My personal training clients will know well that I am an ardent fan of kettlebell training and the striking improvements to overall strength and fitness that you can attain with regular practice.
Always a lover of the unconventional and slightly strange (hope my partner doesn’t read this!), when I first encountered the kettlebell almost two decades ago, they were still a rather fringe training tool just about to become (re)popularised into the mainstream fitness community.
They are now ubiquitous across gyms and training studios, so need no introduction from me, but here are three reasons I love – and hopefully my clients also love – training with kettlebells.
I think it was actually reading a blog post myself about strength training where I came across the KISS principle – ‘keep it simple, stupid’.
There could barely be a better phrase to sum up how 95% of us should approach strength and fitness training (professional and elite athletes may need a little more fine tuning compared to the vast majority).
There are an awful lot of kettlebell exercises, but there aren’t too many that you need!
If you can get anywhere close to mastering the basics of swings, cleans, squats, presses, windmills, and renegade rows, then you seriously don’t need anything else in your arsenal. Build a programme based on these exercises and train 2 or 3 times per week, and you’ll be in pretty good shape with great functional strength.
By keeping your training simple, you eliminate the risk of over thinking, over planning and focus on what’s important!
I want my strength training to help improve me as a martial artist, make me strong enough to easily cope with the rigours of daily life, and keep me strong and healthy in middle age (and beyond!).
In martial arts, as in daily life, we use our body as one coordinated unit, and I want my strength training to reflect that.
Anyone new to lifting kettlebells will quickly notice weight loss, improved posture, increased strength, more flexibility, a deeper understanding of how to use your body efficiently, and a change in their physicality keeping in the proportions that nature intends.
If you aren’t lifting weights, you will become weaker as you age – at an alarming rate once you reach middle age. My personal training students defy that, they become stronger than they have ever been, even ones starting in their 50’s and 60’s.
If you are lifting weights using machines or a bodybuilding routine that separates body parts at each workout, you’re pretty much wasting your time, it’s not a great way to train. You don’t learn to use your body functionally, you may look better as your muscles grow but you won’t create that deep, tight strength which connects your whole body together as one unit. You risk injury because your body doesn’t learn to lift properly.
Barbell and dumbbell training is great but kettlebells hold an advantage in that your body has to work much hard to keep the weight stable.
I firmly believe that kettlebells are the best way to build strength and fitness whatever your age.
Safe (if taught correctly)
I remember years ago when my first 32kg kettlebell was delivered, by the time I had got it up to the 3rd floor to my flat at that time, I felt a spasm in my back and it spent the next week gathering dust in the corner of the room while I recovered.
It’s safe to say that kettlebells can cause pain and when not respecting the weight, or lifting with bad technique, (for example, hauling one upstairs!) I’ve caused myself the occasional injury here and there.
However, kettlebells are an incredibly safe training tool…. You just need to know how to use them properly, which quite often means hiring someone like myself to show you!
Maybe it’s my martial arts background but I’m a stickler for good technique and I tend to approach kettlebells as though training for a martial art.
Just like a fighter who relies on brute force and strength will be dismantled by someone with good technique, if your kettlebell lifting relies on trying to muscle your way through lifts, you’ll reach your limit very quickly. If you learn the technique and practice correctly, you’ll far exceed what you think you are capable of, and with adequate rest and recuperation, you will remain injury free.
If you are in the Haywards Heath area and you would like to learn more about how kettlebell training can help you, contact me on 07834 275776 or email@example.com