Deck the halls with…errrr Kettlebells?
This is just a quick taster into Kettlebells and why we think they are a great tool for the majority of people that train regularly. It’s been two years since we started the K/B classes here at Dave’s and without doubt they have been a huge success story. The reason for the succes in my view is simple , getting results whilst having fun. Now I appreciate that line appears on every class poster in every gym in the country however, in the case of K/Bs it’s a sinscere statement. There are some die hards out there that will spend a good few minutes or even hours if you let them trying to convince you that there is no life after kettlebells. However, I am not one of these people although I will agree that they are a versatile piece of equipment that you can perfom almost any decent movement with. For me there are three key areas where K/Bs can help all lifters regardless of whether they are used in a class or incorporated into a workout.
Range of movement (ROM)
For most people learning kettlebells is a completely new skill. New skills mean a fresh start and an opportunity to “do it right the first time”. A full range of movement is important whenever and whatever you are lifting but we all know that satisfying our egos is a lot easier when the weight on the bar goes up continuously. As a result many would be “big lifters” just end up barely moving the weight at all. It is far easier to create good habits from scratch than it is to break bad habits and Kettlebells offer a chance to reiterate the importance of a full range of movement. Training in the full range of motion enhances both muscle strength and joint flexibility both things that all lifters should be aiming for. When I think of flexibilty and mobility I generally think about my warm up. I’ll often use kettlebells to mobilise my hips as well as things like shoulders and in doing so establish a raised heartrate, no bad thing. This re-highlighting of importance of the full ROM through new kettlebell exercises can then be transfered into other movements being used in your training and hey presto you’ve just become a more intelligent lifter than the guy next to you that is doing bicep curls like Bez out of the happy Mondays.
The posterior chain is a group of muscles, tendons and ligaments on the posterior kinetic chain of the body. Examples of these muscles include the hammies, glutes, lower back, traps, rear delts and so on. The trouble is that you can’t see any of these muscles in a mirror and therefore they play second fiddle to things like chest, shoulders and guns. From a sports performance perspective the posterior chain is vitally important and even aesthetically without the back the front will never reach its full potential. K/Bs offer a chance to address this imbalance and in doing so once again make reaching your gym goals just that little bit easier. All the exercises that are unique to kettlebells (essentially swinging in all its variations) revolve around the posterior chain. Learning to use these muscles in the right order as well as making them stronger can only be a good thing when it comes to your other big compound movements. Better glutes and hammies, better squat. Better hip stability, better running and more powerful kenetic movement, get the picture yet?
Yet another area where many of us fall down in our training. As a trainer I have to confirm what most people have read in magazines about conditioning on a daily basis. Yes, if you do sprint intervals on the bike, rower or treadmill you will acheive better conditioning and fat burning than those that insist on working no harder than their 70% fat burning zone. Quite honestly though I rather stub my toe repeatedly than do these, its just boring to me. Kettlebell swing intervals combined with a simple body weight exercise like burpees done at the right intensity will deliver the same heart rate as traditional cardio intervals. The best bit is you get to keep lifting even when you are doing conditioning and you can stand on the spot.
If you would like to learn more about kettlebells, that all members get 4-6 week programming you can use these to get a kettlebell taster. All abilities are taken in the classes which run four nights a week just pick up a timetable next time you are in.
Merry Christmas every one,