Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Magic of the Kettlebell

When I found the kettlebell I had been playing with barbells for well over 20 years. After a short stint as an endurance athlete I used the barbell extensively with my 8+ years as a bodybuilder and then another 13 years as a powerlifter. Because, if you make a lift,especially a PR there seems no logical reason NOT to put more weight on and try again. You made it didn't you? And one will continue to add weight, until they can't. Which usually means one gets injured or your progress gets stalled.

I truly believe it's important to build baseline strength with the kettlebell FIRST, and then the barbell. Maybe. Depends on one's goals but even then it has to be used as a tool to help your primary goal OR it can sneak up on you and exact all kinds of vengence on one's knee's, back, shoulders and neck.. No fun. Especially if you are just an regular person, not a competitive athlete whose main goal is basic fitness; tone, fat loss, body comp changes and basic strength for life.

So for most people I think the kettlebell has the true magic, and just ONE kettlebell at that. I was never happy with the foray from single kettlebell work into double bells for beginners.Part of the magic of the kettlebell is in using it one at a time, asymmetrically which BUILD stability and symmetry into the system. Without having to try.

Plus you don't need that heavy of a bell, either. If the 24 kg was enough for the Russian Army it should be enough for most of us, especially after age 50.

Now I'm a knuckledragger at heart so if I can I like to play with the bigger bells(especially since I haven't been able to for forever) but they ARE'NT NECESSARY for basic fitness, which is what hardstyle kettlebell training will give the average and above average person.

I just got off the phone with Geoff Neupert and he agrees and thinks much of the magic lies in it's ability to challenge the vestibular system. Every time we hinge we learn forward and activate our bodies righting reflex.This makes us much stronger, more balanced and with a more stable core with every swing, clean or snatch rep.You can't get that in the same way with the more linear barbell movements.

Plus add in the unbelievable hand/grip work with it's direct link to the rotator cuff, shoulder hip and abs. So many great things from one simple piece of iron.

Since we went so heavy last week it was time to step it down a bit so I chose the 36 kg for sets and reps and it was the perfect choice. PLUS, usually this bell challenges my left hand grip like almost no other. But not today! big grip breakthrough.

The kettlebell is my future, the barbell my past. Can't wait to see what new things I will be able to do with the bell once my knew knee is healed.

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5  x2
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
36 kg x 5/5 x 10 sets
          x 10/10 x 1 sets
120 reps
9600 lbs

these felt the best ever and bell speed and height were solid. Not a pr but I've never done 10/10 with this weight.

Dead Stop Swings
52 kg x 5/5

wow these were a bit tough being tired. I donated a unit of blood yesterday for my upcoming surgery and that didn't help endurance today :)

Barbell curls
45 x 8
55 x 8 x 4 sets

Back Press
 knotted black mini band
5 x 12-15

these worked great. just the right amount of tension



Morgan Lashley said...

My experience agrees with this 100%. The kettlebell will always be the center of my training as I foray into bodybuilding, olympic lifts etc. I see guys in the gym who only do bodybuilding and they rarely have a great physique. The athletic guys who do a combination of strength and bodybuiding always look best and perform best.

What I'm amazed at: I was a collegiate athlete and really know very little about true training until I started KB training.

Mark Reifkind said...

lol me too Morgan. I spent many years training before I knew anything about real training :)

Really wish I had learned about the KB so much earlier