The Versatility of The Kettlebell
The kettlebell is a popular piece of exercise equipment that has a long history rooted in strength and conditioning with a renewed increase in popularity within the fitness industry. Originally a staple in Russian weightlifting, the kettlebell was best loved for the versatility of its shape and purpose. The modern kettlebell attracts men and women of all ages and fitness levels. Its wide appeal is due to the form and function of the weight, and also the extensive range of possibilities for training with it.
Bring a Shift To Your Training
While you most likely are familiar with what a kettlebell is – a bell-shaped object made of cast iron with a handle attached to the top – you might not be aware of the explosive offerings introducing this piece of equipment to your repertoire brings. It is a unique piece of equipment in that the center of mass extends beyond the user’s hand and creates an object that is multifunctional (Mannochia et al, 2013). Due to this design, the center of gravity is constantly shifting as you execute different movement patterns. This allows you to not only build strength from kettlebell workouts, but also builds stability in your core and ultimately total body. This moving center of gravity forces an individual to utilize core muscles and additional areas of the body to stabilize oneself and execute the movements. This additional benefit of core stabilization is usually reserved for isometric workouts such as Pilates and Yoga.
One Piece of Equipment = Endless Options, Creativity & Total Body Workout
Unlike the traditional dumbbell, kettlebells allow an individual to perform unilateral as well as bilateral motions with the same piece of equipment. This drastically increases the options available for muscle groups impacted by a single movement. The selection of movements you can do with a kettlebell versus traditional dumbbells is extensive. Kettlebells can be swung, lifted, pressed, held, moved and manipulated in many different ways, which allows for extreme creativity on the part of a trainer and an assurance that the client will never become bored with repetitive movements.
Because the kettlebell is so versatile, an individual can perform exercises that focus on specific and isolated muscle groups or multiple parts of the body at once. Kettlebells allow a person to use one piece of equipment to achieve a total body workout. No other equipment found in a traditional gym setting offers such adaptability. Generally speaking, a person would have to alter their equipment and vary their workouts throughout the week in order to adequately exercise and fatigue the total body.
Kettlebells are compact in size, reasonable in price and can be grouped into three weight categories (light, medium and heavy) resulting in a noticeable conservation of space, money and visual clutter. Other kinds of equipment needed to attain the same benefits can be bulky and expensive. This is a huge advantage for smaller sized gyms and studios.
Combat Sedentary Hours of Daily Life
As previously mentioned, kettlebells are unique in their ability to provide a complete body workout achieving improved cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and core conditioning results with one piece of equipment. This is because every kettlebell movement utilizes multiple muscle group activation during the workout. One reason why kettlebells are so popular is that every movement is, in fact, engaging the whole body. Kettlebell workouts are significant in combating the effects of the unavoidable sedentary hours of daily life.
Kettlebell exercises are ballistic movements in which an individual must exert maximal force concentrically and control eccentrically. This motion is the best imitation of real-life movement that exists. As people go throughout their day, every motion performed is a natural combination of concentric and eccentric movement patterns. Not only is this push-pull mentality powerful for building strength, but it is also an effective training method to improve overall performance and function in daily living. Kettlebells are known for requiring explosive power within movements. This is due to the fact that in order to swing, thrust or press a kettlebell, the individual working must exert intense power from the legs to achieve the intended movement. The effectiveness of a kettlebell movement is achieved by the constantly changing center of gravity which forces one to stabilize their body and adapt to the reverberations of movement. In the words of the late Charles Poliquin, “Strength is gained in the range that it is trained.” In this case, the entire body is the range that is responding to the force of motion by the ever-changing center of gravity.
Strength is gained in the range that it is trained. ~ Charles Poliquin
Maximize Workout Efficiency
Research has shown that a kettlebell HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout is sufficient to improve aerobic capacity (Falatic, et al. 2015). A well-programmed kettlebell workout created by a certified personal trainer (CPT) can be short, intense and incredibly effective. Meaning, a single HIIT kettlebell workout can improve strength, cardiovascular function, proprioception and balance which creates an incredibly efficient workout.
It is critically important for a novice kettlebell athlete to have some initial training from a certified kettlebell trainer to ensure proper movement standards and execution with kettlebells. According to Darci Kruse, Director of Education at NETA, “Proper execution of a kettlebell exercises requires core stability and dynamic control. As the bell is moving with momentum, participants should have adequate strength to control the path of the bell. Most traditional exercises rely on a strong hip drive with a braced core and properly stacking the joints; failure to maintain a strong, stable base can result in injury.” As with all weightlifting exercises, the benefits of the movements drastically increase when properly executed even in a fatigued physical state. Once your form starts to deteriorate, the impact of the workout significantly declines. Improper form in weightlifting leads not only to inefficiency and reduced effectiveness but can also cause avoidable injuries.
Adding the NETA Kettlebell Specialty Certification to your qualifications as a trainer is an invaluable addition to your skillset. Learning about this remarkable piece of equipment will allow any fitness professional to create workouts that can accomplish so much more for their clients than a traditional dumbbell or a barbell workout. Truly understanding the value and potential of kettlebells can set you apart as a master trainer. Your clients will experience greater results in less time through the use of kettlebell training. Click here to learn more about our live workshop and online kettlebell specialty certifications.
Manocchia, P., Spierer, D., Lufkin, A., Minichiello, J., & Castro, J. (2013) Transference of kettlebell training to strength, power, and endurance. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nsca- jscr/Fulltext/2013/02000/Transference_of_Kettlebell_Training_to_Strength,.26.aspx
Falatic, A., Plato, P.., Holder, C., Finch, D., Han, K., & Cisar, C. (2015) Effects of kettlebell training on aerobic capacity; The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nsca- jscr/Fulltext/2015/07000/ Effects_of_Kettlebell_ Training_on_Aerobic_Capacity. 22.aspx
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