I had seen these things before in some random internet marketing blog where a guy was reporting how much money he was making selling Kettlebells (and training courses) to his “small” niche. This was like 2 years ago…
Then, one of my card flourishing friends started posting his kettlebell workout videos on youtube and I thought he could be the perfect 1st guest blogger here.
In this post, David will talk about -almost- everything you need to know to get started with kettlebells.
There are many different exercises you can do but I personally focus on the “Kettlebell Swing“, and the results have been amazing considering that every workout takes me under 5 minutes.
Beyond fat loss, the swing will help build a superhuman posterior chain, which includes all the muscles from the base of your skull to your Achilles tendons.
So, here’s David’s
long-ass wiki-style guest post on Kettlebells ;)
Hi, my name is David Pedersen and in this article I will talk about what kettlebells are, what they’re used for, and what they’re NOT used for!
Just a little disclaimer! I am not a medical professional nor am I a certified kettlebell instructor. I’m just a person who happens to love kettlebell lifting! What that means is that maybe not everything within this article is 100% true. All this information is something I have gathered by reading lots of articles, watching lots of videos, and lifting lots of kettlebells of course!
What The Hell Are Kettlebells?
A kettlebell is basically a bowling ball with a handle on it and it is used for different types of physical development.
The kettlebell dates back quite a few years and was first seen in Russia (or maybe Greece?).
They were originally used as weights on markets and such. However some crazy russian people discovered that these weights could actually be used to perform various weightlifting exercises. It was quickly discovered that these exercises had a very positive influence on the human body.
The kind of exercises that a kettlebell is used for is typically swinging movements and pressing movements. These kinds of exercises are very dynamic and can have major positive benefits on your overall health and well being. That is something we will get back to!
Kettlebells come in many different sizes that goes incrementally in kilograms. They normally start at 4 kgs and go up in 2 or 4 kg increments all the way up to 60 kgs (or even higher).
Kettlebells have been used in Russia and Eastern Europe for a long time but its only in the last few years that they have started to gain popularity in the rest of the world, namely the US.
People are starting to discover why the kettlebell is such an amazing workout tool! Actually it’s not so much about the kettlebells themselves, its more about the moves that can be done with them.
Kettlebell lifting focuses on full body integration. What that means is that you’re working your whole body at once when you’re working out with kettlebells. That is very different from the way we normally workout.
Many people are used to exercises that trains one or only a few muscles at a time. Such exercises are called isolation exercises. Well there is none of that with kettlebells!
No more “back day”, “leg day”, or “arm day”. The kettlebell is all about making your muscles more integrated and work better together.
That means that the kind of strength you develop with kettlebells is something that is better transferable to your daily life than the strength you build through isolation exercises.
What Are Kettlebells Used For?
Kettlebells are mostly used for two things. Development of strength and cardiovascular capacity. That means that any workout with kettlebells isn’t just a strength workout or a cardio workout, its actually both at the same time!
This has many benefits but the most obvious one is that you can complete your workout in much less time! I would say that you can get one hell of a workout in 15-20 mins, not counting warmup or cool down. Keep in mind that in those 15-20 mins you will develop lots of strength, get more endurance and burn a lot of calories!
All at the same time!
As I mentioned above kettlebells are great for developing strength. I have to be honest with you though, kettlebells are NOT gonna give you big manly bodybuilder type muscles. Instead they’re gonna give you strength without the bulk!
A common misconception is that strength equals size. In actual fact the strength of the muscles has very little to do with their size! Its more about how well your nervous system can make all your muscles work together and work more effectively!
Look at this video of Sergey Rudnev performing the clean and jerk kettlebell exercise.
In this clip Sergey is lifting two 32 kg (approx. 70 lbs) kettlebells for a combined weight of 64 kg. Sergey himself weighs just around 65 kg. As you saw he was able to lift his own bodyweight 52 times in 10 minutes! Thats 65 kg lifting 3328 kg in just 10 minutes! Thats the kind of strength kettlebells will give you!
What Are Kettlebells NOT Used For?
As far as I understand there are three types of strength (and one bonus). There is the “how much can you lift” strength. This is the kind of strength best developed doing powerlifting. Then there is explosive strength. Which is best developed by doing olympic lifting. Then there is strength endurance. That is how much weight can you lift over an extended period of time. And lastly there is how big your muscles are. Remember that size doesn’t mean strength though. Size is best developed doing bodybuilding.
In case you haven’t guessed it, kettlebells are used to develop strength endurance! That means when we workout with kettlebells we don’t wanna pick a weight that allows us to only do something like 8 reps or lower. We wanna pick a submaximal load and work for 50 reps, or 100 reps, or 200 reps, or 6000 reps (thats actually been done!).
Even though kettlebells are not the optimal tools for conventional weightlifting, because they don’t focus on making you lift as heavy as possible, or making you as big as possible, they still have tremendous benefits for your overall health and well being!
Videos Demonstrating Different Kettlebell Movements
Long cycle (clean and jerk):
My Advice For People Who Wanna Give Them A Try
For people who wanna try lifting kettlebells my advice would be to do one of two things:
1- Join a gym that has some kettlebells and people who can give you professional instructions on how to use them.
2- If you’re more like me and prefer learning by yourself, buy some instructional material and a pair of kettlebells! I would recommend Steve Cotter’s “The Complete Guide to Kettlebell Lifting”. As far as which kettlebell to buy here are the standard recommendations…
Which Size Of Kettlebell Is Right For You?
- Men who are used to some form of physical activity starts with a 16 kg.
- Untrained men starts with 12 kg. You will quickly find the 12 kg to be too light but its important to start out a little light to get comfortable with the exercises.
- Most women starts with 8 kg.
- Women who are stronger then average can start out with a 12 kg, but be cautious.
If you feel like you’re prepared to spend a little more money and get more than one, here are a few options I would suggest:
- If you’re a trained man you should buy two 16 kgs and one 20 kg.
- If you’re an untrained man buy two 12 kgs and one 16 kg.
- If a women buy an 8 kg, a 12 kg, and a 16 kg.
And one last recommendation would be to only buy “pro grade kettlebells” or “competition” style bells.
Pro Grades are more expensive but they’re also MUCH better. Not just for people who are interested in competing but also for people who wanna maximize the benefits!
The progrades make training with kettlebells much more comfortable!
If you want to connect with me you can follow me on twitter @aleporte or add me on google+ +Alejandro Portela where we can hangout. (Or you can just be FRIGGINAWESOME and leave me a comment down below).
Resources for further learning
Progrades vs “standard” kettlebells