Kettlebells are fucking rad.
At MFF, kettlebells are our primary weapon of glory in our classes. We love them! And today, I’ll tell you a little bit about why we’ve found them so valuable.
Kettlebells have become a fitness mainstay since their reintroduction into American fitness in the early 2000’s. Although these cast iron cannonballs-with-handles had been a staple of Russian strength and conditioning for decades, it wasn’t until the “Evil Russian” Pavel Tsatsouline developed his instructor certification that they exploded.
Although no single tool is the end-all be-all, if you’re not already using kettlebells in your training, I recommend adding them into your regime!
3 Reasons Kettlebells Kick Ass
#1 Efficiency! – They’re super efficient. More so than even dumbbells or barbells, you can easily do a lot of stuff with kettlebells.
Dumbbells are great, but the center of gravity is in the handle. Kettlebells have a center of gravity outside their handles, which allows us to do a number of cool things (discussed below) that you simply can’t do with dumbbells.
And barbells are awesome, but a teeny bit clunky. You can bring a single kettlebell to the beach and kick your own ass. Pulling a barbell out of your car trunk is a bit trickier (if totally BADASS).
With just one kettlebell, you can add external load (more weight than just your body) to a squat or lunge, you can overhead press, you can challenge your stability by doing exercises in the “bottoms up” position (the kettebell is upside down… crazy!), you can do Turkish Get-Ups, you can do windmills, you can do bent-over rows and, unique to kettlebells themselves, you can do one of our very favorite exercises, the kettlebell swing!
Additionally, this wide variety of potential exercises means you can more easily put together “complexes” (a series of different exercises done without putting the weight down) with a wider variety of movements than you can with dumbbells or barbells.
#2 Offset Center of Mass Promotes Technique And Safety – The mass of a kettlebell is centered outside the handle, allowing you to get into some cool shit safely and effectively.
In overhead pressing, the additional weight resting behind your forearm helps you find a good biomechanical position. This is one of the reasons we love kettlebells for overhead work.
Additionally, the “front racked” position allows us to load up a squat in the front of the body in a unique way compare to a traditional barbell front squat.
Lastly, this offset center of gravity is what allows us to effectively do power training with minimal technical demands. Now to be clear, any time you’re moving load with speed (the definition of power), you really need to be spot on with technique. However, some exercises take more time than others to perfect.
Learning to do power movements (things like Olympic lifts) with a barbell requires a steeper learning curve and often times greater amounts of starting mobility and stability. And while there are unique benefits to Olympic lifting, for general health and hotness, most folks benefit from the option of a shorter journey to safe and effective technique.
Explosive movements with just your body (jumps, plyo push-ups) are also a great tool, but for some people who are newer to training and have a lot of body mass, it’s actually safer to start off with kettlebells.
By employing kettlebell swings (and other sexy moves like cleans and snatches), we get a lot of the performance and fat burning benefits of power moves in a less technically demanding situation.
If all of the above-mentioned benefits weren’t enough…
#3 Kettlebells Are Fucking Bad Ass – Yep, not the most science-y point, but true nonetheless. There’s just something cool about flinging around a metal cannonball with a handle. While the actual utility is still probably the most important thing, part of the reason kettlebells have taken off is because they’re sexy.
And sexy is NEVER a bad thing when enticing someone to kick fitness ass!
Kettlebells. Are. SEX.
No tool is an end-all be-all. Kettlebells, like any fitness implement, have their downsides. There are some things you just can’t do with them, and a well rounded fitness program will always include a wide array of tools when seeking the best health and hotness results.
If you haven’t yet given kettlebells I try, I highly recommend them. As I hope you see, they’re no passing fad and provide a number of unique benefits.
Plus after you train with these Russian baddies, you can totally drink vodka as your post-workout drink, as studies show this will exponentially increase your overall awesomeness!
(For safety’s sake, we recommend drinking AFTER using kettlebells, not BEFORE.)
Now I want to hear from YOU!
Have you tried kettlebells? If so, have you found them useful? Are you interested in getting started but not sure where to begin? Leave a comment and lemme know how I can help!
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