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5 Advantages of Kettlebell Training

5 Advantages of Kettlebell Training


How you can use the minimum to get the maximum


“Using less to accomplish more” is the essence of kettlebell training

What many thought was a passing FAD back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, kettlebell training has had quite the staying power in not only the health and fitness industry, but also in the even more highly scrutinized strength and conditioning sector of the health and fitness industry. 

Growing up it was all barbells and dumbbells in the strength world, and in particular, my strength world. I was a DII athlete and even interned as a strength coach assistant at a DII powerhouse school that also had DI Hockey. Kettlebells weren’t seen in that facility in as late as 2006.

It wasn’t until 2007 when I had my first real job in my educational field as a personal trainer in a small, exclusive, and private studio in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where I was first exposed to this bowling ball looking thing with a handle. Like many others resistant to change, I was kind of snarky about them when the owner of the studio introduced them to me. Because I was the low man on the totem pole, I was up for anything the boss man wanted me to try, so I obliged and began learning a couple kettlebell training exercises he was demonstrating for me, the kettlebell swing and then the kettlebell snatch. 

It took a couple sessions to nail down the technique and that’s when it started to click for me. Kettlebell training movements were smooth, easy on the joints, explosive, full body, functional, and very efficient. I didn’t fully immerse myself into kettlebell training quite yet, but I certainly respected them, bought myself a pair of 35lbers for home, and worked them into my programming for humans of all ages and fitness abilities.

Here’s 5 advantages, each of which likely requires its own article, of purchasing and learning the art of kettlebell training for your health and fitness journey.

  1. minimum space requirements

I once had someone tell me they didn’t have any time or room in their apartment to workout. I told them to buy a gym membership then, and he said he “didn’t like training in the gym.” I said train outside then, and he said “it was winter in Minnesota.” This guy was a real Nancy of course, so I challenged him on the “I don’t have any room in my apartment” excuse. I said, “tell me about how much room you don’t have in your apartment.” He said, “the only space I really have that is open is my closet.” I said “good, buy some kettlebells and we’ll teach you how to kettlebell train in your closet.” 

My point is this, if you have a closet, you have enough space in your house, apartment, or tiny house for kettlebell training. 

2. Maximum output per unit of time

If you were to ask 100 fitness pros and strength coaches to pick a tool to use if you had only 15 minutes to train and you wanted to get the most bang for your buck and the most variety of movements and benefits, I think you’d get a majority of them answering, “kettlebells.” Sure, there’s going to be the barbell and dumbbell answer in there, but after some discussion afterward about the varying answers, I think 80% or better would say kettlebells would be the way to go. Strength, power, endurance, mobility, stability, and EPOC effect, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better.

3. best piece of equipment on a budget

When you understand the variety of movement, general fitness, strength, power, and endurance benefits of kettlebell training, the price is incredibly low. People spend $3,000 for a stationary bike with a screen nowadays. I could build an entire 2,000 square foot gym with a $3,000 budget. With a couple hundred bucks into some kettlebells, maybe $500 if you want a complete line at home for you and your family, you’re basically set for a one-stop-shop for life! Now you’ve just got to kettlebell train consistently!

4. They last forever

Unlike fancy widgets that rely on technology, batteries, motors, etc….kettlebells will last you forever, provided that you purchase quality kettlebells and not the crap they sell at retail stores. If you’ve bought from a reputable supplier and they have a quality powder coat, they will work as long as you’re alive, and if your kettlebell training is consistent, chances are your life will be lengthened.

5. Endless variety for every stage of life

Whether you’re you’re a young buck or doe just learning the ropes, in the prime of your competitive athlete days, in the real world, or retired, kettlebell training can be utilized for all seasons of life. Gaining or maintaining muscle, gaining or maintaining lean mass, and gaining or maintaining functional capacity are qualities we should all strive to retain as we age, so whether you’re 8 or 80, your kettlebells can grow old with you.  

Switching the “Dumb” for the “Kettle”

SWITCHING THE “DUMB” FOR THE “KETTLE”


OUR KETTLEBELL EXPERT BRANDON LARUE EXPLAINS THE 5 ADVANTAGES TO USING KETTLEBELLS OVER DUMBBELLS


Before anyone gets all bent out of shape, let’s agree that strength training and resistance training are kings of being physiologically superior in inducing the changes most people desire, and that’s get strong, build muscle, and lose fat. Whether it be dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, resistance bands, mace clubs, etc….use resistance and progressively overload the system.

There, now that we have that out of the way, we can move forward with why we believe kettlebells are superior to dumbbells.


Versatility

Both the kettlebell and dumbbell are versatile, but which is more versatile? Let’s put it this way, with a dumbbell you can do hundreds of exercises, making it quite versatile. With a kettlebell, you can do every one of those exercises a dumbbell can do, plus another hundred that a dumbbell would be too cumbersome to accomplish. Can you get a lot accomplished with a dumbbell or set of dumbbells? Of course you can, but can you get more accomplished with a kettlebell or set of kettlebells? Of course you can.

Advantage: Kettlebells

Economy/Efficiency

From an economics perspective, good dumbbells and good kettlebells cost about the same. For about $2 – $3/lb brand new and many times you can find shipping included in the amount. Whatever you choose, make sure to buy American made. From an efficiency standpoint, which could fall under the category of economy, we don’t think there would be any argument as to what tool allows for more work to get done in a shorter amount of time. The design of kettlebells allows for smooth transition into multiple different movements patterns (100’s of exercises) and much of the kettlebell industry understands and programs according to being efficient with one’s time.

Advantage: Kettlebells

Power Development

We don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but once again, you can develop power with both, but which is superior? Because of the ergonomics of the kettlebell, movements such as Swings, Cleans, and Snatches, which are typically considered the kings of power development in the strength training world are staples in kettlebell-land. Some may argue, “yeah, but you don’t use triple extension (referring to the ankle joint not extending with most movements) with kettlebells.” This may be valid for recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts; however, you can most certainly do triple extension swings, snatches, and cleans with kettlebells. Additionally, no implement, that we’ve ever used allows more power access to the hips, with resistance, than the kettlebells.

Advantage: Kettlebells

Grip Strength

Due to the ballistic and explosive nature of kettlebell training, and the fact that you have to hold onto them for most of these exercises, the grip gets trained better than anything we’ve ever experienced in strength/power training. Grab the forearms of anyone who’s trained with kettlebells and you’ll feel what we’re talking about. Better yet, shake their hands, you won’t find a lame-wristed hand-shake from someone who trains with kettlebells. Grip strength is one of the human performance qualities that just seem to make a human more difficult to kill.

Advantage: Kettlebells

Look cool

Maybe dumbbells are just old news, although they are still very useful for many and can still produce great results for people, but kettlebells, even though they’ve been around just as long as dumbbells, have long been a training tool in Europe and only in the last couple decades have caught on in the USA. Go to a big box gym, and you’ll find all the “brad chads” doing bicep curls and shoulder flyes, looking for their 90 min pump for the day, and lo and behold in the corner, there’s a lone ranger busting out a training session with their pair of kettlebells in less than 30 minutes. All the “bodybuilders” are wondering, how’d they get done so fast, and how do they look so darn cool when they’re training???

Advantage: Kettlebells