KB to shoulder height and hold it there, crushing the handle to keep it extended straight in front of you. Slowly draw back towards your right side, by rotating your hips. When your upper body is approximately 90 degrees to your lower body, rapidly rotate your hips to the left as if you were swinging a bat. Be sure and keep your upper body tight, applying all of the high-tension techniques. Focus on your grip, your lats, and your glutes. As your swing builds momentum, the KB will want to rotate laterally in your hands, be sure to not let it move. When doing this movement I attempt to accelerate the bell as fast as possible on the forward rotation without loosing my grip. Do not fight the momentum once you have begun the swing. Then try it from the other direction.
The breacher's twist requires tremendous focus as it targets the entire torso, shoulders and hands. Start slowly and build up your reps. We are currently using this exercise to ensure a one knock entry.
Kettlebells can open doors for you too!!!

A currently serving SWAT officer, Devin Reynolds, RKC is a graduate of numerous government and private schools emphasizing tactics, use of force, and fighting skills. Mr. Reynolds is an NRA and FBI certified firearms instructor who conducts civilian training in all areas of combat, both armed and unarmed including Street Survival / Use of Force, SHARP (Sexual Harassment / Assault and Rape Prevention), OC Spray, Baton, and Knife. Upcoming classes can be located at Reynolds is available for private and group training, in the Mid South Region and can be contacted at or by phone, (901) 337-7411.