Fitness training has changed in the last few years. Now you are just as likely to see people training on the latest fitness machines in the gym as you are fitness enthusiasts in the park swinging a funny round weight with a handle. Perhaps you saw a segment on the news talking about this thing called kettle bell training and aren't really sure what to make of it. Well kettlebells seem to be everywhere and are going from strength to strength.
So what is a kettlebell? A kettle bell sort of looks like an black steel bowling ball with a thick handle and come in various sizes usually ranging from 8kg to 48kg.
Used previously by old time strong men and popularised by Russian athletes, the kettlebell is now used by top sports teams, martial artists, athletes, Hollywood celebrities and everyday trainers throughout the world, due to the outstanding results people are getting.
The foundation kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing. The swing can be done with 1 or 2 hands. It involves hiking the kettlebell between your legs before using your hips and posterior chain to propel the kettlebell forward and up in a circular swing movement before it drops under control back between your legs. The following great benefits can be gained by training with kettlebell swings.
1). Kettlebells are highly efficient and allow you to do fitness and weight training in one workout at the same time.
2). Swings develop the important posterior chain muscles of the body such as the hamstrings, glutes, core and back. These muscles are often overlooked with traditional weight training but they are crucial for a large number of sports as these muscles are heavily involved in sprinting, jumping and tackling movements.
3). A kettlebell swing is a perfect choice of exercise for tabata training. This very short but intense style of training is ideal for kettlebell swings as they hit a lot of muscle at one time and get the heart rate soaring. Although Tabata training only involves work periods of 20 seconds with 10seconds of rest it is very brutal but very effective.
4). Swings work the abs and strengthen the core muscles as they provide a stable platform for other muscles to pull from. Traditional crunches are useless and do nothing for you, hit your abs with functional abdominal training that actually has benefit in the real world.
5). A key benefit of kettlebell swings is that they train all parts of the back from the lower back all the way to traps. They train all the muscles together giving you a great functional workout
6). High rep swings also develop back endurance which Professor Stuart McGill a leading spine/back expert considers has a very positive effect on the reduction of back injuries.
7). Swings are a fantastic conditioner and body fat burner. More and more studies are concluding that greater body fat burning occurs when training is performed at higher intensity levels rather than long slow endurance type training.
The above are only some of the benefits a program of kettlebell swings can provide. Although it sounds too good to be true there is a downside of kettlebell swings ... they are hard work. However, if you build into your program gradually, a program based around kettlebell swing movements will provide fantastic workouts to get you fit, lean and healthy in a surprisingly short amount of time.
For more information then check out this resource about kettlebells
How to Swing a Kettlebell Correctly!
The kettlebell swing is the foundation movement for a large proportion of kettlebell exercises.