Kettlebell training for strength and conditioning has been around since the 1700s in Russia, where it originated. But in the United States, kettlebells weren’t well-known until 1998, when Pavel Tsatsouline popularized them in America.
Many elite athletes incorporate kettlebells into their workouts and training programs. Carlos Bradley, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams, claims if he used kettlebells when he was an active player, it would have extended his career at least another five years.
Here’s why you should consider working out with kettlebells:
1. Kettlebell training is 3-dimensional.
3-D training uses total body-movements rather than the typical single-plane isolation movements found in many traditional fitness programs. These movements emphasize side-to-side and rotational movements in free space with a kettlebell, working multiple muscle groups at the same time for a highly effective workout in half the time.
2. Kettlebell training cuts down on your workout time.
You can get an effective total-body workout in as little as 20 minutes when you work out with kettlebells. The combination of 3-D movements and the shifting of your center of gravity with a kettlebell simultaneously increases your cardio-respiratory fitness and muscular strength. The Kettlebell Swing, the mother of all kettlebell exercises, is one of the few weight-bearing exercises proven to increase an athlete’s VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption).
3. Kettlebell training is portable.
The versatility of kettlebells and the ease of transporting them allows you to work out almost anywhere.
4. Kettlebell training builds a strong core and back.
A strong core increases both agility and power. It also builds a healthy back and minimizes risk of injury.
5. Kettlebell training is “functional movement”-focused.
When athletes perform during practice or in competition, their bodies move in several directions at the same time. The kettlebell’s resistance, and your ability to move it in multiple dimensions while training, help increase the strength and range of motion in muscles that would not be engaged with traditional strength-training exercises.