Kettlebell training is accessible and practical for everybody. Whether you are an elite athlete looking for an edge or looking to discover fitness for the first time. Kettlebells seem like a new phenomenon featured in fitness magazines, TV shows and gym facilities, but they are not that new, in fact they have been around for over 300 years.
Kettlebells can be traced back to Russia where they were used as weighing measure for importing and exporting grains and other goods. As a training tool, they have been used by old school strongmen from the late 1800’s and in the 1980s the Russian military kettlebells were seen as the most efficient way of getting troops into fighting shape fast and were nicknamed “The handheld gym.”
What are the benefits?
When you swing a Kettlebell every part of your body is involved in each and every rep. Your body is always working by producing force (swinging up) or reducing force as it swings back between the legs.
Swinging Kettlebells works your cardio vascular and muscular system at the same time, making Kettlebells a fantastic conditioning tool – working the body inside and out. The unique shape of the Kettlebell allows for greater endurance and smooth transition in core lifts like swings, cleans, press, snatch and squats.
Real World Strength
The essence of functional training is that it has a solid purpose in the real world. Even picking up a kettlebell correctly will help in the real world as it’s not just about being strong in the gym.
Other benefits include:
Use them anywhere – Kettlebells are portable and the freedom that they give you are unmatched by any machine you find in a gym. You can train in your bedroom, in front of the TV or even in your backyard. You don’t need a lot of space. And when you’re done, you can store them almost anywhere (mine is under my bed ;-).
Variation to workouts – There are so many different movements that you can combine into a workout. Start to get bored with your routine or just want to keep it interesting from the beginning? Put together a brand new workout or rotate between a few of your favourites to keep things fresh. The weight in a kettlebell is naturally off balance so at each moment, you must be focused on the movement. The result is improved coordination and greater mental focus.
Fat loss – Kettlebells demand the use of compound movements; in short, they work nearly every muscle in your body. This triggers a dramatic hormonal response that burns a lot of calories both during and after the workout. A study released in 2010 revealed that kettlebell work can burn up to 20.2 calories per minute.
Strengthen the posterior chain – the posterior chain is one of the most important sets of muscles you have and they run right up the back of your body. They include the lower back, the glutes, the hamstrings, and also the calves. The Posterior Chain is all to often neglected, why? Simply because none of them are mirror muscles. This is not only a shame but it can lead to various aches and pains plus a poor posture.
Muscular strength – kettlebell training is a great way to pack on functional size and strength. Exercises using two kettlebells such as the Double Front Squat, Double Swing or Double Snatch, Double Military Press or Double Bent- Over Row are all great exercises to add to your workouts to increase muscular strength. The more weight that your body has to work against, the more intense the exercise is and the more hypertrophy will be developed.
Muscular endurance – Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. Kettlebell high repetition snatches or swings, develops a strong work capacity and anaerobic threshold.
Better movement – Exercising regularly with kettlebells helps you strengthen your entire posterior chain and this is key not only to helping improve your athletic performance, but for simply standing taller, improving your posture and resolving any joint or mobility issues resulting in you moving better.
Flexibility – The offset weight of a kettlebell forces more muscles to stabilize and allows for the body to take each exercise through a longer range of motion. The increased range of motion will improve flexibility as well as improve the strength of deeper stabilizing muscles.
Kettlebell training will help bring out the athlete in you, even if you have never played sport. Compelling in a way a treadmill or plate-loaded machine can never be, kettlebell work outs require balance, coordination, core control, hand-eye coordination and teach you to move like an athlete.