Kettlebell 101.

If you google ‘kettlebell‘, you will find page after page of articles, videos, and ads all advocating the kettlebell dream: ‘muscle and strength gains’ and ‘torching fat’. For many of us, our fitness goals may very well include gaining strength and losing fat! So, before recommending it to others, I had to read up and try this out for myself.

What I discovered by reading:

1. Article by researches at California State University, found that after 6 weeks athletes who participated in traditional resistance training exercises (group 1) vs those who participated in kettlebell training (group 2),  had greater improvements in strength (group 1 > group 2) and that the two groups were equal in the differences measured in body composition.
2. Top 10 Dangerous Kettlebell Mistakes, by Men’s Health. Title is self-explanatory.
3. There is site dedicated to Kettlebell Science  and history dates the use of kettlebells back to Ancient Greece; today, apparently kettlebell sport is carried out world-wide. Who knew!

What I discovered after trying it:

So I tried it (see pic below) and concluded that kettlebell workouts are no joke! Starting out with a light-weighted bell is key. It may be worth having a personal-trainer go over proper form with you during your first shot at these exercises. Watching yourself perform the exercises in the mirror (from a few different angles) can also be very helpful as it provides a visual check-point. Given the nature of kettlebell exercises (ie swings, jerks, snatches) if you perform the exercises wrong, you can definitely hurt yourself.
In summary, I find kettlebell exercises to be a nice addition to my routine. I throw in a couple of exercises here and there for variety, but tend not to do a full session of kettlebell exercises.
My favourite kb exercise has to be holding the kettlebell upside down at chest level (so that I’m supporting the weight of the bell and engaging my shoulders/upper back/core), squatting, then on the up-lift pushing through with my legs also lifting the kettlebell overhead and rotating to one side – not only rotating my shoulders but also pivoting my back foot. Then repeat the squat motion, bringing the bell back to chest level as you lower your body, and repeate the up-lift and rotate to the alternate side. I do 3 or 4 sets of 12 reps of this exercise. It’s a full-body exercise which I love!
Happy training!

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