So I’ve started a new series called:
ADDING VARIETY TO YOUR TRAINING.
This will be the first of many to talk about. They will range from all different types of training, mostly for conditioning. It is important to stick with a plan for your regular strength and physique goals, but it is always fun to mix things up a little when it comes to cardio and conditioning, and you can even use these as a supplement to help with the process of getting there! So today I give you:
Pt. I: KETTLEBELLS
Kettlebells are those odd-looking cannon ball-shaped weights with a handle on top, that many of you may have been calling “kettleballs”. I feel that most people connect kettlebells with crossfit and newer styles of training, and dismiss them quickly because they are different than what we’re used to in the gym. In reality, it is quite the opposite; kettlebells have been around for many years, and can be very effective and beneficial when implemented into your training!
Kettlebells were first introduced in the 1700’s by Russian strongmen. They are not only utilized for gains in conditioning, but strength and power, as well. A kettlebell can be swung, pressed, and lifted in various ways, but it is different from weightlifting and powerlifting, because it can be done bilaterally and unilaterally in all planes. Being so multi-dimensional with training, kettlebells can also help your daily functioning, making them very useful to the average person, not just a strength athlete! Since they are smaller and don’t take up much space, they can be taken almost anywhere to get some training in.
As previously stated, kettlebells can be useful to anyone. Some exercises are similar to every day movements, making them a great tool for function. This means that they can be used as a safe way to train younger populations, where the purpose is to build overall strength and prevent injury, rather than more specific competitive weightlifting and bodybuilding, as well as older populations to potentially develop new neuromuscular patterns. A study has also been done that showed kettlebell training twice a week for 10 weeks significantly improved bench press and the clean and jerk in all (previously physically active) participants. This was possibly due to the unique structure of the kettlebell, being distal to the center of mass, which supports a more “repetitive” or “ballistic” style that helped transfer to some strength and power gains in different lifts.
Kettlebell training is a very effective way to enhance your conditioning. Burning up to almost 20 calories a minute, it is said to be similar to uphill cross-country skiing! If it helps with strength and power, why not get metabolic?!
Here are a few simple workouts one can do at the end of a training session with kettlebells that will take up only a few minutes:
(I am a huge fan of the traditional kettlebell swing, so I always start a workout with them!)
Kettlebell swings-30 seconds
High pulls- 30 seconds
Thrusters- 30 seconds
Plank row- 30 seconds (alternating arm each rep)
Weighted sit up- 30 seconds
Kettlebell swings- 20 reps
Push press- 20 reps
Goblet squat- 20 reps
RDL- 20 reps
Kettlebell swings- 30 reps
Thrusters- 20 reps
Burpee high pull- 10 reps
Bent over row- 10 reps (each side)
Single leg glute bridge- 20 reps (each leg)
Push press- 30 reps
1. Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 6 June 1, 2001 pp. 1470 -1472. (doi: 10.1542/peds.107.6.1470) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/6/1470.full.html.
2. P. Manocchia, D. Spierer, A. Lufkin, J. Minichiello, J. Castro. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Publish Ahead of Print. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825770fe. http://www.goodlift.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Transference_of_Kettlebell_Training_to_Strength.98217.pdf.
3. Vennare, A., Vennare J. Hybrid Athlete Kettlebell Cardio Handbook.