Why Kettlebells?

Why Kettlebells?

Pistol (one legged) squat with a counter weight.

Pistol (one legged) squat with a counter weight.

 Strength & Conditioning: Two essential components, not only to success in martial arts and athletics, but in life. The Human Animal was not meant to be a sedentary creature. We were designed to run, jump, climb, lift and carry, not to sit on our behinds for endless hours playing X-box or Madden 2011.

Even though our lives do not require the same amount of physical exertion as our ancestors, our lives are extremely busy and stressful with little time left for ourselves and our fitness. How do we achieve optimal fitness levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle with growing responsibilities and diminishing time allotted for ourselves?

Enter the Kettlebell.

Why Kettlebells? “I lift weights, it’s the same thing”.  Yes and a Big “NO”. Yes, kettlebell training is a resistance exercise; but no it’s not simply lifting weights. Most of our conventional weight training exercises come from several sources: Body Building, Power Lifting and Olympic Lifting. Yes, there is a cross over of strength and conditioning from these methods of training, however the main goal of Body Building is to create larger muscles and a symmetrical shape, Power Lifting and Olympic Lifting are designed to increase strength – for specific lifts – not for athletic performance.

Kettlebell training increases durability, flexibility, strength, endurance and athletic ability. Through the techniques of “rooting” for strength, explosive hip pop and lock, core engagement on virtually every exercise, the practitioner achieves levels of fitness and performance never before attainable. The kettlebell is a handheld gym and replaces conventional barbells, dumbbells, cardio equipment, hand grips, weight machines, ropes, cable and bands. This is not to say that there in anything wrong with the other methods, it’s only that the same or better results in more aspects of fitness will be accomplished through the proper employment of kettlebell training in a shorter amount of time and space. For example – you will need a full rack of dumbbells to perform a workout that would require only three kettlebells.

How is this Accomplished? As a weighted exercise implement, the kettlebell is more akin to the unwieldy sandbag than to the commercialized dumbbell.  The center of gravity (COG) of the kettlebell is about a good half foot away from your hand.  With this displaced COG, the central nervous system (CNS) simply has to require more muscles groups to wield the awkward object.  Curl a dumbbell, and feel it get LIGHTER as it redistributes its weight on top of your wrist and elbow when you pass 90 degrees.  Curl a kettlebell of the same weight; you will actually feel it get HEAVIER, because no such shift in COG occurs.  You’ll find yourself actually having to brace not only your entire arm to control it, but your abs, glutes, and your OTHER arm as well. When you employ various grips and motions, you are able to increase the effect even more! By recruiting your whole body for the kettlebell,  you’re doing a full body workout with a as opposed to the muscle isolation when using a dumbbell.

Strength and Honor,

Coach Phil