Benefits of Kettlebell Training
The Whole-body Workout
What are the Benefits of Kettlebell Training?
Kettlebell training, although technically “weight training,” is more about movement, joint mobility, explosive power, connective tissue strength, mental focus and breathing, than simply lifting weights. Kettlebell movements build deep neuromuscular foundations for athletic strength and power. Kettlebell training develops strength, endurance, mobility and flexibility all at the same time.
Ballistic kettlebell exercises such as the swing, and snatch, utilize all muscles of the body while first accelerating and then decelerating a load and delivering intense anaerobic conditioning. Force production, force absorption and hand eye coordination are simultaneously learned through compound kettlebell movements. Additionally, the skill of tension, followed by relaxation is not only necessary for athletic endurance, but has health benefits as well. Kettlebell workouts burn a lot of calories in a realtively short time and are an excellent way to lose excess, unhealthy, body fat.
The kettlebell’s displaced center of mass uniquely challenges the bodies stabilizer muscles and forces the entire body to participate in the movement, recruiting more muscles and joints, providing a much more realistic approach to conditioning. Kettlebell training results in increased circulation in the joints increasing joint health. Kettlebells are portable and lend themselves well to remote and austere environment training.
An article in the December, 2003 edition of the Australian Martial Arts Magazine “Blitz,” provides and excellent description of kettlebell training:
“The kettlebell is the freest of free-weights. They are to dumbbells what dumbbells are to machine weights, the reason being that the kettlebell displaces the centre of mass away from the handle, meaning the bulk of the weight is constantly pulling against your hand. You must use your whole body to control the kettlebell, requiring skill and co-ordination as you work to maintain your form."
Training the Posterior Kinetic Chain
The posterior kinetic chain, a group of muscles, tendons and ligaments that run up the back side of your body, is considered my many to be the most important set of muscles in the body. These are the muscles of the lower back, buttocks, hamstrings and calves; specifically the erector spinea, the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, and soleus muscles.
Unfortunately, North American fitness training has mostly focused on training the muscles of the front side of the body, mostly the chest, abs and quads. Properly training the posterior kinetic chain may correct postural imbalances, and reduce low back pain as well as increasing athletic power. Many of the core kettlebell movements such as the swing, clean & snatch strongly train the posterior kinetic chain.