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How Strong Can Kettlebells Make You

Heck, the other day on my Instagram someone responded to a series of videos of me demonstrating how to use kettle bells for rotational training by saying, kettle bells don’t makeyoustrong, barbells do!” Now, I wouldn’t typically make a blog post about an outrageous comment unless I felt that this was actually a pretty strong sentiment.

author
Paul Gonzalez
• Friday, 25 December, 2020
• 11 min read
kettlebell strong
(Source: slowmiles.wordpress.com)

Sadly, that causes many to miss out on how these great tools can make one really strong ! There are several ways that Ultimate Sandbags have the crossover but do different things as well (a post for a later time;)

I have seen kettle bells go from a training implement very few knew anything about, to seeing them in Walmart, Home Goods, the most random places. The way we look at conclusions of studies and not the bigger picture could makekettlebells look as though they aren’t a very valuable tool.

Well in one study by Otto et al. (1), the effectiveness of kettle bell training versus weightlifting was put to the test. The impact of these two forms of training were measured by vertical jump performance, strength, and body composition.

I mean that would have been still 10 kg (around 22 pounds) lighter and I think would have been a much more interesting comparison. Having personally seen how kettle bells and Ultimate Sandbags kept me from being on disability and transforming my life, yea, I think they makeyoustrong !

The researchers concluded, “The front squat was as effective as the back squat in terms of overall muscle recruitment, with significantly less compressive forces and extensor moments.” MMM, wonder if we would have seen the same with heavier kettle bell front squats as the load sits a bit differently and I would like to venture to say we would see some interestingly different results! The study compared jump squats with kettle bell swings to measure maximal and explosive strength.

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(Source: workoutspy.com)

Soviet Sports Science expert, Dr. Michael Yes sis, states that plyometric training can cause forces acting upon the body to 20 times one’s own body weight (4). Therefore, with those that may not have the joint integrity, health history, or really know how, may find kettle bell swings to be a much safer alternative to jump squats with very similar results.

There is research to show how kettle bell training has been helpful in improving posture, VO2max, and even bench pressing. One of the HUGE advantages that kettle bells and Ultimate Sandbags have is the ability to train the other planes of motion.

The barbell is a sagittal plane tool (unless you get into dangerous movements with it) and that means we miss A LOT of our strength training for real world with it. That is why I hear a confusing message by some kettle bell advocates that in the end the barbell is better because toucan apply more load.

MMM, that would make some sense, yet, we would have to put that line of thinking under a bit more scrutiny. We saw in an earlier study that a HUGE discrepancy in load can make for an unfair comparison.

Al (8) tested both unstable objects and body positions for muscle activity in the shoulder (dumbbells vs barbells and seated vs. standing). It was concluded by the researchers that, “the exercise with the greatest stability requirement (standing and dumbbells) demonstrated the highest neuromuscular activity of the deltoid muscles, although this was the exercise with the lowest 1-RM strength.”

kettlebell strength core exercises halo barbend underrated power
(Source: barbend.com)

Combine this study with the front vs back squat study, and we start to notice a few important factors that are often missed in developing wonderful strength training programs. How weight is applied to the body (holding position) is a very important variable.

14 years ago doing double 97 pound kettle bell clean and jerks shows that if we use the right weight, building strength is never really a concern. How about changing the body position to more staggered or single leg?

Strength Coach, Bret Contreras, has showed that movements like kettle bell swings offer huge not only vertical forces, but horizontal as well (9). This is important as athletics and functional movements usually not happen just up and down, but with forces going horizontally as well!

How about the fact that the kettle bell squat variations offer us two tremendous benefits the barbell can not. Instead of trying to add more unnecessary forces to our low backs with power lift types of squats to hit the hamstrings and glutes, going deeper in the squat does the same while adding flexibility to the body.

Maybe you are thinking this is just MY opinion, but listen to what expert spine specialist, Dr. Stuart McGill, says about the squat, “.gluteus medium activation is too load and gluteus Maximus activation is relatively low until quite deep in the squat position.” (10) I could go on and on about many of the top benefits that the kettle bell provides that not only makes it effective, but foundational to ANY strength training program.

powerlifting kettlebells into bodybuilding workout kettlebell snatch deadlifts any program academy single leg russian exercises
(Source: www.onnit.com)

Concepts of independent implements which allow for the body to learn control while creating force. I like to think that it is up to the other training methods to step-up and question can THEY be doing things better like the kettle bell?

Effects of weightlifting vs. kettle bell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition. Gullet, Jonathan C; Tillman, Mark D; Gutierrez, Gregory M; Chow, John W. A Biomechanical Comparison of Back and Front Squats in Healthy Trained Individuals.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:January 2009 — Volume 23 — Issue 1 — pp Lake J and Lauder M. Kettle bell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength.

Effects of kettle bell training on postural coordination and jump performance: A randomized controlled trial. Pinocchio P, Speaker D, Ruskin A, Minichiello J, and Castro J. Transference of kettle bell training to strength, power and endurance.

Saeterbakken AH, Finland MS. J Strength Cold Res. Effects of body position and loading modality on muscle activity and strength in shoulder presses.

kettlebells loss fat stoppani jim kettlebell system
(Source: www.jimstoppani.com)

“Kettle bell Swings: Go Heavier for Greater Glute and Hamstring Activation. You often read about kettle bells as a fat loss and conditioning tool, but what about using them to build serious size and strength?

The bigger the glass, the more stuff — power, explosiveness, mobility, flexibility, conditioning, speed, and agility — toucan fit in. Barbells and dumbbells are wonderful tools, but they're not always forgiving, and many a fledgling lifting career has been cut short by just one momentary lapse of concentration or lack of judgment.

Kettlebellscan dramatically reduce the wear and tear on the body while still serving to increase strength, muscle, and power. With kettle bells, toucan decrease the training load by up to 75% and still make significant progress in strength, power, and body composition goals.

While some may argue that kettle bells put you at a mechanical disadvantage (which is what forces you to use less weight), it really all boils down to tension. The Central Nervous System (CNS) doesn't know the difference between 300 pounds on your shoulders and 120-pound kettle bells in each hand.

Ask anyone who's ever tried to put half their front squat weight in each hand with kettle bells if it felt the same — I guarantee you'll get a resounding no. After the kettle bells have been cleaned into the rack position, a posterior pelvic tilt should be performed to ensure proper alignment.

kettlebell osteoporosis fights
(Source: sweateat.com)

Crush the handles of the kettle bell and develop lat tension by imagining pencils in your armpits that you're trying to snap in half. Maintain tension throughout the entire movement and initiate the ascent with a forceful grunt and exhalation.

The double kettle bell military press requires intense focus and tension through the whole body. The kettle bell also increases the demand on the external rotators of the shoulder in order to stabilize the weight at the top of the press.

Maintain a neutral spine and pelvic alignment, tense the glutes and lats, and use breathing behind the shield throughout the lift. Avoid arching the lower back and allowing the rib cage to rise as you near the top of the press.

Olympic lifters have some of the most impressive physiques in the sporting world thanks in part to the many cleans and snatches they do. However, the problem with barbell cleans and snatches is that there's a very high learning curve coupled with extreme mobility demands.

One must have very mobile wrists, thoracic spine, hips, ankles, and a near perfect overhead squat — a tall order for most everyday lifters. While there are mobility demands and a learning curve to the kettle bell clean and snatch, it's much lower than the barbell variations but with just as much benefit.

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(Source: sweateat.com)

But they're still a butt-kicker — watch anyone perform heavy double cleans and snatches and you'll see a level of savagery not found in many lifts. A forceful hip snap and quick bracing of every muscle in the body during the top portion of the lifts, followed by a massive eccentric loading of the glutes, lats, and arms.

With kettle bells, the weight can be swung between the legs, increasing the eccentric load and leading to more powerful hips. Key Points Ensure that you lock your arm out overhead with a neutral wrist at the top of the kettle bell snatch.

At the top of the snatch, slowly lower the bells to chest level (rack position), and swing them back between your legs to begin the next rep. During the clean, finish in the rack position with your arms pressing tight against your torso. The aim here wasn't to dismiss the barbell variations, but to simply offer alternatives that have similar movement patterns albeit with a different implement.

24 kg guy is also pretty strong when compared to average person, but can he become stronger anymore with that bell? 24 kg guy is also pretty strong when compared to average person, but can he become stronger anymore with that bell?

Bottoms up work, snatches with mittens, overspend swings etc. You would have to get pretty creative, but I think he could get stronger if a heavier bell was truly not an option.

kettlebell homemade livestrong
(Source: www.livestrong.com)

Bottoms up work, snatches with mittens, overspend swings etc. You would have to get pretty creative, but I think he could get stronger if a heavier bell was truly not an option.

Most time bigger bell is option, but I just wondered If one can get strong enough with minimal equipment. All of us don’t want to buy pairs of 16,20,24,28,32,36,40,48,52, 56 and single 72 bells.

I have this theory that dominating 32 kg equals doing rep or two with the beast. So basically you could achieve good amount of strength with 32 kg bell.

I have done ton of long cycles in past months and just noticed today that my pressing strength is gone. There are a number of ways to make an exercise more challenging when dealing with a fixed weight/resistance, however this will typically require greater mental and physical discipline from the trainee.

It's certainly possible to build strength with a single kettle bell of a fixed weight (beyond simply adding repetitions) by performing increasingly challenging movements, pausing at sticking points, using less favorable leverage, however the training effect does differ from using heavier weights. I'm sure even the most experienced Greeks here can think of at least one or two exercises that they would struggle to complete even with a 12/16 kg bell.

kettlebell homemade adjustable diy step kettlebells ready learn come ve place right gym
(Source: reesewoods.com)

I have done ton of long cycles in past months and just noticed today that my pressing strength is gone. The squat seems to do a good battle against the specificity you speak about.

If you need to be stronger or fitter than 200 snatches in 10 minutes with 24 kg, you are at such a high specific level of fitness that simply doesn't make sense to have limited training tools. If one can do 100 snatches in 5:00, one could aim for the SST, 200 snatches in 10:00, and one could always aim for more than that if it was the only weight you had, or for more reps in the same time, e.g., people do upwards of 150 reps in 5:00 at the TSC. One can also apply this metric to grinds — if one can press 20+ reps in a single set, one can then aim for density, e.g. aim for pressing 100 reps in a certain amount of time.

Toucan maintain a lot of strength, mobility and cardio with a 24 kg kettle bell. It's helpful to remember that strength is the ability to produce force against an external resistance.

Higher rep ranges are less and less limited by your ability to produce force, and increasingly limited by your ability to create energy, carry oxygen to your muscles, and clear metabolic byproducts. Early in your training career, nearly any stimulus of nearly any magnitude (weight) in nearly any quantity (volume) will produce some level of strength adaptation, as any task that has a force production aspect to it will initially serve as a strength development stimulus.

The threshold for interrupting homeostasis and forcing a recovery and adaptation cycle is, in the untrained individual, very low. Even more illustrative is imagining what it would take to use a 24 to develop the strength to press a 36.

kettlebell ageing reverse younger
(Source: sweateat.com)

It's pretty obvious that there's no amount of volume or disadvantaged leverage one could employ to continue to leap that ever-widening chasm. For me the real value in this example is that I consider this person balanced.

It's tricky to get the balance right sometimes: I find myself wanting to be good at everything and it's just not possible. Right now, I'm having to really narrow my focus to nailing my swings and get-ups because as soon as I try to work on too much at once or lose focus I make no progress whatsoever. If GS is your focus and you want to get wonderful at it, you're going to have to make sacrifices in other areas, however if GS is not your ultimate aim, then it's probably not something you should pursue if it's interfering with your own personal strength goals.

It's tricky to get the balance right sometimes: I find myself wanting to be good at everything and it's just not possible. Right now, I'm having to really narrow my focus to nailing my swings and get-ups because as soon as I try to work on too much at once or lose focus I make no progress whatsoever. If GS is your focus and you want to get wonderful at it, you're going to have to make sacrifices in other areas, however if GS is not your ultimate aim, then it's probably not something you should pursue if it's interfering with your own personal strength goals.

One arm press 20/20 with 24... snatch test would be doable after some training. I have plans to compete in gs marathons also next year.

I competed in one arm long cycle this year. Only specific training which is important is weekly long set of Talc.

kettlebell benefits
(Source: sweateat.com)

For me the real value in this example is that I consider this person balanced. I would consider such a person fit to take on the majority of life's “pool of stuff.”

You don't necessarily do these things on a daily basis, but in any given 12-month period there is a high probability that you'll do a task from this “pool of stuff” at least once. A good example of such an event is the “theme park child carry.”

The conditions for this event must include sweltering heat. The ideal venue for this event is Disney World in Florida in the middle of summer — that's like the Olympics right there.

The event requires you to carry your sleeping child to your vehicle. There are bonus points if you manage not to kill your teammate who swears the vehicle is in section Q31 when really it's O13, it's just that the “O” had a stain on it that made it look like a “Q,” and the “31” vs. “13” was just an honest mistake.

3-2-1 GO! It's been some time since I participated in this event, but I recently had the good fortune to participate in a new event called “help your kid move into her college dorm.” College parents tend to be older so this is a “masters” event.

kettlebell photograph stronger makes thierry bgd 500px
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

There are friendly referees on the field to guide you where you need to go so the debate whether it was “O13” or “Q31” is no longer an element of the event. The implements tend to be lighter, of uniform size, and not “limp” as the aforementioned sleeping child.

Kettle bells help you prepare for these types of events.

Related Videos

Sources
1 ultimatesandbagtraining.com - https://ultimatesandbagtraining.com/can-kettlebells-ultimate-sandbags-really-make-you-strong/
2 www.t-nation.com - https://www.t-nation.com/training/kettlebells-for-size-and-strength
3 www.strongfirst.com - https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/how-strong-you-can-get-with-single-kettlebell.10821/