In recent years, kettlebells have developed from a popular but still somewhat esoteric obsession with strength training to a basic tool alongside barbells, dumbbells, body weight and machines. And it's no longer just fitness minimalists or "the kettlebell crowd" they use.
A typical example: After interacting via social media, I recently had the opportunity to choose your shape on the large kettlebell lifts with Nicole Wilkins, a four-time IFBB Olympic champion and a three-time IFBB Figure International champion. She had discovered the mistake – and in fact had caught it so bad that she decided to do a StrongFirst Level I kettlebell certification ̵
This was a fascinating experience, not only because of Wilkins is such a big name. She has also been a competitive athlete since 2003, which means she has a level of muscle, body awareness, and general training experience that is truly elite. But for a period of four months, she devoted more than 80 percent of her training time to kettlebells – "in my garage, first thing in the morning without makeup or dressing," she wrote on Instagram. The remaining training time was bodybuilding. (After all, she's still Nicole Wilkins.)
We both learned the following during this time.
Lesson 1: There are many ways to add kettlebells to muscle building workouts.
Kettlebells have a reputation for creating a well-rounded athlete – strong, lean, and conditioned. But "jacked up", not so much. However, this is not because it is not possible to include kettlebells in a bodybuilding routine. On the contrary, there are many ways to adjust them depending on whether you are training in or out of season and whether you want to build muscle or lose fat.
When muscle gain is the goal, it's common to think of workouts in this order: warm up, primary strength, secondary strength or volume, burnout and cardio. Bodybuilders have followed such routines for decades, and their effectiveness cannot be denied. How to fit kettlebells for each shoulder day:
- Warm up: Turkish put up to warm up both shoulders, increase core temperature and increase shoulder stability.
- Primary strength: Military presses with double kettlebells that rotate like an Arnold press throughout the entire repetition.
- Secondary strength / volume: One-armed standing or seated kettlebell presses in front of a superset of barbell or cable sides and elevations at the front.
- Burnout and / or Cardio: Kettlebell snapshots, 5-8 per arm at the beginning of every minute to burn serious calories and increase shoulder strength, or heavier kettlebell swings to hammer the back delts naturally built up the entire back of your body.
Wilkins naturally did all kinds of pushing and pulling in her training. But she particularly enjoyed the snatch as her certification training got more serious.
"Kettlebell snatches and swings are just a great way to incorporate cardio into your routine and increase your heart rate," she told me.
Lesson 2: Kettlebells reinforce your weak connections
One of the biggest benefits of training with kettlebells is the ability to increase both flexibility and stability in the joints that need one or the other. This was a big attraction for me when I started serious about kettlebells six years ago, and since then it has paid off for clients after clients.
Maintaining joint mobility is a critical part of freedom from injury because the inability to move through full range of exercises can adversely affect your ability to get into the correct positions required for safe lifting are. On the other hand, joint stability is essential in order to be able to carry the load you are lifting safely without one of your "weak links" raising the white flag.
If you want to improve mobility and stability, getting up in Turkish is a great exercise to broaden your routine. This single step did so much for me that I titled my website and social handles "Get Up with Hannah".
Lesson 3: Kettlebells are a better form of cardio
After four months of training from Wilkins for their kettlebell certification, she agreed that learning the right shape was difficult at first – especially with a movement that was so complex like getting up. But she also said that it pays off in noticeable increases in nuclear power. On the other hand, she also felt more powerful and explosive in her training after choosing her technique on the kettlebell swing.
Variations on the swing are among the best when you know what you're doing. It's a single move with a single weight, but it can pay off in so many ways!
On the one hand, it can of course help you to develop a stronger rear chain – seriously, haven't you heard of the term kettlebell prey? ? – but it also builds up core strength, burns fat, increases your muscle and cardiovascular endurance and burns immense amounts of calories.
Typical cardio workouts are simply too boring in my experience. The kettlebell swing is not.
Lesson 4: Kettlebells promote better shape in basic exercises
Let's say you prefer using barbells or dumbbells for your main strength exercises. It's good! But kettlebells should definitely consider your secondary lifts – those that focus more on accumulating some solid volume and activating a lot of muscle tissue. Here's why.
Let's look at the overhead press. The barbell is the tool of choice for most bodybuilders. However, once the weights get heavy, the long handle of the barbell puts immense pressure on your hands and wrists, making it unstable and difficult to push heavier loads over your head. If you use a kettlebell, the weight is more compact and the pressure stays on the forearm, which allows a neutral or rotating handle. If you are like most people, you will find that you can move more weight through a larger range of motion with a more natural movement pattern. That means more muscle growth.
Many lifters have sworn off overhead presses assuming that their shoulders don't "like" them, but in my experience, some tell a different story when they press a kettlebell. Once you've built a strong press, you can further promote muscle building and fat loss by mixing the press into complexes.
The same applies to squats. No, you can never move as much weight with two kettlebells as with a barbell squat in the front or back. But because it's loaded from the front, you can squat absolutely deeper and in better shape. For this reason, strength trainers love the double kettlebell squat as a spine-friendly method to build athletes' quads, glutes and hamstrings, while demanding serious work from secondary and tertiary muscle groups such as shoulders and core. It is a full body lift that fits into every leg day of a bodybuilder – even if you do other leg work before or after.
Lesson 5: Kettlebells make you focus on being a better lifter
A common hit Kettlebells are more technology-intensive than other fitness equipment. But for those of us who have gone through and injured the wringer, this is not a bad thing.
"Kettlebells may be more shape-oriented than other strength training tools, but if you work consistently you will get better and you will see progress," Wilkins said to me.
When she was almost 40 years old and had done everything and seen everything, she liked this new challenge. When she started using kettlebells, she was frustrated and felt like a beginner. But as she got better at it, she felt the old thrill of progress again.
"As a trainer, I want to learn as many different things as possible," Wilkins wrote on Instagram. "That's why I did a triathlon last year and now I'm expanding my knowledge with kettlebells. It challenges me physically and gives me new goals! It also helps me to understand my customers better and to relate to them, especially when they're frustrated. " to learn something new. "
I can also tell. I started kettlebells as a beginner six years ago after injuring my back in CrossFit so badly that my doctor told me to never lift again. Kettlebells gave me the opportunity to exercising again and feeling strong and healthy – and that ultimately led me to have my movement in the weight room and feel the thrill of lifting hard again.
Whether you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter, crossfitter or just enjoy it, kettlebells to swing, we all want to stay healthy and keep learning new ways to do what we love.
The goal of bodybuilding can be to increase muscle mass and reduce fat to look aesthetically good, but by supplementing your training routines with kettlebells, you can build more muscles, improve cardiovascular condition, improve muscle endurance, general mo Improve balance and stability and develop better body awareness as you achieve your goals.
Would you like to use kettlebells in the kettlebells? Test in your own training? Try Ready for Anything, Volume 1: Kettlebell training for beginners in BodyFit Elite. This repeatable two-week program focuses on the basics and shows you new ways to program kettlebell work to get maximum payout in the gym and in life!