What are kettlebells?
The kettlebell is a cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle, traditionally ranging in weight from 8kg to 48kg!
It is an ancient form of training that has been used in Russia for well over 300 years and still the primary fitness tool within the Russian military. Kettlebells are now going mainstream, and for several years have been used by the Hollywood elite to help get in shape for particular movie roles (the 300 movie being a prime example).
Everyone from professional football players to UFC fighters are discovering, studying and implementing kettlebell training in their strength and conditioning routines.
What makes the kettlebell so good?
Many kettlebell exercises involve swinging the weight, utilising the muscles of the core and upper leg. Because the weight is offset from the handle this creates inertial forces and the body has to work harder at stabilising the weight you are lifting. The exercises, therefore, work your large muscles and core stabilising muscles simultaneously and are an unbeatable tool at developing dynamic core strength.
Swinging a kettlebell involves generating power to accelerate the weight, but it also involves absorbing ballistic shock to decelerate the weight. This is similar to plyometric training, and can aid power generation by the muscles. This is also highly metabolically demanding, as a result it is a great fat burner.
What makes the kettlebell more effective than other traditional forms of training is that it asks the body to work as one unit. By performing large co-ordinated movements, you can develop a more efficient body that is functional, fast and strong.
Kettlebells are particularly good at targeting the posterior chain of muscles, often overlooked in other forms of exercise, which can help develop powerful hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles. This will help develop strength, speed and power, but will also greatly improve posture.
Kettlebells deliver the perfect combination of strength, cardiovascular fitness, explosive power, balance, mobility, agility and fat loss.