Kettlebell Training 101
I've seen, studied, and used almost every quality fitness tool and worthless infomercial gadget introduced to the marketplace over the last couple decades. Quite a few of them get regular use at my gym… but I'd need three times the gym space to hold what's been tossed in the dumpster out back!
I'm quite open-minded and will try just about anything with my clients. After all, mainstream folks need variety more than anything to stay motivated. We use bands, barbells, medicine balls, rings, punching bags, dumbbells, stability balls, spinning bikes, bosu balls, and about a dozen other fun tools.
My favorite tool (and the core of most of my training) is the kettlebell. A kettlebell looks like a cannonball with a suitcase handle welded to the top. It's a hunk of iron with a long, rich history that is virtually unknown in America. Kettlebells have been used for centuries in Eastern Europe and are beloved for the strength they impart. The kettlebell might seem completely unfamiliar to you… but think back to early childhood. Most people have a fuzzy recollection of the circus strongmen in Bugs Bunny cartoons tossing them about. Are you with me now?
I was originally drawn to the kettlebell because of its simplicity and unique shape. It is an undeniable chunk of iron. I can't imagine anyone hanging the "infomercial gadget" sign on a kettlebell. This is clearly a serious strength tool. As I began to study this simple, utilitarian looking implement, I discovered a deeper training philosophy surrounding its historic use.
For hundreds of years, kettlebell use has focused on muscle integration rather than isolation. Nearly every drill recruits multiple muscle groups to work in unison. The body is trained as a whole and particular emphasis is focused on the core and back muscles. Isn't it interesting to see the "new" paradigm in American fitness shifting to a radical "new" philosophy of functional training? Kettlebells represent functional training in its purest sense… and have been doing so since before the discovery of electricity.
You don't technically even need a kettlebell to experience some of the philosophy surrounding it. The variety of kettlebell drills is staggering. Many of the more advanced drills simply aren't possible to perform with a dumbbell.