Workout-X® Guide To Kettlebell Training
Introduction to Kettlebells
Kettlebell training has become very popular in the United States as of late, although it has been popular in many countries for centuries. It is recommended for building strength, endurance, mass, and mental toughness. In this guide you will learn about kettlebell training, including how to use it for these purposes.
Before we get started, it is important to note a few things about kettlebell training. First, be certain that you are using the kettlebells that are appropriate for your weight limit. Using kettlebells that are too heavy will only result in injury. Second, be certain that you are using the kettlebells appropriately so that you do not injure yourself during your workout. The workouts and suggestions found in this guide will give you a start as to how to work out effectively and safely with kettle bells.
In addition to safety, it is important to note the fact that kettlebell training in general should be used to supplement your strength training workouts, not replace them. While kettlebell training can do a lot for your body, there are many muscle groups that cannot be worked using kettlebells. It is important to vary your training for a whole body workout.
It is also important to point out that kettlebell training is for everyone. Women have a lot of success with kettlebell training. Of course, men are successful with it as well, but women especially enjoy this type of strength training. It builds strength and mass without undue stress on the body. In short, it is much easier than other forms of strength training. This makes it great for those who are just starting out in strength training from a weakened state, or for women who have never done strength training in the past.
Keeping all of this in mind, let’s delve into the world of kettlebell training. In this guide you will learn why kettlebell training is so popular, as well as ways to use it to your advantage.
What is Kettlebell Training?
A kettlebell is a cast iron weight ranging from five to one hundred pounds with a handle on it for easy gripping. You use the kettlebell by swinging it, pressing it, or pulling it. One of the appeals of kettlebell training is that you can use the weight with momentum, which is a big no-no in other forms of strength training. This means that you can combine strength and cardio into one exercise.
There is a huge difference between dumbbells and kettlebells, even though they appear to be similar. The biggest difference between a kettlebell and a dumbbell is in how the weight works with your body. With a dumbbell, the center of gravity is in your hand, but with a kettlebell it is outside your hand. This is what makes it possible to use the kettlebell with momentum without risk of injury.
The goals of kettlebell training are different than with dumbbell training as well. Dumbbells allow you to build strength and endurance with slow and controlled movements. However, kettlebell training involves the whole body, and works to improve endurance, power, and dynamic movements.
Another key to kettlebell training is the flexibility. There are simply so many potential exercises and routines that can be done with the kettlebell to work a variety of muscle groups. The kettlebell swings are particularly good for building endurance and working cardio into your strength work out. In fact, kettlebell training combines strength, endurance, and flexibility training all into one work out, with one simple tool.
Kettlebell training is especially effective for building strength and endurance in the lower back, legs, and shoulders. It also helps to increase grip strength. All of these points combined are one reason why kettlebell training has become so popular, particularly among women and martial artists. It also explains why kettlebell training is only a part of strength training. Other forms of strength training are important for increasing strength in the arms and core muscles.
Popularity of Kettlebell Training
Kettlebell training has become very popular in the United States as of late. The strength training has a long, rich history based in eastern European countries over the last several centuries. The kettlebell training craze actually started in Russia in the 1700s. Soon, kettlebell competitions were held. These competitions still go on worldwide today.
Kettlebell training was brought to America and the masses by Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet Union Special Forces agent and a renowned fitness instructor. Recently kettlebell training has increased in popularity, and you can easily find individual or group classes at health clubs and fitness centers across the country.
Although kettlebell training has been around in America for some time, it has only recently seen an increase in popularity. This is due to the fact that trainers across the country have come to respect what kettlebell training can do for the body. It not only builds the strength and mental toughness that comes with training with dumbbells, but it also provides endurance, power, and dynamics that cannot be found with other strength training.
In addition, kettlebell training has become popular with the masses because it is easy to do anywhere, and you only need one piece of equipment. This makes it very popular for people who do not have the ability to go to the gym, but also do not have the room for a home gym in their house or apartment. The kettlebell can be easily stored when not in used, and easily brought out to your living room, bedroom, or even outside for a bit of fresh air. In addition, kettlebells are fairly inexpensive when compared with other work out equipment. You can get kettlebells at higher weights for as little as fifty dollars. Smaller kettlebells, such as five or ten pounds for women starting out with the tool, are even more cost effective.
Kettlebell training has also become very popular with women. This is because it is very easy to train with a low amount of weight to build strength and endurance. You can easily incorporate lower weight kettlebells into aerobic exercise, which allows you to combine strength and cardio training. This is a great way for women to burn fat, lose weight, and build strength that they have never had before.
Kettlebell training has mostly become popular because people recognize all of the benefits of this type of strength training. These benefits will be listed later, but suffice it to say that there are a number of benefits that cannot be found with other types of strength training. When combined with other strength training and cardio as a part of an exercise routine, kettlebell training can reap many benefits for your body, including strength and endurance.
Pros and Cons of Kettlebell Training
There are many benefits to kettlebell training, although there are a few disadvantages as well. However, the benefits far outweigh the cons, and most people will find that kettlebell training is a good fit for them. Let’s start by looking at the benefits of kettlebell training.
Pros of Kettlebell Training
• Kettlebell training incorporates both strength and cardio training into one work out. This builds muscular endurance, as well as helping you burn more fat and calories for weight loss or weight management.
• This is not only strength and endurance training, but also flexibility training. Kettlebell training strengthens the muscles across the joints, creating flexibility and mobility as well as stability in the joints. While flexibility training alone holds a risk for injury, kettlebell training does not hold this risk because it is also about building strength, not just flexibility.
• Kettlebell training requires your body to work as a unit rather than focusing on a particular set of muscles. This allows you to increase functional strength, strength that can be utilized more efficiently when necessary.
• Kettlebell training is also good for building strength in the core muscles. The core muscles, those of the lower back and abdominals, are important for many professions, including professional fighters. In addition, the core muscles can be difficult to work with other exercises, but kettlebell training by its very nature works these muscles easily and with little effort.
• Kettlebells are relatively inexpensive, take up little room, and are easily stored. This makes them a great tool for people who cannot get to the gym for strength training, and have no room for a gym at home.
Cons of Kettlebell Training
• You can only get kettlebells up to a certain weight before they are no longer functional the way you need them to be. So if you are looking for raw strength and building heavy weights, you are going to need to do other forms of strength training.
• Kettlebells are a fixed weight, so if you want variation you have to own several different kettlebells, where as dumbbells and barbells can have their weight adjusted.
As you can see, there are far more benefits to using kettlebell training than there are disadvantages. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but it is certainly a good start to a comprehensive list of pros and cons. For most people, kettlebell training is a good addition to an already active routine, or a good way to get started in strength training and exercise. However, it is important to remember that for most people, other forms of exercise are also required in order to meet fitness or strength goals. Kettlebell training is but a part.
Kettlebell Training Basics
There are a few things that you need to know before you get started with kettlebell training. First, it is important to get proper training in how to use kettlebells before doing it on your own. The velocity and motion used in kettlebell training can be dangerous if you do not have proper form and perform the movements correctly. Even if you have experience in strength training, you should get some professional help in this area before you begin workouts at home. This training can come in the form of individual sessions with a personal trainer or in group classes.
It is also important to choose the right weight when starting kettlebell training. You will want to choose a conservative weight to start with. You want to use a kettlebell that you can easily swing back and forth for twenty to thirty repetitions. Remember, this exercise is not about building up weight, but having fun and creating muscular endurance. In addition, if you use too high of a weight to start with, you could risk injury. Start with a lower weight, and work your way up. If it seems like you have started with too low of a weight, simply increase it slowly until you find the ideal weight to begin with.
Another thing you need to keep in mind when starting kettlebell training is that you want a cardio workout, not just a strength training session. To that end, it is important to keep moving throughout your workout. Do a set of twenty to thirty repetitions when swinging the kettlebell, and then take a breather before you do the next set. However, while you are taking that breather between sets keep moving somewhat so that you can keep your heart rate up. This is what makes kettlebell training both cardio and strength training.
The most basic kettlebell training session will help with conditioning and burning fat, but not with building strength. In order to build strength with kettlebells you will need to get into a routine that will incorporate these goals. However, it is important to work your way up to that point. Starting with a basic routine, then a beginner’s session and finally a strength building session is the best way to go. This way your body can become conditioned and used to the movements that are made with the kettlebell, and you can more easily work your way into the strength building exercises.
If you keep these basics in mind when starting your kettlebell training, you will undoubtedly see success very quickly. Set realistic goals, and work your way up to more challenging goals. As your goals change, so will your workout. Again, at each phase and at the beginning of each workout goal you will want to get some professional help to make sure you are making the movements properly to avoid injury and increase effectiveness.
Five Points of Focus for Kettlebell Training
There are five points of focus that all strength training needs to cover. Remember, that while kettlebell training is different in its own way, it is still strength training, and these five areas need to be covered. If you do not cover all five areas in your workouts, you will have an unbalanced workout. An unbalanced workout can lead to ineffectiveness of your workouts, as well as injury or joint pain. The five areas of focus are the press, the pull, the squat, the lower body pull, and the core. If you focus on all five of these areas of exercises, you will have a well balanced workout and begin to see results immediately.
The press works out the triceps. A military press will work the shoulders, while a floor press will work the chest muscles. An alternative floor press will also work the abdominals. A double press will work the quadriceps and the calves in addition to the shoulders.
The best way to work the pull into your exercises is with various types of rows. Rows will work the biceps. A renegade row, alternating kettlebell row, double bell row, or one arm row will also work the lats. With all of these variable exercises available that work the same muscle groups, there is no reason to get bored with your work out.
You can also work in the pull by doing pull ups with the kettlebells, which will also work the middle back. Incorporating any one of these exercises into your routine is important for balance of your work out.
The squats will work your quadriceps, calves and glutes. You can do a double squat with two kettlebells, an overhead squat (which will also work the shoulders), or a one legged squat. There are not as many variations for squats as there are for pulls, but this will give you a little bit of flexibility in your workout.
The Lower Body Pull
These exercises will work the hamstrings. Various exercises will also work other muscle groups, so it is important to include a few of these into your routine rather than just choosing one. The double swing works the shoulders, calves and glutes. The double snatch on the other hand only works the shoulders in addition to the hamstrings, so it is not as effective. There is also the one handed swing and one handed snatch, which can be alternating if you don’t want to do the doubles. Finally, you can do a double clean, which works the lower back, traps and calves.
The core muscles are often the hardest to condition, but kettlebells make it easier than with other forms of strength training. You can work the core muscles through exercises such as the windmill and the Turkish Get Up. The windmill works the hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders in addition to the abdominals. The Turkish Get Up is considered one of the most effective kettlebell exercises, and works the quadriceps, calves and shoulders in addition to the abs.
A combination of all of these exercises will ensure that your kettlebell training routine is well balanced and highly effective.
Kettlebell Training for Strength
Kettlebell training is not the most effective way to build strength. Barbells will always be the ultimate in exercise equipment for that goal. However, if you don’t have access to barbells or a weight center, and you want to increase strength, you can do so with kettlebells by doing the right exercises in the right way. Most people who use kettlebells to build strength do so because they enjoy kettlebells, or because they don’t have the ability to go to the gym or set up a weight center in their home. Kettlebells are simply cheaper and take up less space, and therefore are preferred by some people.
There are certain drills that work best for building strength with the kettlebells. These are:
You will notice that there is only one drill on this list that uses only one kettlebell. The reason for this is quite simple. The more resistance you have in an exercise, the more strength you will build. Therefore, it is better to use two seventy-pound kettlebells than one. The only exercise on the list that uses one kettlebell is the Turkish Get Up, and this is on the list because it works shoulders and core muscles that are important for being able to do the other exercises effectively.
How you do the drills will also make a difference in how you build strength. There is a very easy program that will help you do this effectively with kettlebells. First, you can do five by five training for a few weeks. Five by five training is where you do five sets of five reps. In traditional strength training you increase the weight as this becomes easy, but with kettlebells you can’t do that because the weight increases aren’t incremental. Therefore, you have to do other things. One thing you can do is increase the time you hold the weight for each rep to five seconds. You can also decrease the time between sets.
After doing five by five training for a few weeks, you can move on to another type of training. German Volume Training will build a lot of muscle quickly, but will actually make you weaker if you do it for too long. An altered version of this training, which is traditionally ten sets of ten reps, is to do ten sets of five reps. Again, you can up the ante on your work out by holding the weight for longer or adding a rep to your set before increasing the weight on your kettle bells.
Finally, do a few weeks of high intensity training. In high intensity training you do one to three sets, and take each set to muscle failure. This form of training works well for a few weeks, but then you hit a training plateau and it is time to move on to something else. However, within that few weeks you will see tremendous increases in strength.
Kettlebell Training for Endurance
This is really what kettlebell training is best for, building endurance. Power endurance is necessary for nearly every sport. This is the ability to perform an action repeatedly, with power and speed. Kettlebell training is really good for building this type of endurance because it is so easy to move from one drill to another with the kettlebell. This allows you to get a full muscular workout without pause, something that will build endurance for certain.
Kettlebell training builds power endurance by its very nature. It is based on variations of Olympic lifts. These lifts cannot be done slowly. They have to be done quickly or not at all. Doing a number of these varied Olympic lifts in a row without pause between repetitions and taking only short breaks between sets will allow you to build up amazing power endurance.
There are several ways that you can design kettlebell routines so that you can build power endurance. One way you can do this is through kettlebell clusters. This requires performing a drill every twenty seconds for a set amount of time. The amount of time you do the drills should be a long enough period of time that you begin to feel worn out from the workout. To step it up a notch and keep things interesting, you can do a different drill every twenty seconds. To make it even more fun and interesting, you can work out with a partner. Every twenty seconds you call out a drill for them to do, and visa versa.
Another way you can design kettlebell routines is kettlebell couplets. This involves going from a full body ballistic drill to one that is a fundamental bodyweight drill. The effect you get from this is that you are constantly working a different set of muscles, giving each set of muscles the chance to recover between sets. One example of a kettlebell couplet would be a kettlebell swing followed by push-ups. Another example is a kettlebell jerk followed by kettlebell pull-ups. There are many other variations to these that you could do as well.
Finally, you could do kettlebell complexes. Kettlebell complexes are a combination of drills that are linked together in constant movement to create continuous sets. As you fatigue, drop the number of reps in each set to ensure rapid movement. An example of a kettlebell complex is to do a snatch, a clean, then and a swing, all in one continuous movement. One rep of all three in succession equals one rep of the exercise. You will want to do as many reps as you like in a set, decreasing the number of reps in each set as you get tired.
If you do these types of kettlebell exercises, you will easily be able to make sure that you are building up power endurance. This will help with nearly any sport, to help you become faster and more powerful in your movements. Muscular endurance also helps with sports you don’t think about being common, such as running and bicycling.
Kettlebell Training for Building Mass
Building mass is much like building strength, although the two are not synonymous. In fact, you can build mass without building strength. The best way to do this with kettlebells is to employ the same techniques you would use with regular strength training. Remember that kettlebell training is not the best way to build mass. However, if you are determined to use kettlebells for whatever reason, building mass can be accomplished.
The important thing to remember is that when you are building mass you want to work to the point of fatigue to break down the muscle, so that as it rebuilds it becomes bigger. This is how building mass works most effectively. One way you can do this is to simply choose a series of kettlebell exercises and do as many reps as you can before fatiguing. This will build mass quickly. However, you should be careful that you stop when you fatigue, and do not push. Pushing past this point will only cause injury, and prevent you from working out later in the week.
Another way to build mass quickly is to do ten sets of ten reps of each exercise for a complete workout. This can be time consuming, and very brutal. It is called German Volume Training, and it is very effective if you can work through the challenge of it. As you build more muscle and gain strength, you can increase the weight of your kettlebells to ensure that you are working to the point of fatigue. Since it is difficult to increase the weight of your kettlebells in increments, you can also increase the amount of time for each workout or increase the reps if the exercises become too easy. Do this until you are certain that you are ready to go to a heavier kettle bell.
Some exercises are better for building mass than others. Most of the exercises covered above in kettlebell training for strength are also good for building mass. It is simply the way you work the muscles that makes a difference in building mass. High intensity training can also help build mass, but it is more effective for building strength. Alternating between high intensity training and German volume training can be highly effective for building both mass and strength quickly.
It is important to remember that when you are working out to build muscle, you may actually lose strength due to the speed at which you are breaking down the muscle to rebuild it. While you put on more mass, you can actually lose strength in the process. It is important to avoid doing training for the purpose of building mass for too long. Doing it for four to six weeks is more than enough. After that amount of time you should change your goals and work toward building strength and/or endurance.
Kettlebell Training for Beginners
Kettlebell training is ideal for those who have never done strength training in the past. As mentioned previously, you should seek the help of a coach or personal trainer when you are just starting out to make sure that you are doing the movements correctly to avoid injury. A personal trainer can also help you develop a work out plan that is suitable for you as a beginner, and tell you how to change your workout plan as you become more advanced at using the kettle bells.
When you are just starting out using the kettlebells, you want to begin with a lower weight. You should choose a weight that you can do twenty or thirty reps with. As you get used to the kettlebell exercises you can increase the weight.
You should also start with some simple kettlebell exercises. The swing is the easiest and most common drill to start with as a beginner. Start with your feet about one and a half times your shoulder width apart, with toes pointed slightly outward and the kettlebell between your feet. Pick up the kettlebell with both hands and stand upright. Squat down with your eyes forward and your back straight, pushing your hips back. The kettlebell should be well clear of the groin, and your forearms should be at groin level. Simultaneously squat up while pushing your hips forward, which will in turn straighten your back and propel the kettlebell up. Let the kettlebell swing back down as you squat again. Repeat thirty times while you are starting out to get used to the movement and the routine. Once you are familiar with the exercise you can increase your weight and decrease repetitions to twenty.
Another good exercise for beginners is the high pull. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and hold the kettlebell so that your knuckles are away from you. Your back should be straight. Push into your feet while using your abdominals to lift up your body, bringing the kettlebell with you. Lift the kettlebell until it is at shoulder height, bending the elbow as part of the motion. To repeat the high pull let the kettlebell swing back down as you squat. Remember to do equal reps on both sides of your body for a balanced workout.
Another exercise you can do as a beginner is the lunge press. This is very simple but effective. Simply stand with your feet together and the kettlebell in your hand so that the kettlebell is resting on your forearm, away from your knuckles. The kettlebell should be held at shoulder height in this position, with elbow bent. As you press up with the kettlebell, bring your foot back to form a lunge. Stand up straight and bring the kettlebell back down to do another rep. Again, don’t forget to do the exercise on the other side of your body for a balanced workout.
Advanced Kettlebell Exercises
Once you have gotten used to the beginners exercises and have increased the amount of weight you are using, you are ready to move on to more advanced kettlebell exercises. These exercises are going to work more muscle groups at one time, while building endurance and strength. Again, if you are new to advanced kettlebell exercises it is best to seek the help of a personal trainer or coach to learn the appropriate movements to avoid injury. Once you know how to do the movements effectively and correctly, you will be able to work out on your own. Taking group classes is great for this when you have some experience in kettlebell training already.
The most popular advanced kettlebell exercise is the Turkish Get Up. This exercise works the core muscles and the shoulders. One reason it is so popular is that core muscles are traditionally hard to work, but the kettlebell Turkish Get Up makes it completely feasible. However, the exercise itself is anything but simple.
Start on your back lying flat with your eyes to the ceiling and the kettlebell placed about a foot from your right arm. Roll to your right and grab the kettlebell with both hands, returning to your back. Let go with your left hand so that the weight is all in your right hand. Push your right arm up pressing the kettlebell. Use your left arm resting on your elbow to help support your weight. Remain in this position throughout the next steps.
Bend your right knee and plant your foot firmly on the ground. Lift your right shoulder off the ground like you were doing a twisting ab crunch until you have to support your weight on your left elbow. Pop from your elbow to your hand. Raise your butt and your extended right leg from the floor. Pass your left leg underneath you, winding up in a lunge type position. Stand up, hold, and then reverse the process to lie back down.
Another popular advanced kettlebell exercise is the windmill. Stand comfortably with the kettlebell in front of you. Lift the kettlebell to shoulder height. Rotate the wrist so that your palm is facing forward and lift the kettlebell in a press. Lock the kettlebell in place, while pushing out the butt and bending slightly in the back. Your feet should be at a forty-degree angle. Bend on one side until your free hand touches the floor, than slowly lift back up. Repeat on the other side for a balanced workout. This should be done quickly, to build momentum and endurance.
There are many other complex advanced kettlebell exercises that you can try as well. It is best to get the help of a personal trainer or step-by-step videos that will help you learn the movements. Study the movements before trying them. This will help you learn them effectively and prevent injury.
Conclusion of Kettlebell Training Guide
While kettlebell training is not the end all of strength training workouts, it is a useful tool to have in your arsenal. If you are limited in the amount of time you can spend in the gym and you can’t afford or don’t have room for a weight center in your home, kettlebells can give you the strength training you crave and require inexpensively and with little room required. If you are looking for a fun way to start exercising, burning fat and losing weight, you have certainly arrived at the right place.
Kettlebell training may not be ideal for building strength and mass, but it will certainly work in a pinch. If you are in sports that require muscular and power endurance, kettlebell training is an absolute must in your workout regimen. It is best to have kettlebells of varying weights so that you can start out with a low weight and work your way up. You also may want to use lower weight kettlebells for some exercises and higher weight kettlebells for other drills.
In the end, if you can learn the movements required for the drills, and you can perform them effortlessly and flawlessly, you will be successful in weight maintenance, building strength, and building power endurance. To better learn about kettlebell training, you should try watching videos of the drills so that you can comprehend how to do them correctly without injury. You can find a number of these videos on You Tube and other websites. Comprehensive lists of kettlebell exercises and tips on how to do them effectively in your workouts can also be found at Workout-X.
Besides these resources, a personal trainer or classes in kettlebells at your local gym or health club will be very beneficial to beginners. Advanced users can also utilize these classes to learn more advanced techniques and drills.