Kettlebells what are the real benefits of lifting and swinging them?
Originally used to weigh crops hundreds of years ago in Europe, kettelbells became a training tool in the late 1800s when used for competitive lifting and later training in the armed forces.
The western world was slow to adopt kettlebell training, but the past eight years has seen a boom in popularity within Australia.
These strange bowling balls with handles are in every gym and bootcamp and feature prominently in individual training programs.
Dan Henderson of the Functional Training Institute is confident that kettlebells are one of the best training tools on the planet.
The kettlebell is so effective because it enables you to develop strength, flexibility and cardio simultaneously, he said. It is incredible for developing core control, balance, coordination and stability whilst blasting fat and improving muscle tone and definition.
So, what exactly is a kettlebell and why are they so popular and effective?
The kettlebell is commonly made from cast iron or steel. The design is the major differentiating feature with the load being off centre to allow for more ballistic based movements such as swings, cleans and snatches.
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This differs from many other strength training modalities such as a dumbbell, said Dan. Many of the exercises are compound and multi-joint and are therefore incredible for getting the body to move as a coordinated unit.
There is a plethora of different exercises that are appropriate for all fitness levels and abilities.
According to Dan, you can have a super effective workout in a short space of time and the portability makes it appealing as you can literally train anywhere.
It makes a nice change to traditional strength training and the skill required makes it engaging.
You can use the kettlebell in a multitude of ways - workouts that use it with other pieces of equipment, in combination with bodyweight exercises or kettlebell only sessions no more than 45 minutes due to intensity.
Maintaining correct form is the most important element and this should not be compromised at any point.
It is recommended that you seek professional instruction to minimise the risk of injuries and gain the most benefits.
The Functional Training Institute delivers accredited workshops to 16 countries worldwide and Dan has created accredited courses in many functional training modalities including kettlebells, powerbags and battling ropes.
Dan recommends this all-over body workout:
- 15 x Kettlebell Swings
- 10 x Rows each arm
- 10 x Kettlebell Rack Squats
- 10 x Kettlebell Presses
- 10 Halos (5 in each direction)
Repeat this loop 46 times depending on your fitness and conditioning. It is recommended that you start with a kettlebell that is between 8-12 kg in size.