A kettlebell is a weight made of cast iron that is employed in resistance training. Its U-shaped handle and unique design enables it to be used for dynamic power work as well. Kettlebell training is arguably one of the most effective forms of training in the industry today. What are the benefits, you ask?
Well, among the more obvious are increased strength, physical endurance and power. However, the practice is also known for offering an improved levels of mobility, flexibility, agility, coordination and cardiovascular health. Although a number of these benefits can be attributed to other training styles, I believe that a great quality of kettlebell training is the dynamic component. The ballistic nature of kettlebells leads to an increased level of explosive strength.
Kettlebells are not a training tool from recent history. Rather, it's believed they first appeared in the 18th century and were employed by farmers. They were initially used for recreational purposes and later came to be used in competitive sport in Russia in the late 1800s. Today, kettlebells are extensively found in gyms and frequently incorporated in workouts among individuals of many fitness levels.
Kettlebells provide an excellent source for functional training, as some of the most common and popular exercises involve multi-planar movements, providing quite a challenge to the musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems. It's not just the explosive movements associated with kettlebells that make them so ballistic, but it's their design that is also a contributing factor. Unlike dumbbells, with which the weight can be considered "part of" the hand, with kettlebells, the center of mass extends beyond the actual hand grip. This results in the ability to employ more dynamic energy. Among the most well-known kettlebell exercises are the Swing, the Snatch and the Turkish Get-Up. I'll go into more depth about these movements in subsequent posts.