Far too often, when I tell people what I do & how I train, the first question they ask is; “what’s a kettlebell and what do you do with it?”
The first thing I do is explain that it is the best tool I’ve ever used and/or seen for increasing overall levels of fitness & strength. Then I refer them to http://www.dragondoor.com/, and encourage them to try an intro class with a certified instructor (RKC). If that’s not helpful enough, here is an excellent explanation:
* What is a “Kettlebell”?
A ‘kettlebell’ or girya (Russ.) is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle.
It all started in 1998 with Pavel Tsatsouline a former Soviet Special Forces instructor, currently a Subject Matter Expert to elite units of the US military and law enforcement. Pavel’s subversive article, Vodka, Pickle Juice, Kettlebell Lifting, and Other Russian Pastimes, in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Atletes. Written on the suggestion of Pavel’s friend Marty Gallagher, former Powerlifting Team USA Coach, the article was extremely well received by the most ruthless critics in the iron world. Pavel’s publisher John Du Cane took a leap of faith: “You write a book and I’ll make traditional Russian cast iron kettlebells in the U.S.!”
2001 was the year of the kettlebell. Dragon Door published The Russian Kettlebell Challenge and forged the first US made Russian style cast iron kettlebell. Then they launched the RKC kettlebell instructor certification course.
* Why Kettlebells are considered “The ultimate tool for extreme all-round fitness?”
• Many people believe they need separate workouts to get their strength training, flexibility, cardio and core conditioning. Not true. Kettlebells combine all these and you never train to failure so you can train almost everyday. Your workouts can be as short as 10 minutes and no longer than 45 minutes.
• High repetition kettlebell training is an aerobic workout. Men, no need to join your local step aerobics class or do slow boring cardio. Kettlebells will make you feel like a MAN again. Women, set your fat on fire while developing the strength you need to promote overall health and fight the effects of aging.
• The kettlebell will give you infinite freedom of lifting. The kettlebell workout is unique in how it strengthens the stabilizing and supporting muscles. Traditional weightlifting actually discourages the use of stabilizing muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Weight machines target one particular muscle group at a time. Resulting in big, bulky, muscles that are, for all practical purposes, useless. Kettlebells won’t add bulk, unless that is your goal. They will burn bodyfat, give your muscles definition, strengthen tendons and ligaments and create functional strength that can be beneficial in everything you do.
It has been said that kettlebells to traditional free weights are what barbells and dumbells are to machines.
• Kettlebells’ offset center of gravity maximizes shoulder strength, flexibility, and health. Most Russians have never heard of ‘rotator cuffs.’ shoulder injuries are virtually unheard of in people who train with Kettlebells.
• The kettlebell is the ultimate in conditioning the body for extreme decelerations. Think of all the sudden stops and direction changes on the football field. If you have not conditioned yourself to handle these forces, you will perform sub-par and run a high risk of injury. Traditional strength training, even the Olympic ‘quick lifts’, does not address this issue as the weight is either dropped or treated to a slow negative. As Brett Jones, RKC Sr. put it, “You cannot swing a barbell between your legs.” You could try it with a dumbbell -at least until the sheer width of it takes your knees out. The compact kettlebell can be dropped from the overhead lockout position between your knees and way behind you where it will impact load your hips.
• This dynamic loading sets up the hip muscles for a powerful contraction. The kettlebell is the definitive tool for developing the hip thrust, the power generator in all athletics. Be it a jump, a kick, or a punch, when expertly performed, it comes from the hip.
• The kettlebell will make your back resilient. Kettlebell exercises condition your back from every conceivable angle, statically and dynamically. One would have to take up powerlifting, yoga, strongman, gymnastics, and a couple of other things to half way imitate the benefits of kettlebell training.
• The kettlebell is an outstanding grip, wrist, and forearm developer. A thick and smooth handle combined with the ballistic nature of many exercises loads the grip like rock climbing. Bottom up cleans and similar leverage drills unique to kettlebells take care of the wrists.
• The position of the handle allows dynamic passing of the kettlebell from hand to hand for a great variety of powerful juggling type exercises strongly endorsed by the Russian Federation State Committee on Physical Culture. These drills develop dynamic strength and injury-proof the body in many planes unlike conventional linear exercise.
If you still have questions, contact me!