You’ll often hear it mispronounced kettleball instead of bell, it resembles a cannonball with a rounded, curved handle, and it’s touted by the Russian military as far back as the 18th century for its superior ability to build stamina, power, and overall athleticism. Girya training, as the Russians called it (or as we know it today in North America, kettlebell training), is as raw, as real, and as effective as it gets.
The Russians beat us to the punch with kettlebelltraining – by about a century. They were the first on the planet to realize that training with these small, round, weighted objects is cost-effective, functional, and convenient (aside from proper shoes, it’s the only piece of equipment you need, and you can use it anywhere). The benefits of kettlebell training are endless; it builds lean muscle, explosive power, cardiovascular endurance, and overall athleticism, to name a few. Read on as this article uncovers anything and everything you need to know about kettlebell training and how you can incorporate it into your everyday workout program.
How Kettlebell Training Promotes Functional Fitness
You’re not a bodybuilder. You’re not a fitness model. You want overall, well-rounded fitness that can translate into various sports and help you function with energy in every day life. This describes the majority of the training population today, and that’s likely why kettlebell training is so popular.
When you train using a kettlebell, you’re performing compound movements [NOTE: compound movements involve several different muscle groups, as opposed to isolated movements, like a seated bicep curl or triceps kickback].Compound movements are effective for building functional fitness, which means you’ll achieve a level of fitness that is practical for the tasks you take on in everyday life. And not only that, but functional fitness translates into great athletic performance on the field, rink, and court. Compound movements also burn more calories than isolation movements do, so for men and women who want a quick and dirty workout with more calories burned in less time (and let’s face it, this is the majority of us!), kettlebell training is absolutely ideal.
4 Fantastic Kettlebell Moves Explained
Place one kettlebell between your feet. Bend your knees and assume an athletic stance to get into the starting position. Your back should be flat and you should be looking straight ahead. Swing the kettlebell back between your legs and then reverse direction with power, driving the kettlebell explosively up to at least eye level. Allow the kettlebell to swing back between your legs and repeat. Remember to use your hips and hamstrings to generate the power for the swing.
One-Arm Kettlebell Snatch
Place one kettlebell between your feet. Bend your knees and assume an athletic stance to get into the starting position. Your back should be flat and you should be looking straight ahead. Pull the kettlebell vertically in an explosive fashion, using the hips to generate power. As the kettlebell rises to your shoulder, open your hand and get your hand around the kettlebell so that it does not bang your wrist. Complete the snatch by punching through straight overhead.
Start with feet about shoulder width apart and hold the handle of a Kettlebell with both hands against your chest or for added resistance, hold one Kettlebell in each hand. Keep your back straight, eyes forward, heels on the ground, and squat down under control until your elbows touch your knees. Pause for a second in the low squat position before rising up. Repeat for desired number of reps.
Kettlebell Renegade Row
Start at the top of a pushup position holding two Kettlebells about shoulder-width apart. Starting with your right arm, pull the kettlebell up toward your body while supporting your bodyweight on the kettlebell with your left arm. Lower the kettlebell under control to the floor and switch arms. Continue in this fashion, alternating arms for the desired number of reps.