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  • Workout Tips
  • Kettlebells
  • WHY KETTLEBELLS?


    Kettlebells have become the number one resistance tool in Australia.

    They are a centuries old training tool, which use fell out of favour in the West, with the advent of machine based training.

    Luckily it retained its popularity in the eastern bloc countries of Europe where it became a sport.

    Through the work of specific companies and dedicated trainers spreading the word, slowly but surely kettlebells regained its popularity.
    Appearing on TV shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’ and used extensively by UFC fighters helped the kettlebell have its rebirth.

    Through all this though, a lot of people are asking what they are. What are the benefits, what is it history?

    Below is a brief outline of the above. In future articles I will go into more depth on training, exercise technique and program design. Enjoy!

    WHAT IS A KETTLEBELL?


    The kettlebell has been described as looking like a cannonball with a handle. It is basically a steel ball or round cast iron weight with a handle. As the handle of the kettlebell is separated from the weight, it gives it a displaced centre of mass and as such makes it very unique. This design allows the kettlebell to be used in a way very different to that of traditional dumbbells. Originally from Russia, the kettlebell is gaining prominence throughout the world for its amazing benefits. Kettlebell training is not easy. It is challenging both mentally and physically, however the benefits are well worth the effort. Kettlebell training is very technical and as such it is important to develop the basic techniques before progressing.

    EVOLUTION OF THE KETTLEBELL


    The kettlebell is a traditional Russian training tool, which has been used for well over three centuries, and was used mainly by the Russian military to help develop full body conditioning and fitness for its soldiers. In the 1940’s kettlebell training became so popular in Russia that it became a national sport. Known as Girevoy, it is a sport where specific lifts are performed continuously for 10 minutes with the goal to do as many repetitions as possible in the allotted timeframe.
    Only recently has kettlebell training begun to infiltrate the training methodologies of people outside of Russia. Because of its unique shape it allows you to position the weight directly over your centre of mass, and allows you to keep your hands and wrists in neutral alignment. This unique design allows you to do things with a kettlebell that you just can’t do with a dumbbell. With its displaced centre of mass the kettlebell will allow your joints to experience dynamic instability and a greater range of movement. It is also a ballistic training tool, making the body produce, redirect and resist force. Kettlebell training is functional training in its purest form. All exercises require full body integration and core stabilisation with a major emphasis on the posterior chain, primarily the hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and trapezius muscles making it a valuable tool in the fight to lessen the incidence of back pain.

    Optimal human movement is largely dependent on good functioning of the kinetic chain. The kinetic chain is the integration of 3 systems in the body; the muscular, the nervous and the skeletal system. The kinetic chain is designed to absorb, distribute and produce forces in the body. When training a client or yourself it is important to create a program that focuses training all aspects of the kinetic chain including developing functional capacity and mobility.

    Due to its ability to increase athletic performance, kettlebell training is becoming a major part of conditioning programs for some of the best athletes in the world. With the great aerobic demands of kettlebell training it results in greater calorie expenditure and creates stronger leaner bodies. Kettlebell training is not specifically designed for bodybuilders or those just wanting to gain large amounts of muscle, however if bodybuilders introduced a small amount of kettlebell training into their workouts it would have massive positive impacts. Given the nature of ballistic kettlebell exercises and its emphasis on core training it will help increase their regular lifts thus making them stronger and more muscular.

    BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING


    As mentioned previously, due to the unique design of the kettlebell it allows you to train in a completely different manner than that of machines, cables or dumbbells and as a result some of the benefits you will see are:

    Ability to produce and reduce force
    Increased strength
    Increased strength endurance
    Increased aerobic endurance
    Improved athleticism
    Increased flexibility
    Increased shoulder stability
    Injury prevention
    Increased core strength
    Increased strength of the posterior chain
    Increased motor control and co-ordination
    Increased lean muscle mass
    Weight loss
    Improved grip strength

    So in conclusion we can see why the kettlebell has come back into prominence, its unique shape, its plethora of benefits and its ability to work the body as a whole makes it the number one resistant tool in Australia.

    Courtesy of Tough Love Kettlebells - www.toughlovekettlebells.com.au