It was three years ago when I was at my local gym and well into my second set of my weights session, when it occurred to me that my workout lacked something. Each session was tough, but simple overloading wasn’t as fun and challenging as it once was. Then I watched the movie 300 and wondered how they trained these regular actors to look like Spartan warriors. That week another one of the Coaches notified me of an introduction to Kettlebells course, so after finding out all the information, the potential for my personal workouts (as well as the DOMS I had for following five days), and benefits for my clients, I knew that I had found the bit of equipment that I was looking for, so I attended the course.
In this generation where it seems that what is old is now new again, the Kettlebell has been brought back to life after its beginning and progression through eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, for Strongman competitions and training. It is now one of the most used pieces of equipment in Crossfit training regimes, and is widely used for conditioning for most sports, including mixed martial arts. Its basic structure of an iron cast ball with a handle enables the user to complete full body functional movements as the ball will continue to swing the full range of motion around the handle, making the Kettlebell the choice over dumbbells, medicine balls, and plates for this type of training.
The Kettlebell is great for high intensity strength and conditioning training, and in some of its regressed exercises, can also be great for rehabilitation for lower limb injuries in getting the ankle, knee and hip joints working together once again for regular day activities. Due to its ability to travel through a full range of motion and beyond, it’s great for flexibility, and from what I’ve found, more specifically around the shoulder and hip joints. As the cast iron ball applies force towards the ground with the varying grip positions and exercise actions, the body requires a lot of core strength and muscular power. With its ability to engage most muscles in the body in exercises such as the Turkish Get Up, it is a great calorie burner and full body conditioner. Other benefits with comparison to the Olympic bar are price, range of function, ability to progress, as well as the portability.
There are a few things to take into account regarding Kettlebell training. Incorrect technique prescription can lead to injury, especially shoulder and back with the Swing and Snatch and Clean exercises. Knowing how to commence and finish each rep is extremely important, and how to let go in a max set safely is critical for both yourself and others in the gym. Clients with joint pain, illness and or/undiagnosed injuries should abstain from training until they receive a doctor’s clearance. Finally, ensure correct grip on the handle, otherwise your gym could become a potential medieval warzone with the amount of cannon balls flying around!
With weights ranging from 2-50kg plus, Kettlebell training can be progressed from a beginner and all the way to becoming a Strongman or Strongwoman! Prices range, so ensure you do your research before making a big purchase. And before taking your training to the next level, do a course and learn the ins and outs, so you can change the way you train FOREVER!