Say anything about the iron looking cannon with a handle on it, and you have got my attention. In fact, I have been known to quickly swoop right in on a conversation like a hawk picking up its prey at the mere utterance of the word “kettlebell”. True, I am quite in love with this Russian tool as I have found it to be the essential element to my own personal fitness routine. Had I not had the courage to pick up a 12kg kettlebell and get my life back in order a few years back, this here business and this here blog would be nothing but a mere figment of my imagination. But. . .that’s not what this blog post is about. This post is not about what kettlebells have done for me, but rather, what they have done for other people in terms of their functional use.
In passing, I overheard some discussion on how kettlebells are just limited in terms of their exercise modalities. “Ok” I thought. I can see how exercising in one particular way may seem limiting to some. After all, the kettlebell is just one tool, and I won’t disagree with the idea that using one tool may appear monotonous to some. However, upon overhearing that kettlebells are just “limited to swings, squats, and presses.” and that such limitations make the tool “boring” or “pointless”, well. . .let’s just say I couldn’t help but feel a tid bit *insert not-so-happy-emotion here*.
But let’s give these folks the benefit of the doubt. There really is some misunderstanding out there about what you really CAN DO with kettlebells, and trust me, it goes beyond your swings, presses, and squat routines. Allow me to point you into the direction of this post that breaks down a good number of kettlebell lifts. You will notice that there are a lot more than just swings and squats here. That means that the way you can combine these exercises are virtually endless. And this list isn’t even the full list of kettlebell lifts that you can do. Regardless, the embedded post should serve as a way to show you that kettlebells go well beyond just a few different lifts. The endless combinations you have here will increase your strength and constantly change your workout routines to allow your body to continue to adapt. This is pretty awesome considering that, for the most part, improving body composition is what most people want when they sign up for training at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh. Constant variety + increased intensity = one fine and happy you. If you don’t believe me, read this.
Beyond the exercise combinations that will keep you from falling prey to boredom, I want to talk about the functional use of the kettelbell. Hate to break it to you folks, but not every body is designed to hit it hard at the gym 5 days out of the week, and that is with a very good reason. In fact, too much all at once will more than certainly add to your inflammation levels, which means lack of recovery leading to injury. Who wants that, really? Even if we set the inflammation bit aside, let’s also think about the functional use of the kettlebell in comparison to other high volume lifting routine or non stop high intensity interval training. I deal with a lot of people that have a lot of joint related concerns. I have a client with a pin in his knee, a woman who blew out her ACL, a client with scoliosis, and someone who may be looking at hip replacement if he doesn’t start moving a bit better. I was sought out by such folks after writing a ton about how kettlebell training a) allows the body to gain strength with minimal (if any) stress to the joint which b) ENHANCES movement. Better movement will lead to better work capacity and over time, the ability to lose weight and gain more mass since the body is able to well. . just move better. I would NOT and DO NOT recommend such clients enter into high volume activity because it would be dangerous to do so. I DO recommend the basics first, for at least 1 month, then transitioning them into a maintenance protocol once the foundational movement patterns have been established. I have found in my career, that the kettlebell is not “pointless” in this manner, but an essential tool for those that are physically incapable to sustain other exercise modalities. You could say that this is my “niche”, and I seem to have opened the eyes of many in this little niche of mine. They are stronger for it. And strength. . .it’s empowering!
Are kettlebells the be-all-end-all of of your fitness program? No. I won’t say that. I would not have opened up Progressive Calisthenics to my clients at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh if I was hell bent on sticking to one particular exercise method. But I will say this. When your clients come up to you after a few months of hard work and thank you for helping them move better while pushing hard and having fun with new workouts each session. . . when you have someone pull you aside and thank you for helping them get out of pain while getting stronger. . . when someone thanks you for giving them the knowledge to get effective weight loss results in a way that is simple, safe, and effective. . .and well, let’s just add when you have someone ask for your training advice for a level I kettlebell cert, you’ll realize that there really IS something to this hunk of iron with a handle on it. Boring? I think not. This Russian Kettlebell offers us more than just the usual swings and squats. Pointless? That couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, Russian Kettelebell training may be one of the most effective ways to lay the foundation for functional strength. Empowering others to be the strongest version of themselves. . .THAT dear readers is what this is all about.
If you have any other questions about kettlebell lifting or about how to combine several different lifts into a program, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be more than happy to scheudle you for a free consultation at the studio to discuss your fitness needs and goals.
Until next time. . .
Master your instincts!