I had a great question the other day and it was simple. The answer could be an entire book. The question was, “Danny what is so special about the kettlebell?” It’s funny I work with them all day, I enjoy the hell out of them, I have seen amazing results with them for myself and my client’s. I use it for strength training, power and explosiveness, corrective exercise, conditioning, and weight loss. As I know all this, and live it daily, I almost didn’t know what to say. The fact is I have seen more transformations in my myself and my clients since I have done kettlebell training more than any other form of training that I have taken on. A lot of it is the training philosophy I follow using them, but the fact is ability to be a dynamic tool is priceless. I just had a client who couldn’t run a 5K a few months ago prior to kettlebell training just run and complete a 5K. The addition was kettlebell training, not treadmills, ellipticals,Bicep curls, chest press machine, or spinning. Just the bell.
Here is the deal, I have had trainers tell me that the barbell is superior or that dumbbells offer the same thing. I used to get all argumentative, but the facts are this. If you want to do heavy deadlifts the swing will help you become a better deadlifter. Just ask the ladies in my classes that never deadlifted before and only swung kettlebells. After a short time they can easily deadlift over 200lbs(and no they are not bulky). Yes, if you want to lift heavy deadlifts then you should also lift a barbell, but the kettlebell made me a better deadlifter. The ability to generate power, and explosiveness using the glutes and hamstrings is a great benefit of kettlebell training. Yes, olympic lifts are also a great way to increase explosiveness, but the difference is this, the learning curve for olympic lifts VS kettlebells is huge. I think Oly lifting is awesome, but for many of my clients it will never happen, mostly because they won’t have the patience to learn, but the ability for me to get a 50+ year old man with an injury history that would take up this whole blog, feeling powerful and explosive in a few sessions is priceless. The fact that I can help someone achieve amazing cardiovascular conditioning without putting high impact on the knees and joints is truly awesome.
The other part of the coin is what are you doing with the kettlebell. Unfortunately numerous philosophies use the bell in ways that make me cringe but choosing an instructor and kettlebell gym is important. Here are some keys that I look for. Find and RKC instructor that follows the RKC philosophy. If they do an American Swing it isn’t RKC or hardstyle training, and if you feel wrecked for 3 or 4 days after each workout that shouldn’t be the case either. A quote I heard once goes something like this. “Using kettlbells with good form will change your life in ways that are amazing, using kettlebells with bad form will change your life in ways that suck!”. This could go with barbells, dumbells, running, or any athletic training. Form, technique and human movement should always be a part of training no matter what tool you choose to train with. As for myself I love my kettlebells, barbells, and pull up bar. Pretty much that is all I need to make me a happy man in the gym.