Health/Fitness :: Fitness

You Can Ring My (Kettle) Bells

by Ken Hunt
Contributor
Friday Jul 27, 2012
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Thank you all for your kind comments and wonderful letters that you have written me regarding my articles. I enjoy hearing from all of you and will try to answer as many of your fitness questions as possible.

In the past few weeks I have gotten a lot of questions about the benefits and advantages of Kettlebell training. So, because so many of you have asked about them, I thought I would just dedicate this article to Kettlebell training. Now, you may just be asking yourself, "What are kettlebells?"

Kettlebells are a very simple, yet incredibly effective, piece of fitness training equipment. A kettlebell comprises of an iron base, shaped like a cannonball, with a solid rounded handle attached to the top -- and yes you guessed it, they look a little like a kettle.

Despite their recent surge into mainstream fitness, they have actually been around for hundreds of years. They are believed to have originated in Greece and then later used extensively in Russia. In Russia, a kettlebell is called a ’girya," and a kettlebell lifter is called a "girevik."

Indeed, kettlebell sport in Russia (and now throughout the world) is one of the toughest sports known to man and requires athletes to possess extreme strength, endurance and mental toughness. Top personal trainers in the United States no longer ask what they are. The very best trainers have adopted kettlebell training, and brought it surging into the mainstream. Consequently their popularity is now massive. And for good reason.

Top Hollywood stars, including Jessica Biel, Jennifer Lopez, Ethan Hawk, Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Lance Armstrong, Mariska Hargitay, Jason Statham and Kim Cattrall use kettlebell training to deliver the kind of bodies that Hollywood demands from its actors.

It doesn’t just stop there, though. Many sporting communities have also embraced the way of the kettlebell, most notably mixed martial arts. In addition, the Russian Special Forces, U.S. Navy Seals and other elite law enforcement teams use them to develop unrivalled super fitness.

So what makes them so successful? One word pretty much sums it up: versatility

You see, kettlebells can be used in so many ways, that they have been referred to as a "hand-held gym." The effectiveness of kettlebells lies in their shape and the unique way in which they impact the human body.

Due to the positioning of the kettlebell handle, the center of mass falls outside of your grip unlike that of a dumbbell, where the centre of mass sits nice and comfortably in your hand.
When you swing a kettlebell, snatch it, push it, jerk it, press it and pull it, the unique shape forces the body stabilize and absorb momentum while delivering explosive force and training the body to use its full elastic potential -- a factor usually neglected in conventional training.

Kettlebell workouts thus tend to be full-body workouts, which means a greater degree of muscle mass is used translating to greater training effect, more calories burned and better bang for your buck. Quite simply, a kettlebell workout has to be experienced to be appreciated.

The beauty of kettlebell training is that it teaches the body how to function as a complete unit, improving co-ordination, balance and power while seriously working the core muscles.

In this day and age of long hours being sat down in the office, or on the road, kettlebells may be the best single way forward for getting back to tip top shape and seeing off those twinges and niggles while delivering unsurpassed workouts.


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