If you are new to kettle bells you may be wondering things like “what is so good about them”, “what is unique about them” and “how do I get started”?
So in this short blog post I will answer those questions and more.
What is so good about kettle bells?
Well these little balls of iron can improve many components of fitness. You can:
- Build strength
- Build muscle
- Build endurance
- Build stamina
- Build mental toughness
- Build aerobic capacity
- Increase mobility
- Increase flexibility
That covers every type of physical quality there is!
Popular hardware a kettlebell can replace:
- Belts for adding weight to body weight exercises
- Grip devices
- Medicine balls
- Cardio equipment
Basically everything you’d find in a regular gym. A kettlebell is a more versatile option than each of the above.
They are also:
- Easy to learn how to use
- Versatile and fun!
- Effective and efficient
- Virtually indestructible
They offer unlimited potential for strength and fitness development. You are only limited by your imagination.
So what is unique about them?
The unique aspect of kettle bells and what differentiates them from all other resistance based training tools, is where the weight sits in relation to the handle. The centre of mass on a barbell or dumbbell is balanced either side from where you hold it. This makes it easier to control. The kettle bells centre of mass is offset to the handle and herein lies the benefit, especially for the shoulders.
This promotes mobility and stability, which sets up a foundation for extraordinary upper body strength and resilience.
The other major benefit is in training the ballistic exercises. The shape and compact size of the kettlebell allows you to accelerate it on the way down in exercises like swings and snatches. There is a growing body of research that such “virtual force” is exceptionally effective, efficient and safe at improving many components of fitness: dynamic strength, many types of endurance, muscle building ,fat loss, etc.
The kettle bells “live” weight amplifies the feedback and forces one to swing it ballistically using the hips while relaxing the arms, the way an athlete is supposed to move.
Whilst it is possible to swing dumbbells, it is not practical and doesn’t feel anywhere near as good as swinging kettle bells. Plus you can’t flow through a series of exercises (complexes) as easily. This gives the edge to kettle bells for this type of metabolic conditioning.
Ok great, how can I get start using them and incorporate them into my own training?
Every exercise you do can be categorised into movement patterns. For example, push, pull, squat. You have no doubt already performed exercises that fall into these categories. Push ups, lat pulldown and lunges for example.
Kettlebell training will introduce a potentially new movement pattern to you, and its for this reason that its recommended you seek out a suitably qualified instructor.
The hinge pattern is not well known, even many instructors and personal trainers haven’t heard of it (TIP – You know you’ve got a good one, if they have). Unless you’ve got experience with Olympic weight lifting or power lifting, chances are you haven’t heard of it.
Hinging at the hips, loads the hamstrings and glutes. These are the prime movers for the ballistic kettlebell exercises and power production in general. People who fail to seek out proper instruction, tend to make the exercise more of a knee dominant thing, and consequently struggle to gain any forward momentum.
So find a good instructor!
The next exercise to learn at the start of your kettlebell training journey, is the Turkish get up. This exercise falls under the gait pattern family of movements, so very useful for runners, sprinters, and people that like to put one leg in front of the other on a consistent basis..
The TGU is a fairly complex movement. A few quick learners may be able to teach themselves something that looks similar to a get up, but I am yet to come across someone self taught who has it completely dialed in.
These two exercises form the foundation for your training and will set you up for success in learning the more advanced kettlebell movements when you are ready to progress.
If you are interested to learn correct technique, we have a workshop on Saturday 10th December, and its only £10 to attend.
If you have any questions or would like to chat about our many different training options, please call 07800542416 and ask for Pete.