Coach Alicia Fong

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Health Tip for Week Jan 25th

  • Make sure you implement some Kettlebell’s exercises in your training program.

I wrote about kettlebells in my previous blog: discussing what they are, the trend, history and types of Kettlebells. You can find almost everyone from professional athletes, to military units and Hollywood celebrities using kettlebells. So what is the big deal about kettlebells?  There are numerous benefits and reasons for using kettlebells.

  1. First, kettlebells build functional strength. This is the strength you need to perform everyday activities such as picking up several bags of grocery, lifting them into a vehicle and carrying them into your house.
  2. Kettlebell training is a very effective workout because training with kettlebells activates multiple muscle groups and works your body through ranges of motion that most people would not otherwise encounter in the gym. The goal of many kettlebell exercises is to work muscles in conjunction with each other, as they were meant to be used.  The swing, snatch, turkish get-up, and clean and press are perfect examples of exercises that involve almost every muscle in group in the body and they are all staple kettlebell exercise. In other words, you will get a whole body workout in a short period of time.
  3. Kettlebells are an ideal tool for circuit training, which is an extremely effective fat burning method. Due to their versatility you can transition from one exercise to the next smoothly and quickly, without ever putting the kettlebell down or switching weights. This allows you to accomplish more work in less time, which is outstanding for dropping bodyfat because of the high caloric expenditure and the increased level of intensity. An example of such hybrid exercises would include swing+clean+squat+press+windmill.
  4. The weight or leverage of the Kettlebell is centered unlike the dumbbells.  The center of gravity on a kettlebell falls almost 8 inches below the palm of the user’s hand, instead of directly on the center of the palm.  This means kettlebells force the user to balance and stabilize the weight of the kettlebell. These factors work to add difficulty and challenge to a workout.  And the different leverage stimulates the muscles differently.
  5. The thick handle of the Kettlebell force the user to use extra grip work which increases grip strength and creates a reaction to stabilize the shoulder.
  6. Kettlebell is a useful tool for doing power lifts or explosive training.  It is much easier to learn than the traditional Olympic lifts.

As you see, there are lots of benefits in implementing kettlebells into your training program.  Whether you use them for fat loss, cardio, power circuits, strength, rehab, conditioning or endurance, there is something for everyone.

In my opinion, the only bad thing about kettlebells is that it goes up to only a certain weight.  If you want to maximize strength and power, then the load or weight on the kettlebells are limited.  It is a great tool to teach a young athlete or a beginner power lifting with kettlebells (clean, snatch and jerk). However, as the individual progress and gets stronger, they might need heavier weights.  The heaviest kettlebells in the market are 48 kg or 106 lbs.  I have seen some heavier ones but they were custom made.  Most elite athletes can clean, snatch and jerk a lot heavier than that.  When doing circuits, kettlebells are great and challenging tool; however, when their training require high intensity and low volume (to generate more power and reduce the risk of getting injuries) , therefore, barbells will be more suitable in this case.

In summary, kettlebells are for everybody.  It should be use along with your barbells and dumbbells.  Kettlebells can be use in many ways and for different purposes.  If you are a beginner or never use them and want to incorporate them into your workout routine, make sure you find a qualified instructor.  Learn the basic techniques first so you can get the most of kettlebells.

At AF Performance, we have certified kettlebell instructors.  We provide private training and starting a group kettlebell class on February 2nd, 2010 and it will be held every Tuesday night at 6:30 pm.  We will start with techniques first for beginners to learn and advance users who want to freshen up and/or clean up their techniques.  Class is limited to 10 people so call now at 310-895-5385 to reserve your space or for any questions.  Thanks.

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January 26, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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