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4 Benefits of Kettlebell Training & How to Start Using Them

What an old piece of equipment with so much value. I’ve only recently started to love these things mostly because of being forced to pick minimal equipment and maximum value (quarantine life). Let’s talk about four benefits of kettlebell training you may not have known.

  1. Stability Training The constant change in center of gravity. This challenges your core and postural muscles in a way that static dumbbell training does not

  2. Grip Strength The nature of the handle may not allow you have a fully closed grip, which is challenging. Plus the swinging of the body of the weight will provide a constant challenge to your forearm muscles! Bring on the rope climbs and monkey bars after this!

  3. Space Savers How about convenience? These things weights can be smaller than classic dumbbells. Also, the amount and variety of exercises make them a great investment for what you pay No gym? No problem. Small living space? Also fine.

  4. Power Exercises The natural inclusion of cardiovascular with power movements makes a quicker paced workouts and throws in a little cardio work! What do I mean? Goblet squat = strength, slow paced, not so aerobic. On the other hand, a one arm swing = hip thrust, fast paced, stable shoulders, power production and aerobic training!

Grind Movements & Ballistic Movements

There are two kinds of movements in KB workouts. Grind movements and ballistic movements. Grind movements are like other basic strength exercises and should be mastered before trying the ballistic movements. Grind moves include stiff and bent-knee deadlifts, squats, overhead press, push ups. They serve as the foundation for ballistic movements.

Ballistic moves require more of a thrust at the hip and “catch” at the top of the movement where the KB should almost feel weightless. For example, one arm swings, one arm pulls, high pull, cleans, and snatches. These power moves require proper core and hip strength to control and move at the base and enable you to be stable through the movement.

So many benefits in such a small piece of equipment! And the best part is, you do NOT have to start advanced (actually I recommend against it). There are plenty of beginner exercises you can do!

Other Tips for Beginners

The best way to start is with a weight you’ve been able to control with one arm and overhead as well. For example, if you’ve been able to do a bicep curl with a 10 lb dumbbell, chances are you’ll be able to swing that upwards and control unilaterally with core and glute control. It is better to start with a lighter weight than one that is too heavy… but know that you’ll need a bit heavier weight for the ballistic swing moves.

Start in a room with enough space to swing and move! Keep a towel handy to dry sweaty hands that may compromise your grip strength. Emphasize form — I’ve seen a lot of injuries as a physical therapist particularly in the shoulders, back, and hips that could have been prevented with proper technique! Warming up well will also help with this. Last but not least, (I’d argue most importantly), start simple and start light.

Unsure where to start? DM or book a consult with me!

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