When it comes to kettlebell training people have many questions. Some are uninformed and unsure where to turn, some are misinformed and others simply misunderstand. Some have had bad experiences with unqualified trainers using kettlebells improperly as if they are nothing more than oddly shaped dumbbells, missing the point entirely and never getting to experience their unique potential and benefits.
I’ve written this post to answer the following questions:
- What is a kettlebell?
- Why do people train with kettlebells?
- What makes the kettlebell special?
- Are Kettlebells Dangerous?
- How do I start to learn how use kettlebells properly?
WHAT IS A KETTLEBELL?
Kettlebells are hand held weights shaped like cannonballs with a handle. They have been around for hundreds of years and in the last 10 years or so have returned to the spotlight due to the teachings of Pavel Tsatsouline and the kettlebell revolution he has inspired. The kettlebell’s unique design allows for a wide variety of standard lifts as well as extremely powerful specialized lifts which are unique to the kettlebell.
WHY KETTLEBELL TRAINING?
The beauty of kettlebell training is in it’s elegant simplicity, versatility, freedom and scalability.
No other single piece of equipment will allow you to accomplish so much in so little time, can be used or taken anywhere and can be made as challenging or as easy as necessary. A young teenager can learn to safely swing a 24kg, a strong athlete in his or her prime can be challenged and made to sweat bullets with a 12kg kettlebell or a 70 year old grandma can learn to safely deadlift the massive 48kg.
Dumbbells and Barbells are unquestionably powerful & effective tools and the barbell is the undisputed king when it comes to lifting very heavy weight, but the kettlebell’s unique design gives it the following advantages:
- Kettlebells are small, portable and versatile.
- They can be taken anywhere, and require minimal space
- They allow you to perform all the lifts and movements used with barbells and dumbbells, plus they allow you to do many things that can’t be duplicated with dumbbells and barbells.
- They can be passed from hand to hand
- They can be held in different ways manipulating leverage.
- They allow for keeping a safe neutral wrist position while lifting.
- They are great for stretching with.
- They allow for greater range of motion and more degrees of freedom.
- They can be swung between the legs and safely accelerated during the negative phase for a powerful training effect.
- They allow for safely executing high repetition quick lifts.
- They can be stacked, thrown, dragged and even juggled.
- The off-balance center of provides an extra degree of challenge strengthening stabilizers and forcing the entire body to work together as a single unit.
- Additionally, the kettlebell’s versatility makes it the perfect tool for learning the principles used to make you safer, stronger while training so you can then apply them to any other modality including the barbell, dumbbell, bodyweight, TRX and more.
THE POWER OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING
If you want to escape the gym, the combination of bodyweight and kettlebell training gives you the freedom and the ability to train anywhere, on your own terms and only requires a small amount of space.
If you seek a versatile tool that allows you to train for strength, flexibility, power, endurance and fat-loss, no other single piece of equipment does it better. Kettlebells allow to perform the same lifts as dumbbells and barbells + many powerful lifts that can only be performed with kettlebells.
If you want to burn calories, kettlebell ballistics which burn over 20 calories per minute are hard to beat.
If you love variety, the kettlebell’s unique design makes it possible to perform an endless variety of exercises, combinations and complexes without the need to change equipment, set the bell down or wait in line at the gym.
If you want to be challenged, the simplest kettlebells workouts have proven to humble the strongest athletes.
If you seek simplicity, look no further. Thousands of people have experienced amazing results (losing 100lbs?) from programs consisting of only one or two kettlebell techniques.
As powerful as kettlebell training can be, it’s not about the kettlebell.
The kettlebell is only a tool. Without the proper expertise it’s nothing more than an oddly shaped dumbbell… or a doorstop.
Powerful and effective kettlebell training is first and foremost about moving well, then matching the right techniques to the individual, combining that with intelligent programming and the application of proven principles. This can be difficult or impossible to learn on your own through books, videos and internet forums. There is a proven process to follow, but more on that later.
ARE KETTLEBELLS DANGEROUS?
Kettlebells are like any powerful tool, the magic is in HOW you use them and they are firm adherents of the “garbage-in-garbage-out” principle. When used properly and expertly they can produce amazing results … and when used inappropriately, inexpertly or irresponsibly the results can be less the optimal at best or catastrophic at worst. The internet is full of people who put down one form of exercise over another as dangerous or stupid, but what the best trainers understand is that context is key. What determines the safety or appropriateness of any given exercise technique or tool is knowing how to match the right movements, techniques, tools and loads to the individual. No single technique is appropriate for everyone, the best instructors know this, and investing a great deal of time and resources learning how to properly assess and progress each trainee as a unique individual.
THE RECIPE FOR SAFE AND EFFECTIVE KETTLEBELL TRAINING
In order to train with kettlebells safety and effectively or train others responsibly you will need three things
- Live, in-person, expert instruction. Nothing will accelerate or ensure proper technique like immediate feedback, technical subtleties and hands-on corrections that personal attention from a StrongFirst certified instructor provides.
- A proven system and a set of principles to follow (such as StrongFirst provides) that keeps you safe, guides you down the right path and allows for growth. The StrongFirst system we utilize is known for making novices strong and champions stronger.
- A Community of like-minded individuals to support, challenge and encourage one another. Through the StrongFirst community you will join a world-wide family.
GET STARTED TODAY
The one-day StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course is the perfect opportunity to be introduced to all three.
Whether you are an absolute novice, experienced with kettlebells but have not had qualified instruction, or a trainer who wants nothing but the best for your clients, the StrongFirst User Course is a perfect place to start.
Our next StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course is Sunday April 24th in Omaha, NE
“The StrongFirst Kettlebell User Course is the 8-Hour Kettlebell Workshop – Perfected.”
[Reserve your spot today: Space is limited to 10 participants for this course.]
Alternatively, you may consider our 8 class / 4 week beginner’s course, private training or group classes.