• Dan Shipman

Why Kettlebells work so well and why everyone should have one

Center of Gravity - Kettlebells(KBs) have a thick handle and off-set center of mass--about six to eight inches from the handle--which means the design carries some good challenges. This mimics the forces that you encounter in sports and activities of daily living. Dumbbells and barbells are different; they center the weight with the hand. This means that KB training has the advantage of being more challenging than other forms of resistance training.

Grip Strength - KBs have a thicker handle than barbells and dumbbells. It makes your forearms work harder and is overall more taxing. Since KBs are usually used in motion, this type of grip training becomes a combination of dynamic and static muscular contractions to control the changing center of gravity (as mentioned above). Another great use for grip strength is building strength in the rotator cuff. When you have to grip something with intensity you force the whole arm up through the rotator cuff to work harder to stabilize. Meaning it's a two for one.

Cardiovascular Fitness - Some KB exercises take place overhead, so your breathing muscles become engaged, not allowing them to assist in the respiratory process. This forces the surrounding muscles to work harder during cardiovascular fitness. KBs can combine total body strength and cardio into one.

Less Time and Space Required - You can do tons of full workouts including strength, skill, and rest/recovery with only a KB! You’ll never miss a workout because almost any fitness goal can be obtained by using a KB. They take up very little floor space, and don’t even require a rack. You can keep them on the floor or even under something else. KBs can also be easily taken anywhere. When in use, all you need is enough space for full ROM. Smaller training facilities love using KBs for this reason.

Movement Advantage - KBs teach us to move better, in a way that is stronger and safer when done correctly. Many physical therapists use KBs with their clients for strength and stability. The use of KBs for better movement is important because many of us have sedentary occupations or lifestyles. KB movements are also less technical than traditional Olympic lifts, making them easier to learn.

Core Strength - KBs force us to use our core when you’re “not really working your core”. Huge abdominal contractions come from the explosive conditioning. Paired with coordinated breathing, it has amazing impacts and has been made popular by elites. At FTF, we know that a strong core is the foundation for sports and fitness. KB use is a perfect example.

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