There are many compelling reason to select using kettlebells and bodyweight to meet your strength and conditioning needs. In summation, below is a list of the Top Ten Reasons to Train with Kettlebells & Bodyweight:
1) Strength on a Neural Level: Other Strength Training Systems operate on developing strength through muscle hypertrophy; this system addresses strength on a neural level. Kettlebell and bodyweight training strengthens the body from the inside out, starting at the core. The muscle doesn’t necessarily have to get bigger in order for you to be stronger. No machines, no benches, no fancy apparatus. Proprioception is leveraged while performing this type of exercise.
2) Shoulder Injuries: How many people do you know that have a shoulder injury? Most people are unaware of how to pack the shoulders and engage the latissimus dorsi. By teaching the students how to do this, removes a great deal of stress from the shoulders shifts the load to the large lat muscle (latissimus dorsi). With a Kettlebell and Bodyweight system, the focus is on not only the strength of the shoulder, but the mobility.
3) Explosive Power: Explosive power is developed through with Plyometric and ballistic movements. Kettlebell swings, snatches, and cleans are all explosive movements that recruit the posterior chain (low back, glutes and hamstrings) by accessing and developing the power of the hips and rooting with the floor. Another Russian Training Innovation, Plyometrics are also employed. Either weighted or bodyweight, generating power with squats, presses and push-ups add to the development of explosive power required to accelerate, jump, throw, take down or deliver a blow to an opponent.
4) Mobility: We don’t simply “Bang out hardcore workouts”, but we utilize movement and restorative training as well. If you push your body, you have to both prepare it for the session and also cool it down as you increase your flexibility and mobility. Mobility training incorporates the packing of the shoulders as you move your body, bridgework for spinal flexion and strength, thoracic mobility movements as well as other designed for your hips, neck, wrists, ankles, feet, toes, hands and fingers. Mobile and stable joints not only enable you to perform better; but reduce the incident of injury.
5) Bodyweight: The ability to control one’s own body through a myriad of movements not only displays, but develops athletic ability and performance. The balance, strength and spatial awareness created by bodyweight training is second to none. If you are unable to control your body properly, how can you safely maximize using additional load? If you have weaknesses and asymmetries, you will only compound your situation. You need to strengthen the intrinsic and stabilizing muscles in order to translate the strength that you have gained into usable, sport applicable strength. Additionally, bodyweight training helps you find what your ideal weight should be at. If you can’t accomplish certain movements, maybe the exerciser does not possess the proper strength to weight ratio.
6) Flexibility: A flexible muscle has greater resilience and a higher capacity to develop explosive power. The full range of motion used in our Kettlebell, bodyweight and suspension training enable the participants to use the whole muscle during their movements, especially in respect to opening the joints and accessing the posterior chain.
7) Endurance, Muscular and Cardiovascular: The fact that there are many kettlebell workouts that require 10, 20, 50 and even 100 repetitions develops an incredible amount muscular endurance and brings the exerciser across three energy systems, ATP-CP, Anaerobic and into the Aerobic. There is even a V02 Max protocol for the kettlebell snatch (McElroy, 2014).
8) Weight Class Athletes: There are two primary methods that increase strength, muscle hypertrophy and neural adaptation. Standard resistance training increases strength in response to loads by increasing the size of the muscle fiber. Due to the offset center of gravity and the shape of the kettlebell, the body must respond by recruiting motor units, stabilizers and the intrinsic muscles to keep the kettlebell in alignment throughout the movements. Hardstyle kettlebell training “teaches” the body how to be strong without adding great amounts of mass. A harder, more flexible, explosive and lean body is the result.
9) Better “Bang for the Buck”, Time Efficient: Not too many people have two or three hours a day to spend at the gym in the quest for ultimate fitness. When kettlebells and calisthenics are utilized, an hour is more than sufficient to accomplish the five essential modes of fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and body composition (lean body mass). There are also many 20 and 30 minute workouts including Tabatas, Scrambled Eggs and The Warrior’s Challenge (Ross & Gallagher, 2016). All of the facets of fitness, plus mobility, can be met within a relatively short time frame.
10) Young Athletes Train Safely: Kettlebells are safe to use for young athletes. Because of the offset center of gravity, a much lighter kettlebell may be used whereas to achieve the same effect with a barbell would require a much heaver weight. Calisthenics require no additional weight to employ.
Article by: Philip Ross, Master RKC, ACE CPT, 8th Degree Black Belt
Cell Phones and Response Times: Phil Ross
Serial and parallel processing in humans operate much in the same fashion as an electrical circuit for lights. If the light fixtures are linked in series and one fails, the complete back of lights go out. However, if the lights are connected via a parallel circuit, only the faulty unit will go down. Most lights are hooked up in parallel so that the area is not void of lights in the event of a failure of one unit. However, with a more complicated operation, an assembly line for instance, is set up in series. If one aspect goes wrong, the whole line is shut down. This is helpful to alert the operator of a failure in the process. When we apply this to human information processing, the parallel processing consists of multiple processes occurring simultaneously. These processes tend to be fast, not as attention demanding and more automatic in nature; whereas serial processing is relatively slow, high in attention demand as well as actively chosen (Schmidt & Lee, 2011).
The act of performing two or more tasks that are serial in nature, such as playing the violin and dialing a phone, would have a severe effect upon performance (Fisher & Plessow, 2015). Contrast this with the many “mindless” tasks that we perform throughout the day without applying much thought to their operation as we put on a shirt, ties our shoes or flush a toilet. Our minds may be occupied with thoughts of our day as we conduct these tasks. Serial and parallel processing do act in a mutually exclusive manner, there are instances when they are operating concurrently. Additionally, parallel processing may actually morph into serial processing (Schmidt & Lee, 2011).
The three main factors to consider when addressing the subject of cell phone operation while driving are: the driving environment, the characteristics of the driver and the nature of the conversation (Schmidt & Lee, 2011, p. 123). Driving requires engagement and focus, especially when the weather and road conditions are bad. There were many instances when I’ve had to “white knuckle it” while driving through a pouring rainstorm on I-95. During those instances, I didn’t even want to have the radio on. Contrast that situation to cruising down an open road on a sunny day. The “white knuckle” scenario would require serial processing while the “sunny day” would enable the driver to slip into an automatic mode typical of parallel processing. The characteristics of the driver also have bearing on the effects of cell phone operation. Some studies demonstrate that older, more experienced drivers that have had more practice are better suited to drive and operate a cell phone simultaneously, but other studies show that practice doesn’t help the situation. I would tend to support the notion of experience does lend to better operation, not only because of the practice involved, but due to the decision making process employed by the more experienced driver. The third factor is the nature of the conversation. The more in depth and complicated the conversation, the more distracted the driver will be. For example, if a driver is conversing with their friend regarding where they are going to meet for dinner as opposed to discussing a theorem of quantum physics; these conversations are drastically different in the amount of thought involved (Schmidt & Lee, 2011).
There are varying degrees of distraction associated with driving and talking or texting on a cell phone. There are laws on the books and they differ from state to state, but I’d like to see them more stringently enforced. There have been many times that I’ve witnessed distracted drivers operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe fashion while using their cell phone. A distracted driver ran a stop sign and hit me and my children while she was on her phone! Personally, I think that the hands-free option is viable, but some data suggests that there is no difference between hands free operation and holding a cell phone by hand. The difference that I see is with the hands free version, the driver does not have to look at the phone and can keep their eyes on the road. I realize that the data doesn’t currently support any difference in regard to safety of hands free versus hand held, but I’d like to see more data on the comparison and review the demographics of the participants in the study.
Cell phones are one of the most notable and widespread piece of technology developed in the past 20 to 30 years. I was already in the workforce for a few years until the cell phone, then called a “car phone” came into popularity in the late 1980’s. As I drive to work I witness many people with their phones to their ears or looking down at their phone propped up on their steering wheel as they simultaneously drive and text. Many of these people have to stop short when an incident arises or they swerve into another lane. It is quite evident that these individuals are distracted. My assumption will be that many of these people do not feel that they require serial processing to operate their motor vehicle and they may be treating their drive to work as a mindless, monotonous task akin to brushing one’s teeth. They can not be more wrong. The laws regarding cell phone use need to be enforced and even expanded.
Article by: Philip Ross, Master RKC, ACE CPT, 8th Degree Black Belt
Schmidt, R. A., & Lee, T. D. (2011). Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics
Fischer, R., & Plessow, F. (2015). Efficient multitasking: Parallel versus serial processing of multiple tasks. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01366