Kettlebells: From Russia with Love
Most contemporary fitness enthusiasts and gym goers are familiar with what a kettlebell is. No doubt some of you have done a few different exercises with one, and were amazed by how a cannonball with a handle could make you feel so exhausted just by swinging it around. Which I don’t recommend by the way.
The kettlebell has actually been around for a very long time. Historically, it was used in the 1700’s by Russian farmers as a counterweight to weigh crops. They noticed that loading and unloading them over time increased their strength via the benefits of progressive overload. Over time, they found their way into gyms and sports institutions, and eventually into the Soviet Army. It was there that the man who is widely accredited for introducing the kettlebell to the Western Hemisphere, Master of Sports Pavel Tsatsouline, developed a training regimen with Soviet Special Forces (Spetsnaz) using kettlebells. In 1998, he came to the US and became the first official personal trainer to use kettlebells. He has many great books and programs available through his company Strongfirst and I personally recommend checking them out.
When training with kettlebells, the first order of business is to make sure you learn the proper techniques from someone experienced with them. We here at Kombat Arts Training Academy are lucky enough to have an abundance of Coaches who are trained and even several certified kettlebell instructors. It is not recommended that you just come in, grab a kettlebell and start swinging it between your legs and over your head without any prior experience. Remember, these are weighted metal cannonballs that can just as easily come crashing down on your head or someone else’s if improper technique is used. And barring any accidental injury, just plain bad form and technique can have some painful results the next day.
One of the many things that make kettlebells a great training tool is that it builds both strength and endurance. The combination of repeated repetitions with full body movements under a load is excellent for core strength, cardiovascular capacity, and even mobility. The kettlebells’ size makes it excellent for at home workouts. Once you get a solid foundation of the basic movements, it can easily be implemented in your training schedule as a main workout, or even as a warm up and cool down before and after other training.
How can kettlebells help a student at The Kombat Arts Training Academy? Aside from the above benefits of gaining strength, endurance, mobility, and cardio? Our BJJ students can use kettlebells to improve their grip strength. Our Boxing and Muay Thai athletes can gain punching and kicking power from posterior chain muscle development. Everyone can learn the proper techniques to unlock the benefits of kettlebell training. Talk to your Coaches today and ask them how they can help.
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