For as long as we remember, Barbells and Dumbbells have long been the primary equipment of an effective training program. And trust me – I’m not denying that! The results show for themselves when they’re used to build strength, muscle, and overall sculpt an impressive physique. However, cue the ‘newer’ ‘kid on the block’. Cue the Kettlebell.
Where Did The Kettlebell Come From?
Believe it or not, the development of kettlebells can be traced back to Russian farmers in the 1700s, as an implement originally used to weigh crops. The farmers noticed that they became stronger through the use of these implements, and used them to show off their strength at festivals. Later, the kettlebell was then used as a training tool for the Soviet army. Pretty cool ‘eh?
Kettlebell Training vs Dumbbell Training
While Kettlebells and Dumbbells can both be used to train similar movements and exercises, Kettlebell training has the definite advantage of being able to produce ‘airborne’ movements as such, more easily than dumbbells. These are movements that produce maximum velocity and acceleration over the shortest amount of time. As far as airborne movements go using a Kettlebell, it all begins and ends with the common Kettlebell swing. This is exactly why our Rev-Coaches teach all beginners using a kettlebell with the ‘Russian Swing’.
The ‘Russian Swing’
Before I go on, let me make it known that a Kettlebell Swing is a hinge movement and NOT a squat. This means that the move originates with the hips, not the knees. However, it doesn’t stop there. With a Kettlebell Swing, every muscle in your body is involved in every rep, with a specific emphasis on the entire posterior chain. A proper swing involves bending at the hips, not the knees, and using a strong contraction and thrust of the glutes to drive the Kettlebell upwards. Not over yet! Then, your lats and abdominals take over to control the Kettlebell as it transitions from the upswing to the downswing, before you repeat the process and rep all over again. Along with the likes of the Deadlift, Cleans and Snatches, the Kettlebell Swing is in an elite class of exercises that work your entire body in one movement. Perfect for results!
The Benefits of Kettlebell Training
So, let me get on to the bit where I tell you how it can help you gain the results you want…
It’s a Functional Movement.
The use of a Kettlebell is classed as a functional exercise at its best. While a lot of resistance machines in commercial gyms, and certain exercises train our muscles individually, Kettlebell exercises train your body as a whole; utilising almost every muscle group working together. Coming to think about it, this is much more valuable to our day to day lives due to our bodies rarely, if ever, using our muscles in isolation. By working in conjunction with other muscles, we can efficiently perform tasks, prevent injuries, and build strength, and by using a Kettlebell the ethos remains the same and trains our entire body.
It Increases Both Our Cardio and Strength
Because of the airborne nature of using a Kettlebell, we can also improve our cardiovascular ability while strengthening our hips, legs, lower back, and core in a very short amount of time. You won’t find much other equipment that allows you to increase your capacity in both cardio and strength that’s for sure!
It Increases Our Power
Power is defined as ‘the body’s ability to generate as much force as possible, as quickly as possible.’ And is sought after to better ourselves with regards to our performance and technique. Due to all classic Kettlebell exercises like the Swing, Snatch, and Clean having to be performed in a fast, explosive manner, using a Kettlebell teaches to us to extend and fire through our hips, consequently strengthening our glutes, and taking the stress off our lower back. By repeating these movements over and over again it in turn increases our power-endurance, and in a competitive situation, it’s usually the athletes that can sustain power and explosiveness over an extended period of time that come out on top.
Kettlebells Are Great For Home Workouts!
Why? Well, you don’t need a lot of room to perform kettlebell exercises. To be honest most of them could actually be performed in the toilet! They also require very little storage, which makes them excellent options If you don’t want to show them off on your mantelpiece in your living room!
Kettlebell’s Can Help To Combat Lower Back Pain
Revolution has found out with our clients that the biggest cause of low back pain is weak glute muscles. The glutes are the largest muscles in the human body and are responsible for almost all movement. When the glutes are weak and don’t fire correctly, a lot of the work they should be doing is taken over by our lower back muscles, which are not designed to do as much work as the glutes. By learning how to use a Kettlebell correctly, it teaches us to extend and fire through our hips, therefore strengthening our glutes, and taking the stress off our lower back. Goodbye back pain!
In keeping the theme of our back and posterior chain, Kettlebell training has the ability to improve posture, as well as spinal stability, which will help prevent injuries. As our Rev-Coaches constantly reminds us all, our posterior chain is responsible for our posture, and when these muscles are weak, our posture is normally poor with our shoulders rolled forward and our back rounded over. Poor posture increases our risk for nagging aches and pains, and not to mention a poor appearance. So how can a Kettlebell resolve this? Well, due to consistent training, Kettlebell exercises strengthen the entire posterior chain, and in turn helps us to keep our shoulders pulled back, with a neutral spine. This is our body’s natural position and reduces our risk of injury issues.
Cardio Without The Cardio
Most people who love resistance training tend to hate traditional cardio. I can safely say that I am NOT one of these people, however I’m surrounded by those who are! I’d put money on our Rev Coaches saying that the thought of jogging on a treadmill, or swaying back and forth on an elliptical for an hour is torture which is why you’ll never catch the doing it! However, by using a kettlebell it actually provides many of the benefits of that traditional cardio and more! The reason kettlebell training is a great alternative to cardio is that number 1. It’s not boring, and number 2. It gives us the added bonus of training multiple energy systems. The two main energy systems we use during exercise, is the aerobic system which is used during sustained periods of activity, and the anaerobic energy system. The aerobic energy system relies on the oxygen the body draws in for energy, whereas the anaerobic energy system, on the other hand, uses stored energy for an activity usually lasting less than 15 seconds.
Lastly, Kettlebell’s Are Fun!
Using Kettlebells in and out of the gym, is probably the most fun you can have when working out hard! They’re quick and great for a friendly competition with your workout buddy!
So, there you have it. Revolution’s definite guide to the ‘Kettlebell! J