What is a Kettlebell?
A Kettlebell is an iron cast ball with a single handle that had been used in Russia the 18th century as a system of weights and measures for trading grains and other goods. They were adopted into use for physical fitness because they were found to be an effective tool for conditioning as well as improving muscular, endurance, strength and power using a single apparatus. Kettlebells, typically measured in kilograms, come in two standard styles: Russian kettlebells and Competition kettlebells. Russian Kettlebells vary in shape and size as the weight of the bell increases. Competition kettlebells do not vary in size and are in fact shaped identically even as the bells get heavier. An 8kg (or 17.6lbs) competition bell will be the same exact size as a 46kg (or 101.2lbs) bell! Kettlebells typically increase in weight by 6 kilograms per bell. To convert kilograms to pounds simply multiply the kilograms by 2.2.
Benefits of Kettlebell Training
What makes kettlebells a unique tool to use is the offset handle at the top of the bell. Unlike training with traditional dumbbells, a Kettlebell’s unusual form and distribution of weight lengthen and shorten the lever length of an individual’s appendages. This mechanical disadvantage requires greater neural activity and unusual motor recruitment patterning which is of benefit to any training program. Other benefits include the ability to train power development without the technical lifting experience of standard Olympic style barbell lifts. Finally it is extremely important to work with a coach when first attempting to learn how to use Kettlebells to be certain to have correct form. Since there are large shear compressive loads when performing the kettlebell swing expressed on the lumber spine, it may be contraindicated for an individual who is sensitive to spinal shear compressive loading to perform certain exercises.(1)
The Program: 4 Week Kettlebell Beginner Workout
|Week 1 – 2X15||Week 2 – 3×15||Week 3 – 4×12||Week 4 – 5×10|
|Goblet Squat||Goblet Squat||Goblet Squat||Goblet Squat|
|Overhead Single Arm Press||Overhead Single Arm Press||Overhead Single Arm Press||Overhead two arm Press|
|Bent Over Single Arm Row||Bent Over Single Arm Row||Bent Over Single Arm Row||Bent Over Single Arm Row|
|Pushup||Pushup||Pushup w/side to side movement||Pushup w/side to side movement|
|Glute Bridge||Glute Bridge||Single Leg Glute Bridge||Kettlebell Swing|
|Plank (30 secs x2)||Plank (35 secs x 3)||Plank (45 secs x 3)||Plank (60 secs x 3)|
|Side Plank (30 secs each side)||Side Plank (30 secs each side x 2)||Side Plank (40 secs each side x 2)||Side Plank (45 secs each side x 3)|
1) Mcgill, S., & Marshall, L. (n.d.). Kettlebell Swing, Snatch, and Bottoms-Up Carry: Back and Hip Muscle Activation, Motion, and Low Back Loads. Journal of Strength and Conditioning