The kettlebell is a physical training tool that has given rise to a great selection of very functional strength training exercises. The shape of the kettlebell is a ball with a handle, which makes it functionally similar to objects that we carry in everyday life, such as luggage and grocery bags.
With Kettlebell training, we still fight old perceptions of weightlifting. In the 1970's and 80's weightlifting was taught based on the techniques used by bodybuilders. This training was about attempting to isolate and grow muscles that looked big and strong, but were not particularly functional. I feel like this movement gave rise to the big muscle bound guy who would throw his back out simply lifting a suitcase.
Kettlebells started to come back into popularity because the workouts emphasize more functional, whole body strength training based on a foundation of core support and stability.
In the late 1800's and early 1900s the kettlebell was the training tool of acrobats, wrestlers and martial artists. These are people who need to be strong, not just look strong. Coordination and mobility are a big emphasis of the kettlebell workouts. We train not to be the muscle bound, imbalanced and uncoordinated person.
The kettlebell is a tool that works great alongside other functional training tools, such as Pilates and Redcord. It’s not going to make clients suddenly look bulky. Rather it’s going to help keep them free from injury when they take that bag of mulch out of the trunk, put their luggage in the overhead bin, carry in groceries, and pick a child up out of a crib. As a side benefit, it also creates a leaner, more toned body in the process!
As a personal trainer and performance specialist, I have often found that many people really benefit from progressively loading and actually moving weight. We carry so much of our proprioceptive nervous system in our joint tissues. Giving those joints appropriate pressure, and giving the body some weight to stabilize, gives the brain more information about how to move correctly and effectively. I believe that Joseph Pilates knew this, and that’s why he created so many devices for the body to pull and push against.
We are fortunate in our studio to have so many different systems of intelligent movement: Pilates, Redcord and GYROTONIC® exercise. Best of all, each of these systems plays well with kettlebell training.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.