You may have recently seen some fitness trainers in the park swinging a funny round weight with a handle. Perhaps you saw a segment on the news talking about this thing called kettlebell training and wasn’t sure what to make of it. Well one thing is for sure, although kettlebell training is new to some people, it is really starting to take off, largely thanks to American based Russian strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline’s efforts.
What exactly is a kettlebell you may ask? A kettlebell is an old style type of weight training equipment that resembles an iron bowling ball with a thick handle.
Used previously by old time strong men and popularised by Russian athletes, the kettlebell is now used by top sports teams, martial artists, athletes, Hollywood celebrities and everyday trainers throughout the world, due to the outstanding results people are getting.
The foundation kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing. The kettlebell swing can be performed either one handed or two handed and basically involves using your posterior chain (ie, your core, back, hamstrings and hips) to swing the kettlebell out in front of you and then in between your legs in a fast continuous pendulum type motion. Although kettle bell swings appear easy the following great benefits can be achieved by utilizing them in your workouts.
1). Workout efficiency is a key benefit of training with kettlebell swings as they enable you to combine resistance training and cardio training in one power packed workout.
2). Swings develop the important posterior chain muscles of the body such as the hamstrings, glutes and back. These muscles are often overlooked with traditional weight training but they are crucial for a large number of sports as these muscles are heavily involved in sprinting, jumping and tackling movements.
3). Kettlebell swings provide an extreme cardio conditioning option that is easy on knees that have suffered over the years from too much running. Swings are a perfect choice for extreme cardio workouts, whether done heavy with brief Tabata style swings working 20 seconds and resting 10 seconds or just doing swing intervals for 10 – 20 minutes on the minute with a heavy kettlebell.
4). Swings work the abs and strengthen the core muscles as they provide a stable platform for other muscles to pull from. Traditional crunches are useless and do nothing for you, hit your abs with functional abdominal training that actually has benefit in the real world.
5). Swings build your back from top to bottom. Not only is the lower back involved with kettlebell swings but the lats, traps and scapular are all involved in the movement giving you a total back training workout.
6). High rep swings also develop back endurance which Professor Stuart McGill a leading spine/back expert considers has a very positive effect on the reduction of back injuries.
7). Swings are a fantastic conditioner and body fat burner. More and more studies are concluding that greater body fat burning occurs when training is performed at higher intensity levels rather than long slow endurance type training.
These are only some of the benefits a program of kettlebell swings can provide. Although it sounds too good to be true there is a downside of kettlebell swings … they are hard work. However, if you build into your program gradually, a program based around kettlebell swing movements will provide fantastic workouts to get you fit, lean and healthy in a surprisingly short amount of time.
If this article has inspired you to look into kettlebell training further and you want to know where to get kettlebells and kettlebell information, then this website is a good source of information on kettlebells