Hello Comrades, Kettlebell training has crossed over from the Soviet Union to the shores of M Factor Fitness!
( I realize the Soviet Union is no more but since this originated in the Soviet Union, I wanted to be accurate. Plus it makes a catchy headline. )
It is about time. I have been reading about kettlebells from the mid-nineties in Muscle and Fitness and the magazine Bill Phillips used to put out. I forgot the name of it but it was a great magazine. If memory serves, the guy that really introduced kettlebells to America was Pavel Tsatsouline. A man ahead of his time. Really about 15 years ahead of his time. I hope he is making a nice living off of this because he is the true founder of this movement. But at the time it looked kind of silly to me, so I ignored it.
Anyway, kettlebell training may sound intimidating because it is. You are swinging a cannonball with a handle all around your body so you should have some concern. As always, the celebrity fitness gurus are marketing this to beginners and people who have no business starting out with kettlebells. But this will lead to another rant, so let’s move on. Suffice to say, don’t start an exercise program with them. Work into them. They are a great tool for functional fitness but you need some functional fitness before you should use them. If that makes any sense.
Why did I start training with Kettlebells? I was looking for a way to improve my squats and explosive power. The cool thing about the kettle-bell as opposed to the dumbbell is the concentration of mass. A dumbbell is balanced with weight on each side of the handle, which makes it wider and more cumbersome. The kettlebell has the weight beneath the handle so it is more compact and easier to swing.
The act of swinging a weight has an effect of tying together muscles by making every exercise a compound movement. My main purpose was to work what is called the posterior chain. These are the muscles from the calves, hamstrings, glutes, lower back , mid back and traps.
From a functional training perspective I was strong in the quads but weak in the glutes. In fact my hamstrings had started taking over a lot of the glute work, meaning they were always tight and fatigued. This really affected my ability to go heavy with back squats.
1. I felt I could never go as heavy as I wanted.
2. When I did go heavy, I always ended up getting injured, hip flexor strain, hamstring pull, lower back pain etc…
So my reason to get into kettlebell training was to coordinate and strengthen the posterior chain muscles to create more balanced power. And it has really been a blessing for me to do this. Not only do I feel stronger, I walk in a better alignment and I just feel more balanced.
So I decided to introduce basic kettlebell exercises to some of my clients this month. Remember, the people I like to train are between 35 and 60 and many of them suffer from back, knee and hip pain. So we are starting off with a 15 lb. kettle-bell and doing very basic but hard exercises; swings, deadlifts, rows and stiff legged deadlifts. The results so far have been fantastic.
I will keep you posted next month.
Visit me at http://www.mfactorfitness.com Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |