Kettlebell training 101

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by Nick Christe, Mountainside Fitness

azfamily.com

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 23 at 12:10 PM

It’s funny how time always seems to repeat itself.  For better or worse, we find ourselves, or worse our kids, sporting jeans WE wore as kids or how about our hairstyle from yesterday that was just deemed cool enough to pull off again!  The same can be said for the fitness industry. 

When I made health and fitness one of my top priorities in life, there were factors that drew me in and kept me interested long enough to lay a foundation of fitness in my mind.  One was Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I think a lot of young boys in my generation and beyond, who aspired to grow up big and strong, attributed a lot to Arnold.  So like most boys wanting to learn, I bought the “Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia to bodybuilding.”  If you trained now, the way Arnold trained then, for the first time, it would seem rather bland and basic compared to what we know now.  With emphasis on our cores, working out on giant beach balls, and standing on half balls, I’m sure we would look pretty silly to fitness enthusiasts of that era!  No matter how sophisticated or technologically advanced our workouts become, you’ll never, not see the standard bench press or squat rack in your local gym.  Why?  Because they work!  One exercise that was forgotten in time due to growing technology but recently has made a spectacular comeback is the kettlebell! 

Kettlebells can be found as far back as Ancient Greece.  In more modern times they have been used by the Russian military in their “boot camp.”  The difference between kettlebells and conventional dumbbells is that the center of mass hangs below your hand, completely changing the dynamics of the movement.  Ranging in a variety of weights, kettlebell training provides a full body workout working all your muscles, your heart and lungs, all at the same time. They are being branded as the quickest way to slim and tone the body by trainers and clients, worldwide! 

If you find that gym time is just too difficult to commit to than kettlebell training offers a unique alternative to your redundant routine.  Just 20 to 30 minutes of kettlebell training can burn as many calories as up to 40 minutes of running!  Now for this to happen, the kettlebell workout needs to be much more intense, but the fact remains that kettlebell training can save you more time while leading to faster results.

If you prefer the traditional weight training, resting multiple minutes between sets, socializing with friends and chilling on your preferred cardio machine, then kettlebell training may not be for you.  Kettlebell training can get you in the best shape of your life but is far from the easy option!  Kettlebell training is suitable for nearly everyone. It is essential, however, that you understand the fundamentals. Poor technique can lead to injury so I stress that you master the basics before moving on to more complex movements.  Below are but a few, basic kettlebell movements you can implement into your next training session! 

One Arm Kettlebell Clean
Start with feet just outside shoulder width. Keeping shoulders back and chest out, pull kettlebell with a powerful motion straight up, flipping kettlebell over hand. End with elbow under kettlebell.  Try 3 – 5 one minute sets with 30 seconds rest in between!

Two Arm Kettlebell Swing
Start in squat position with kettlebell on floor. Keeping shoulders back and chest out, swing kettlebell in one fluid motion until arms are parallel to the floor.  Try 3 – 5 one minute rounds with 30 seconds rest in between!

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