The Benefits of Kettlebell Training
This is the second installment in a series of articles about kettlebells. Here I will highlight to you, the benefits I have found in kettlebell training – in myself and in my clients.
Functional movement and strength
Kettlebells are much more than just weights you can swing around. They can teach a system of movement and strength that will carry over to your everyday life and sporting endeavours – whether that is running, football, boxing, or just being active with your family.
The difference between free weights and kettlebells is that the handle of the kettlebell extends the centre of gravity below where you hold the weight. This puts a greater demand on the body’s stabilising muscles. These are the muscles that aren’t directly involved in lifting/moving the kettlebell, but help to keep the body steady so the working muscles can do their job properly. Stabilising muscles support your core, limit movement in a joint, and control balance.
Traditional kettlebell movements like the swing, snatch, and the clean, use muscles all over the body, and force the entire body to move as one coordinated unit – which will better equip you for movements in everyday life.
I have seen functional benefits in my own clients, through improvements in coordination and muscle control. Many of my clients have also reported that they can feel the improvements in their everyday life, even in simple things like walking up stairs. I don’t credit all of these improvements to kettlebell training, however it would have had a contributing role.
Efficient and effective
With the amount of muscles used in a kettlebell workout, you can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. Many of my own kettlebell workouts are under 20 minutes. Kettlebell workouts use the whole body and get the heart pumping. Workouts can be very intense – which means they are efficient and effective way of burning fat and building fitness.
Explosiveness and speed
Performing high-intensity explosive movements such as the kettlebell swing and snatch, will force your central nervous system to contract muscles forcefully and rapidly. This will help develop your explosiveness and speed. I have experienced this first hand, in my powerlifting training, and in my clients, with improvements in explosive movements such as sprinting and box jumps. Kettlebell workouts can be a fun way to train for explosiveness.
Development of the posterior kinetic chain
When many of my clients first start training with me, they struggle to the recruit muscles of their posterior kinetic chain. This includes butt muscles, lower back, and hamstrings. The kettlebell swing is a fantastic exercise to promote recruitment and coordination among these muscles, and helps to correct posture, muscle imbalances between the back and front of the body, and reduces lower back pain.
These are just some of the benefits I have personally experienced through my own training, and the training of my clients. In my next two posts, I will share with you some of my favourite kettlebell workouts.