This is the most common question I receive when asked about Kettlebell training. “Why?” I get it. The bell can look intimidating to you. Upon actually “playing” with it for a second, it can even feel foreign. Transitioning from a world of barbells and dumbbells can be challenging. Both mentally and physically. I know because I’ve actually done it! This blog post will be dedicated to showing you a few reasons why the Kettlebell reigns supreme when training for practically ANYTHING.
“Strength is the foundation for development of the rest of physical qualities”. (Prof. Leonid Matveyev) No matter your objective, strength is going to be necessary for you to achieve it. A sprinter needs powerful legs and a strong core for optimal performance. A gymnast demands great mobility and strength from the body to deliver the intended result. Simply put, to be great you must first be strong. Kettlebell training teaches the student how to master tension and relaxation for optimal performance. You will learn how much energy to exert at any given movement to deliver the force needed to complete it. It’s no coincidence that the elite athletes in any given sport are also strong in comparison to others in that same sport.
I’ve spent countless hours in commercial gyms watching guys “go hard” for years. The one thing that always sticks out to me is their tunnel vision on a “workout”. How many times have you seen anyone spend more than one minute on stretching or mobility movements. We spend 30 minutes of a 60 minute workout session on biceps. The remaining 30 minutes on triceps. Then we leave. What good is a strong bicep if we cant move it to use the strength in it. No use in strong arms if you can’t properly hip hinge to lift something heavy. The movement in the picture above is the Turkish Get Up. You can be the strongest man or woman on the planet, but if you have bad hip and back mobility this move is torture. Kettlebell training incorporates it all, with a piece of equipment so small it can be stored almost anywhere.
I still remember the day one of my trainers Jen said to me, “Remi…we train for life.” That has always stuck with me. What are you training for? A lunge is essentially how you should get up from the floor. Are you even using your glutes to do this? A squat is essentially how you should sit in a chair. Do you know when to activate tension and when to relax? A Deadlift is how you would pick something heavy up off the ground. Are you properly performing this movement? We do these things hundreds of times each year and they compound. If done incorrectly, you will feel it in your older age. Kettlebell training teaches proper execution of these moves WITH a load. So you are prepared for old age with strong muscles and bones to assist you in everyday movements.
There are many exits on the fitness highway. I have entered many with minimal results. Once I grabbed a kettlebell and learned how to swing, I knew my body was becoming stronger. I felt my mobility increase. Once I became a student of strength, I learned the advantage of tension. When to use it and how to use it. I would suggest some form of kettlebell training for everyone reading this. Even if it is used as an addition to a current training plan. The benefits are enormous! Train smart and train safe.