Work or Training

I was talking to a swim coach the other day and he made the following comment: “I saw something on a web site on Kettlebell training and it looks really hard. I think I will put it in my program.” I took a deep breath and admonished him to take a step back and think about what he was trying to achieve. It is hard, but is it beneficial training in the context in which he wants to use it? Kettlebells until you puke may make you tired but will it make you better? Before all of you over react and think I am bagging Kettlebell work read the rest of this post.

Kettlebell work is a viable training method. It is not new and it was not invented to train the Russian Special Forces. In fact there was Kettlebell training before there were Russian Special Forces. I do not see it as a focal point or a cornerstone of a training program. It is one piece of the training puzzle. In my estimation there are many things that must be done to prepare and lead up to Kettlebell work.

In my system it is a mode to achieve the following: Total body work - Pulling movements, Upper Body – Pushing movements and Core – Swinging and chopping. As a mode of training it must fit the system – not the other way around. If you do not approach it that way, then the tail is wagging the dog.

There are secondary adaptations (I want to credit Carl Valle for this term) that occur with Kettlebell training aside form the strength gains:

1) Increased proprioceptive demand

2) Greater recruitment of synergistic and stabilizing muscles

3) Greater metabolic coast? (Jury is out on this one)

Use the mode in a system as part of a spectrum strength training approach. One caution is that you can develop some nagging wrist and elbow tendonitis if you do not use proper grip and learn proper technique.


At 8/22/07, 11:24 AM, Anonymous Will Kirousis said...

Love it!

Just becuase it is hard does not make it appropriate. Just because it is complicated does not make it good.


At 8/24/07, 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of kettlebells, I went to the Pennsylvania Strength and Conditioning conference this year and on one of the days they had someone lecture then demonstrate the kettlebells. So I jump in and joined the fun. After the basic introduction to them I went up and asked what exercises could you do with the bells in the transverse plane. His response was, "What do you mean by tranverse plane?". I kindly rephrased my question and replaced the word transverse with rotation. Showing that he understood what I meant now, he continued to tell me that he didn't have any exercises in the transverse plane.

Jonathan Hewitt ATC


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