Nature + Kettlebell = Physical and Mental Success

Nature + Kettlebell = Physical & Mental Success

Break free from the 4 walls of the gym

Engaging in outdoor kettlebell training offers a myriad of benefits that encompass both physical and mental health aspects. Integrating this form of exercise into your routine can not only enhance your physical strength and endurance but also significantly improve your mental well-being. Here’s a detailed exploration of why getting outside and training with kettlebells is an excellent choice for overall health.

Physical Benefits of Outdoor Kettlebell Training

  1. Full-body Workout: Kettlebells provide a dynamic, full-body workout that targets various muscle groups. Exercises like swings, snatches, and Turkish get-ups engage your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back, promoting muscle growth, endurance, and coordination.

  2. Cardiovascular Improvement: Kettlebell exercises can be intense, offering significant cardiovascular benefits. The compound, dynamic movements increase heart rate, improving cardiovascular health and stamina. This type of training is particularly effective for HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), which is known for its cardiovascular efficiency.

  3. Flexibility and Mobility: Regularly training with kettlebells can enhance your flexibility and mobility. The range of motion involved in kettlebell exercises, such as windmills and goblet squats, promotes joint health and flexibility.

  4. Functional Strength: Kettlebell training focuses on movements that mimic real-life activities, enhancing your functional strength. This improves your ability to perform daily tasks and reduces the risk of injury in everyday life and other sports.

  5. Weight Management: Engaging in kettlebell workouts can be a highly effective way to burn calories and fat, promoting weight loss and helping in weight management. The combination of strength training and cardiovascular effort boosts your metabolism, even at rest.

Mental Health Benefits of Training Outdoors with Kettlebells

  1. Connection with Nature: Exercising outdoors provides an opportunity to connect with nature, which has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The fresh air, natural light, and green surroundings can enhance your mood and mental clarity.

  2. Increased Vitamin D Exposure: Training outside exposes you to natural sunlight, a vital source of vitamin D. This vitamin plays a crucial role in bone health, immune function, and mood regulation, helping to fend off depression and boost overall well-being.

  3. Mindfulness and Focus: The concentration required to perform kettlebell exercises correctly encourages mindfulness and focus. This mental engagement can help distract from daily stressors and promote a state of mental calmness.

  4. Boosted Endorphins: Physical activity, including kettlebell training, triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators. This “runner’s high” can lead to improved mood and a feeling of well-being.

  5. Social Interaction: While kettlebell training can be done solo, it often takes place in group settings or classes, providing a sense of community and social interaction. Engaging with others in a supportive environment can enhance motivation and accountability while providing social benefits.

Integrating Outdoor Kettlebell Training into Your Routine

To reap the benefits of outdoor kettlebell training, consider the following tips:

  • Start Slowly: If you’re new to kettlebell training, begin with lighter weights and focus on mastering the technique to avoid injury.
  • Vary Your Workouts: Incorporate a variety of kettlebell exercises to engage different muscle groups and prevent boredom.
  • Stay Consistent: Establish a regular training schedule to build strength, endurance, and habit.
  • Safety First: Always prioritize proper form and consider working with a certified trainer to ensure you’re performing exercises correctly.
  • Enjoy Nature: Choose scenic locations that inspire you and make the most of the mental health benefits of being outdoors.

In conclusion, outdoor kettlebell training offers a unique and effective way to enhance both physical and mental health. Its versatility, efficiency, and the added benefits of being in nature make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve their overall well-being. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just starting your journey, kettlebells provide a fun, challenging, and rewarding way to achieve your health and fitness goals.

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Unleashing the Ultimate Athlete: The Power of the 1-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

1-arm kettlebell snatch

Unleashing the Ultimate Athlete

The Power of the 1-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

Introduction

The world of athletic development is filled with countless exercises and training techniques, all aiming to improve performance, strength, and overall fitness. Amidst this vast array of options, the 1-arm kettlebell snatch stands out as an exceptional exercise that offers a plethora of benefits to athletes of all levels. In this blog post, we’ll explore why the 1-arm kettlebell snatch is the ultimate athlete developer and how you can incorporate it into your own training regimen.

    1. Full-Body Engagement

    The 1-arm kettlebell snatch is a dynamic, explosive movement that engages nearly every muscle group in the body. It requires coordination between the legs, hips, core, back, and shoulders to generate the necessary power to lift the kettlebell overhead. This full-body engagement not only builds strength and power but also promotes functional movement patterns that translate to better performance in various sports and activities.

    1. Improved Power and Explosiveness

    The explosive nature of the kettlebell snatch is one of its greatest assets for athletic development. By incorporating this exercise into your training, you’ll develop increased power, speed, and explosiveness, all of which are essential for peak athletic performance. The ability to generate force quickly is crucial in sports like basketball, football, and track and field events, where a rapid burst of power can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

    1. Enhanced Shoulder Stability and Mobility

    The overhead position of the 1-arm kettlebell snatch requires a significant amount of shoulder stability and mobility. Athletes must maintain a strong, stable position while simultaneously extending their arm overhead, which challenges the shoulder joint and surrounding musculature. By regularly performing the kettlebell snatch, athletes can improve their shoulder health, reducing the risk of injury and increasing overall mobility.

    1. Unilateral Training Benefits

    The 1-arm kettlebell snatch is a unilateral exercise, meaning it works one side of the body at a time. This type of training is vital for athletes, as it helps to address any muscle imbalances and improve overall functional performance. Furthermore, unilateral training can enhance core stability, as the body must work harder to maintain balance and control during the movement.

    1. Conditioning and Fat Loss

    While the primary focus of the 1-arm kettlebell snatch may be strength and power development, it also serves as an effective conditioning tool. The high-intensity, full-body nature of the exercise ensures that your heart rate will skyrocket during a workout, leading to improved cardiovascular fitness and greater caloric expenditure. As a result, incorporating kettlebell snatches into your training can support fat loss and improve overall conditioning.

    Incorporating the 1-Arm Kettlebell Snatch into Your Training

    To reap the benefits of the 1-arm kettlebell snatch, begin by incorporating it into your training program once or twice per week. Start with a lighter kettlebell and focus on perfecting your form before progressing to heavier weights. As your proficiency in the movement improves, you can experiment with different rep and set schemes to challenge your body and continue to unlock your athletic potential.

    Conclusion

    The 1-arm kettlebell snatch is a versatile, powerful exercise that offers numerous benefits for athletes of all levels. By engaging the entire body, improving power and explosiveness, enhancing shoulder stability and mobility, promoting unilateral training benefits, and supporting conditioning and fat loss, this dynamic movement truly earns its title as the ultimate athlete developer. Give it a try and experience the transformative power of the kettlebell snatch for yourself.

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    Kettlebell Training: The Ultimate Key to Preserving Muscle and Bone Density as You Age

    Kettlebell Training: The Ultimate Key to Preserving Muscle and Bone Density as You Age

    As we age, our bodies inevitably undergo several changes, including the loss of muscle mass and bone density. However, it doesn’t mean we must accept these changes without a fight. Kettlebell training is a highly effective and versatile form of exercise that can help maintain and even improve muscle and bone strength throughout our golden years. Let’s delve into the science behind kettlebell training and discover how incorporating this exercise into your routine can pave the way for a strong and resilient body as you age.

    The Science of Muscle and Bone Density Decline

    Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass, and osteoporosis, the reduction in bone density, are two common health issues faced by aging individuals. These conditions not only diminish physical strength but also increase the risk of falls, fractures, and other injuries. Fortunately, research has shown that resistance training can counteract these effects and help preserve muscle and bone health.

    1. Whole-body exercise

    Kettlebell training is unique in that it combines both cardiovascular and strength training, offering a whole-body workout in a single session. The dynamic nature of kettlebell exercises like swings, snatches, and Turkish get-ups engages multiple muscle groups, effectively targeting and strengthening them. This full-body approach can help older adults maintain their functional fitness, improving their balance, mobility, and overall quality of life.

    1. Impact on muscle mass

    One of the main reasons kettlebell training is effective at preserving muscle mass is its focus on functional, compound movements. These movements engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, leading to greater muscle activation and growth. Additionally, kettlebell workouts can be easily adapted to suit individual needs, allowing older adults to progressively increase the intensity and resistance as they gain strength.

    1. Boosting bone density

    Kettlebell training not only helps maintain muscle mass but also has a positive impact on bone density. The load-bearing nature of kettlebell exercises stimulates bone remodeling, a process where new bone tissue is formed, ultimately improving bone strength. This is particularly beneficial for older adults, as stronger bones can reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis-related injuries.

    1. Improved balance and coordination

    The functional and dynamic movements incorporated in kettlebell training challenge your balance and coordination, which are essential for maintaining independence as you age. Consistently practicing kettlebell exercises can enhance your body’s ability to react and adapt to different situations, reducing the risk of falls and improving overall stability.

    Tips for Incorporating Kettlebell Training into Your Routine

    1. Consult a professional: Before starting any new exercise routine, consult with a healthcare professional or a certified fitness trainer to ensure that kettlebell training is suitable for your individual needs and health status.

    2. Start with the basics: Learn and master the fundamental kettlebell movements, such as swings, goblet squats, and presses, before attempting more advanced exercises. Proper form is crucial for avoiding injuries and reaping the full benefits of kettlebell training.

    3. Choose the right weight: Start with a lighter kettlebell, and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercises. The appropriate weight will challenge you without compromising your form or causing undue strain.

    4. Prioritize consistency: Aim for at least two kettlebell training sessions per week to see tangible improvements in muscle mass and bone density. Remember that consistency is key when it comes to achieving and maintaining long-term health benefits.

    Conclusion

    Kettlebell training is a powerful and versatile form of exercise that can help preserve muscle mass and bone density as we age. By incorporating kettlebell exercises into your fitness routine, you can effectively combat the effects of aging and enjoy a stronger, more resilient body

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    Why a kettlebell carrying backpack is clutch for the kettlebell enthusiast

    Why having a kettlebell carrying backpack is clutch for a kettlebell enthusiast

    You’ll never be without an excuse if you have one of these

    Kettlebells have become increasingly popular in recent years as a versatile and effective tool for improving strength, endurance, and overall fitness. However, one challenge that kettlebell enthusiasts often face is how to transport their kettlebells from one location to another, whether it be to the gym, a park, hotel, vacation, or a friend’s house.

    This is where a kettlebell carrying backpack comes in. A kettlebell carrying backpack is a specially designed backpack that is equipped with straps and compartments for carrying a kettlebell, making it a convenient and efficient solution for transporting your kettlebell.

    Here are some reasons why a kettlebell carrying backpack would be necessary for a kettlebell enthusiast:

    • Convenience

      Carrying kettlebells can be challenging, especially if you have to transport them over a distance. A kettlebell carrying backpack allows you to carry your kettlebells on your back, freeing up your hands and making it easier to move around.

    • Versatility

      A kettlebell carrying backpack is not just useful for transporting your kettlebells. It can also be used as a regular backpack, with compartments for storing other gym essentials such as towels, water bottles, and workout clothes.

    • Safety

      Carrying kettlebells by hand can be risky, as the weight can shift or swing unpredictably, increasing the risk of injury. A kettlebell carrying backpack, on the other hand, keeps your kettlebells securely in place, reducing the risk of accidents.

    • Protection

      Kettlebells can be heavy and bulky, and transporting them can cause damage to floors, walls, or other surfaces. A kettlebell carrying backpack provides a layer of protection between the kettlebell and the surface it comes into contact with, reducing the risk of damage.

    • Mobility

      Carrying kettlebells by hand can be tiring and limit your mobility, making it difficult to perform certain exercises or movements. With a kettlebell carrying backpack, you can move more freely and perform a wider range of exercises, allowing you to get the most out of your workout.

    In conclusion, a kettlebell carrying backpack is an essential accessory for any kettlebell enthusiast who wants to transport their kettlebells safely, conveniently, and efficiently. It provides a range of benefits, including convenience, safety, versatility, protection, and mobility, making it a must-have for anyone who regularly uses kettlebells.

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    Top 5 Benefits of Weighted Hiking

    top 5 benefits of weighted hiking

    As an active recovery day or as a way to build leg strength, weighted hiking is a great addition to your active lifestyle

    Hiking is a great way to get outdoors, explore new areas, and get some exercise. If you’re looking to take your hiking to the next level, consider adding weight to your backpack. Here are the top 5 benefits of weighted hiking:

      1. Increased Strength and Endurance
      1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
      1. Burn More Calories
      1. Better Balance and Stability
      1. Mental Health Benefits

    Now let’s break each of these down and discuss them a little bit more.

      1. Increased Strength and Endurance

    Adding weight to your backpack during hikes can help increase your strength and endurance. The extra weight will challenge your muscles and force them to work harder than they normally would during a regular hike. Over time, this can help you build more muscle and improve your overall endurance.

    1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

    Hiking with added weight can also provide an excellent cardiovascular workout. The extra weight makes your heart and lungs work harder, which can help improve their function over time. By regularly challenging your cardiovascular system, you can improve your overall heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease.

    1. Burn More Calories

    If you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, weighted hiking can be an excellent way to burn more calories. Adding weight to your backpack increases the overall intensity of your hike, which means you’ll burn more calories than you would during a regular hike. Plus, hiking with a backpack can be a more fun and enjoyable way to burn calories than other forms of exercise.

    1. Better Balance and Stability

    When you add weight to your backpack, it can affect your balance and stability during the hike. As a result, your body must work harder to maintain its balance and stability on uneven terrain. Over time, this can help improve your overall balance and stability, which can be beneficial in your everyday life.

    1. Mental Health Benefits

    Hiking is known to have many mental health benefits, and adding weight to your backpack can enhance these benefits. The extra weight can help you clear your mind and focus on the present moment, which can be a form of mindfulness practice. Additionally, challenging yourself with weighted hiking can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-confidence.

    In conclusion, weighted hiking is an excellent way to take your hiking to the next level and reap a variety of health and mental benefits. Before you start, be sure to gradually increase the weight in your backpack to avoid injury and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

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    Why Kettlebell Training Outside is So Good for You

    Why Kettlebell Training in Nature is Healthy for You

    We all know being outside is good for your health and good for the soul, why not combine it with the best form of strength and cardiovascular training?

    Kettlebell training is a highly effective form of strength and cardiovascular training, and when combined with the great outdoors, it can provide a wealth of physical and mental benefits. Training with kettlebells in nature not only provides an intense workout but also offers an escape from the stresses of daily life and an opportunity to connect with nature.

    One of the primary benefits of kettlebell training is its versatility. Kettlebells can be used for a variety of exercises that target multiple muscle groups and can be easily adjusted in weight to accommodate all levels of fitness. By incorporating kettlebells into outdoor workouts, you can take advantage of the natural surroundings and incorporate exercises that would be difficult to perform indoors.

    Nature provides a unique environment that can be especially beneficial for kettlebell training. Exercising outside in the fresh air and natural light can help boost energy levels and improve mental clarity. In addition, the uneven terrain and obstacles found in nature provide an added challenge to kettlebell exercises and can help to improve balance and stability.

    Another benefit of training with kettlebells in nature is that it provides a change of pace from traditional indoor gym workouts. Instead of the monotony of a routine gym workout, training in nature allows for a more dynamic and engaging workout that keeps the mind and body stimulated. This can help to prevent boredom and burnout, and keep you motivated to stick to your fitness goals.

    Finally, training with kettlebells in nature can be a great way to connect with nature and escape from the stresses of daily life. Exercising in a peaceful, natural environment can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall mental well-being. This is particularly true for people who live in urban areas and are constantly exposed to the fast pace and noise of city life.

    In conclusion, training with kettlebells in nature is a highly effective strategy to have success with a healthy lifestyle. The ability to kill multiple birds with one stone is remarkably efficient. Of course, depending upon where you live, accomplishing this may be easier for some than others, but no matter your climate, getting outside, resetting, getting some exercise can always be accomplished. 

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    The Benefits of Weighted Hiking

    Weighted hiking & Fitness

    Is weighted hiking the ultimate blend of the yin of the weight-room and the yang of the outdoors?

    Admittedly, I’ve fought the “cardio” angle of fitness due to my preferred training modalities and the scientifically superior benefits of resistance training in all it’s forms. 

    But I’ve recently had an epiphany about weighted hiking. You see I love to be in the great outdoors. Who doesn’t? Without knowing it, while pursuing the passion of hunting and trout fishing, where I often need to hike in quite a ways to get to the destination oftentimes carrying 20+ pounds of extra weight in gear, I realized……this is weighted hiking! 

    I’m not sure science will ever be able to truly explain the incredible benefits of being outside in nature and just wondering around and moving our body, but I sure know that it feels awesome when I’m hunting and fishing, so I decided to start doing some weighted hiking with the Kettlebell Backpack. I’m able to use a lighter weight kettlebell on longer hikes or if I just want some active recovery, or I can put in a heavier kettlebell if I want some extra resistance for a shorter hike, or just want a higher intensity workout. 

    Hiking, as opposed to walking, especially if you’re venturing off the pavement and into the wilderness where there’s hills to climb and uneven surfaces to careen, is more athletic in nature than walking. Hiking is more multi-directional and not just movement in one plane (straight ahead).

    It’s likely that while doing weighted hiking, you’ll have to do the following:

    • Lunges (multi-directional)
    • Step-ups (multi-directional)
    • RDLs
    • Calf Raises
    • Dorsiflexion 

    The more athletic qualities (strength, balance, multi-planar movement, work capacity, just to name a few) a human can enhance or maintain across their lifespan, the higher functioning human they will remain. 

    In short, I guess the lesson is to take something incredibly beneficial, like strength training, and merge it with another thing that’s incredibly beneficial, like hiking in the outdoors, and merge the two for multiplied benefit!

    So whether you consider it a ruck or a weighted hike, just get outside and build your athleticism, and if you just so happen to have a kettlebell with you, just imagine all the outdoor workout capabilities you now have at your disposal 😉

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    Minimalism Meets Maximalism

    MINIMALISM MEETS MAXIMALISM with the kettlebell backpack


    ARE YOU REALLY A MINAMALIST IF YOU’RE A MAXIMALIST


    LET’S DISCOVER WHO YOU REALLY ARE!

    There’s a growing trend out there of people seeking the “minimalist lifestyle.” I must admit, I kind of like it. In a culture where there’s constant bombardment of MORE, MORE, MORE, people are growing tired of chasing more and are experiencing more happiness with less. Less stuff means less expenses. Less stuff means more space. Less stuff means less need for more income. Less stuff means less trying to keep up with the Joneses. Less stuff means more happiness.

    Funny story, when my family moved a couple years back, I tried to convince my wife that we should buy 40 acres of land out in the country and build a mini-house. Despite my best salesman efforts, she held her ground and we bought a home in town, but it’s got a huge garage, so there was a compromise ;).

    As an entrepreneur, I’m seeking avenues that not only have less overhead, but also have maximal impact for the people I want to serve. 

    As you can see, this minimalist perspective can be very valuable. Heck I even shop for clothes now that I can use for multiple purposes. If I can workout in the same pants that I can also throw a nice shirt on with and look like somewhat fashionable or just wear when I’m bumming around because they are super comfortable, I’m all in for the 3-for-1 approach to pants. Now let’s look at this though the lens of your health and fitness. How can you become more of a minimalist? Here’s a few questions to ponder:

    • Well, do you go to a big box gym? Do you really use all of the amenities to justify spending as much money as you do? 
    • How much time do you spend at the gym or working out in general?
    • What does your home gym look like? Do you have a treadmill, peloton bike, squat rack, cable machine, and a rack of dumbbells? Do you even use half of that when you workout?

    It’s fascinating what someone will spend on something that will easily wear out, or the FAD will quickly fade, or to feel like they’re part of an exclusive club. What if you could accomplish more with less? What if you could nearly always have access to the minimalist pieces of equipment you needed to get the most transformative workout sessions? What if you could spend 1/3 of the time exercising that you’d other wise spend (assuming 90 minutes of time commitment at gym). 

    What if you could carry anything that could ever need in a backpack for your health, fitness, and travel?

    • Kettlebell? – check
    • Gym shoes? – check
    • Ab wheel? – check
    • Mobility tools? – check
    • Jump Rope? – check
    • Resistance Band? – check
    • Gym shorts? – check
    • Extra pairs of undies and socks? – check
    • Toiletries? – check
    • Shaker bottle? – check 

    What if you could also carry this with you wherever you could want to go, and you could also use it as a rucking pack as well? Sounds pretty minimalistic doesn’t it!? But it also sounds quite MAXIMALISTIC doesn’t it!?

    It’s like having a swiss army knife in backpack form. 

    check out these 4 images to gain minimalistic maximalism

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    The Exercise That Everybody Loves to Hate

    The exercise that everybody loves to hate

    if you’re likely to skip leg day, it’s likely you’ll skip turkish get up (tgu) day.


    As a student of movement and also a student of human psychology, especially as it pertains to doing hard things, it’s no surprise to me that people “hate” turkish get-ups. Most people hate doing difficult things, and since TGUs would fall under that category, they default to hating TGUs.

    What’s even more interesting is that the more people tend to hate a particular exercise, the more beneficial that exercise tends to be. This is not always the case, but more often times than not, it is. In fact I know this feeling all to well, but I’ve just disciplined that emotion and learned that I too typically dislike things I’m not particularly good at. What’s even more interesting is that once you get past sucking at something, you seem to hate it less. Then, once you get proficient, you start saying nice things about what you once hated. And alas, the time comes when you become good at it, and now everyone should do it!

    There’s a little lesson in humans-not-liking-things-they-suck-at psychology 101. This should be a high school and college course by the way. Not joking.

    Onto the Turkish Get-up………

    Executing the turkish get-up without any weight presents challenges for most of the chair-bound, desk jockey society we’ve turned ourselves into. Don’t take offense, I’m sitting in a chair, staring at my computer, and only corrected my posture because I’m typing about it. Now, talking about adding weight to this movement really makes a person feel like they’ll never be able to get good at the movement. 

    Turkish get-ups require good hip mobility, shoulder mobility, trunk strength, shoulder strength, and leg strength in order to perform them correctly. TGUs are a great assessment tool for what people lack. Lacking things isn’t generally what people want to hear, but it’s what they likely need to hear.

    If I told you that I could help you increase your “core” strength, leg strength, shoulder strength, improve hip mobility, reduce back pain, and build muscle with one exercise, you’d probably spit your drink out in excitement and tell me, “heck yeah man, tell me what it is and I’ll do it!”

    Well, the exercise is called……..drum roll…………..turkish get-ups! (cue the anti-climatic music)

    If you want to learn how to do this magnificently beneficial exercise for your entire body. Spend the 5 minutes watching this tutorial below:

    When learning this exercise, give yourself some grace and be ok sucking at it for awhile. Work on the areas where you feel limitation. If you can feel that your hips are too tight to perform this exercise well, then you probably need to do some mobility and flexibility work on your hip flexors and glutes. If you feel like your shoulder can’t get into position, it’s likely you need to work on your thoracic spine mobility and shoulder mobility, which may require some pec stretches and soft tissue work. If you can’t even get off your back, your trunk may be incredibly weak and you need to spend some time doing some basic “ab work.” If you feel like you possess the mobility to do the exercise, but can’t stand up because your legs are too weak, then you need to spend some time developing some very basic leg strength.

    All in all, if you’re able to do this exercise with good technique and some weight over your head later into life, just imagine how much more vibrant your life will be than the rest of your peers with only a butt print on their couch to show for their efforts.

    Get strong, and then stay strong.

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    Strong Grip, Strong Life

    Getting a Grip on Life

    Is your grip strength an indicator of how well you’re aging?

    Kettlebell Training is the ultimate grip strengthening tool

    Grip strength is a simple but powerful predictor of future disability, morbidity, and mortality. The relation between grip strength and future mortality has been shown, not only in older people, but also in middle-aged and young people. The evidence has been summarised in systematic reviews and in a meta-analysis (Lancet Article).

    Let’s address this from a common sense perspective first. If you possess good grip strength, it’s quite apparent that the hands have held, twisted, gripped, climbed, carried, and handled life quite differently than the person who has a rather wimpy handshake. Interestingly, a handheld dynamometer (for assessing grip strength) test is usually part of the battery of tests for professional baseball players at the beginning of spring training every year. As a former pro-baseball strength coach, I can attest to this assessment being utilized as a baseline measure of strength in athletes. I know there’s a strong correlation with grip strength and success in throwing and hitting a baseball. This may sound like a pat on my own back, but the coaches also got to perform the assessment, and yours truly had the second best grip in the minor league spring training camp. I didn’t expect it to be, but after thinking about it some more, I wasn’t that surprised. I’d been a wrestler most of my life, amongst also playing baseball and football, and I had lifted weights in a functional manner most of my life as well. Training with kettlebells (we’ll break it down more later), performing heavy deadlifts, farmer’s carries, and doing lots of pullups over the years had built up a strong grip. This may be a testament to the sport of wrestling, but after talking with several opponents after I wrestled them, they had told me how I was one of the strongest wrestlers they had ever faced. This puzzled me a bit, because I didn’t have an intimidating frame or physique at this time of my life, nor do I today, but strength is very neuromuscular and doesn’t always present itself in muscle size.  

    I guess the analogy could be made that if you want to be a successful navigator (athlete) of life, it would appear that possessing good forearm extensors and flexors would give you an advantage over the limp wristers in life.

    Grip Strength Greater Indicator of All-Cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Death than Systolic Blood Pressure

    Check out these interesting findings from another research article published in the Lancet in 2015:

    Findings: Between January, 2003, and December, 2009, a total of 142,861 participants were enrolled in the PURE study, of whom 139,691 with known vital status were included in the analysis. During a median follow-up of 4.0 years (IQR 2.9-5.1), 3379 (2%) of 139,691 participants died. After adjustment, the association between grip strength and each outcome, with the exceptions of cancer and hospital admission due to respiratory illness, was similar across country-income strata. Grip strength was inversely associated with all-cause mortality (hazard ratio per 5 kg reduction in grip strength 1.16, 95% CI 1.13-1.20; p<0.0001), cardiovascular mortality (1.17, 1.11-1.24; p<0.0001), non-cardiovascular mortality (1.17, 1.12-1.21; p<0.0001), myocardial infarction (1.07, 1.02-1.11; p=0.002), and stroke (1.09, 1.05-1.15; p<0.0001). Grip strength was a stronger predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure. 

    Lack of grip strength and indicator of poor nutritional status

    Numerous clinical and epidemiological studies have shown the predictive potential of hand grip strength regarding short and long-term mortality and morbidity. In patients, impaired grip strength is an indicator of increased postoperative complications, increased length of hospitalization, higher rehospitalisation rate and decreased physical status. In elderly in particular, loss of grip strength implies loss of independence. Epidemiological studies have moreover demonstrated that low grip strength in healthy adults predicts increased risk of functional limitations and disability in higher age as well as all-cause mortality. As muscle function reacts early to nutritional deprivation, hand grip strength has also become a popular marker of nutritional status and is increasingly being employed as outcome variable in nutritional intervention studies.

    Link to Study

    Kettlebell Training to the Rescue

    From a common sense perspective, it’s easy to draw some conclusions about why being strong and having a strong grip could save your life in simply some dangerous circumstances, you know, hanging from a cliff, in a fight-to-the-death match in a back alley, or probably a more common scenario would be possessing the muscle and bone density to absorb and withstand a blow or a fall. It’s easy to see why being strong is advantageous here, but few people understand the profound physiological benefits that exist with being strong, and more importantly, the process of becoming and staying strong. Strength and muscle mass reach their peak in the 2nd and 3rd decades of life, at which point in time they typically begin their war with attrition. Due to the fact that 80% of the population doesn’t adequately stimulate their body’s lean muscle tissue and bone tissue, people who are sedentary quickly become frail and less healthy than their 20% counterparts, who engage in proper vigorous activity to retain what was built in their 20s and 30s, or to gain what wasn’t built in those decades. The two destinations of the vigorously active and the sedentary couldn’t be more different and it’s why we all have that rare breed in the family tree who people just chalk up as an anomaly, but deep down we all know that person did the vigorous work and gets to experience the work’s fruits later in life, not to mention the fruit of it during all phases of life.

    This is the part where I sell the snot out of the kettlebell for it being the best tool. Kettlebell training may be one of the most under-researched tools in the exercise science community. Despite all that, it is a tool that possesses a massive amount of variety in it’s usefulness, but of relevance, the ability to develop strength (more directly grip strength) may have it as one the very best fitness tools one could use. Every movement requires the handling of weight in the hands, sometimes in a static sense, like a farmer’s carry, and other times a dynamic sense, like snatching it overhead. It’s important to develop strength and it’s cousin power to best optimize the human body’s performance.  

    If the gains can happen to the elderly, it’s safe to assume that the gains would happen in a younger human, and this 8 week study showed just that:

    Effects of 8-week kettlebell training on body composition, muscle strength, pulmonary function, and chronic low-grade inflammation in elderly women with sarcopenia

    Affiliations 
      • PMID: 30243898

     

    Abstract

    Objectives: To examine the effect of kettlebell training on body composition, muscle strength, pulmonary function, and chronic low-grade inflammatory markers among elderly people with sarcopenia.

    Design: Randomized controlled trial.

    Setting: Community center and research center.

    Participants: A total of 33 elderly women with sarcopenia (aged 65-75 years) were recruited.

    Intervention: The participants were randomly assigned to a kettlebell training (KT) group or a control (CON) group. The KT group received an 8-week training intervention involving 60-min sessions twice a week, whereas the CON group members continued their daily lifestyles without participating in any exercise training. Four weeks of detraining were organized to observe the retention effect of the training program on the KT group.

    Measurements: The participants’ body composition, muscle strength, pulmonary function, and chronic low-grade inflammatory markers were measured and analyzed before training (at Week 0, W0), after 8 weeks of training (at Week 8, W8), and after 4 weeks of detraining (at Week 12, W12).

    Results: In the KT group, appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM) and the sarcopenia index measured at W8 and W12 were significantly higher than those at W0(p = .004; p = .005). At W8 and W12, the sarcopenia index was significantly higher in the KT group than the CON group(p = .020; p = .019). In the CON group, the skeletal muscle mass levels measured at W8 and W12 were significantly lower than that at W0(p = .029; p = .005), and the ASM and the sarcopenia index measured at W8 were significantly lower than those at W0(p = .037; p = .036). Additionally, the measured left handgrip strength(p = .006), back strength(p = .011; p = .018), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) (p = .008; p = .006) were significantly higher in the KT group than the CON group at W8 and W12. At W8, the measured right handgrip strength was significantly higher in the KT group than the CON group(p = .043). In the KT group, the back strength and PEF levels measured at W8 and W12 were significantly higher than those at W0(p = .000; p = .004), and the left and right handgrip strength levels at W8 were significantly higher than those at W0(p = .004; p = .013). By contrast, in the CON group, the left(p = .004; p = .006)and right(p = .002; p = .004)handgrip strength levels and PEF(p = .018; p = .012) measured at W8 and W12 were significantly lower than those at W0. Moreover, compared with the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels measured at W0, those measured at W8 and W12 were significantly lower in the KT group(p = .006; p = .013)but significantly higher in the CON group(p = .005; p = .009). There was no significant difference in hs-CRP, IL-6, TNF-α between the KT and CON group.

    Conclusion: For elderly people with sarcopenia, participating in kettlebell training significantly increases the sarcopenia index, grip strength, back strength, and PEF. In addition, the retention effect of the training program continued after 4 weeks of detraining.

    Do the work, experience the fruit.

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