6 Good reasons to use kettlebells
These days there’s hardly a gym without a half decent set of bells and elite athletes, Special Forces, military, police and fire units around the world are using them.
So, how come? What’s so great about such a simple training implement?
Here’s the 411 on what makes the kettlebell such an indispensable tool for personal trainers and their clients.
The fitness industry is enjoying a massive boom at the moment. Gyms everywhere are jam packed with people wanting to better themselves. One of the side effects of this is that the equipment you had planned on using for your session may not be available. The kettlebell can be used to substitute just about any other lift, pull, press, carry, or hold. Being proficient with kettlebells makes you a more adaptable trainer.
The kettlebell is a strange weight. It’s asymmetry makes it a less stable weight to hold than a dumbbell or barbell. Research has shown that working with unstable loads leads to greater recruitment of stabilizers and synergists. End result, greater net strength gains and greater strength transference to other movements or lifts. Your clients get stronger at things they haven’t even trained. Excellent!
Swingers are Grinners
Whether your clients are desk jockeys, full time muscle monkeys, gym rats or elite athletes, you can be pretty sure they spend too much time sitting.
The kettlebell swing is the ultimate antidote for sitting.
The kettlebell swing activates the whole posterior chain.
The hard style kettlebell swing engages the trunk stabilisers, hip extenders, and shoulder stabilisers, the three major muscle groups that are inhibited by sedentary postures.
Torque it Up
Kettlebells offer a huge range of unilateral + asymmetrical exercise options. Introducing transverse plane torque or rotary challenge into your program is vital for building resilient, adaptable and strong clients. The link between poor rotational stability and injury is well documented and certainly evidenced in clinical practice. Not only that, people who lack this stability are inefficient movers. They “bleed” energy through their trunk. Power is created by effective transfer of force from the lower limb through the trunk to the arms or vice-versa. Poor trunk stability leads to ineffective force transfer and harmful sheering forces through the spine. This is the reason kettlebells are said to forge strength like no other tool.
It is often said that training with kettlebells is not like a workout. There is a significant element of skill to it. Approaching your trainer/client sessions like a teacher/student session and treating strength as a skill builds client engagement and fosters good relationships between you and your client and your client and their training goals.
A client that learns to prioritise technique and form over smashing out reps is a client that trains or practices with intention and engagement. Furthermore, they’re less likely to wind up injured, and loosing valuable training time.
Do Your Job
Its been said already, kettlebells are everywhere. There’s a pretty good chance your client is going to see other people looking flash swinging these things around and think, that looks easy, I’m-a give that a try.
As a trainer, you should be able to offer them advice and correction if it’s something they want to try. I know what you’re thinking, ‘but there is so much equipment in the gym, you can’t expect me to be be across everything.’ And you’re right. You’ll need years of experience to get across half the stuff in the gym, but kettlebells are everywhere, and everyone is having a crack. People will get hurt if you aren’t there to correct them. Invest in yourself, get across kettlebells. They’re are some good courses around. My recommendation is StrongFirst. In opinion, the oracle of all things kettlebells. Track down a certified SFG and get some training or go for the certification yourself.
Matt Wall is a Sports Chiropractor and certified StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor (SFG I). He lectures on the use of kettlebells in clinical practice and in training environments.