Welterweight UFC champion BJ Penn uses kettle bells to ramp up his muscular endurance for killer MMA battles. The benefits of kettle bell training having even reached Hollywood as actor Ed O'Neil well known for his role as Al Bundy on the hit comedy sitcom “Married With Children” (Imagine Al doing Kb snatches!)
The benefits of kettle bell training are undeniable which is precisely why many of the top strength coaches in the world such as Coach John Davies, Christian Thibaudeau, Steve Maxwell, and Wake forest strength coach Ethan Reeve have incorporated kettle bells into their athletes training regimens. There is no better way to burn fat than with a few high rep sets of kettle bell swings, snatches and clean and jerks.
As effective as sprinting is, ballistic kettle bell exercises such as high rep snatches (20 reps or more per set) make sprinting look like a walk in the park. High rep snatches work more muscle groups than sprinting and will build strength in the lower back, shoulders, and hip flexors.
Unlike many other forms of cardio, kettle bell training is “brutal fun” and a hard cardio kettle bell workout gives you a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Don't believe me, then forget about kettle bells and check out Richard Simmons' “Sweating To The Oldies.”
One way to take the benefits of ballistic kettle bell exercises up a big notch is to combine them with aerobic activities such as jogging or moderate jump roping. I like to call this combination How (High Octane Cardio).
Have your athletes work up to ten rounds with a heavy kettle bell and their conditioning will go through the roof. However, programs in which you train to failure and then take a week off to hang out on the coach are not effective for athletes.
Doing a few light workouts per week will speed up recovery by getting some blood into the worked muscles. These exercises will increase hand eye coordination, grip strength and the ability to absorb shock.
An additional benefit of the juggling type kettle bell drills that Jeff does, is that they work the brain. In addition to all of those benefits, the H2H exercises are flat out fun and you will not even feel like you are working out.
Coach John Davies incorporates killer core kettle bells drills such as the Turkish Get-up, The Windmill, The Push Press and the Renegade Row into his athlete's training regimens. Wake forest Strength Coach Ethan Reeve likes to have his athletes warm up with the kettle bell clean and the kettle bell snatch before doing barbell cleans and snatches.
It is much easier to teach the rapid hip fire movements with kettle bells and have them carry over to barbells. BJJ champion and strength coach Steve Maxwell, likes to combine kettle bell training with body weight drills and club bells.
Finally, ROC Dylan Thomas likes to do some workouts in the gym and takes his kettle bells along for the ride. After knocking off a few sets of bench presses, chin-ups and dead lifts, Dylan will bang out some kettle bell snatches and other drills.
The possibilities are endless for combing kettle bells into your athletes training regimen. The one month of kettle bell only training will be a nice change of pace and allow your athletes to focus on one thing really well.
Your athletes will not lose strength in other exercises and will most likely come back stronger each time. During those periods, athletes generally train with lighter weights and do more maintenance workouts.
How-to Images View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot. How-to Images View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.
Instead of taking Tuesday and Thursday off to hang out on the coach and waste time watching TV, have your athletes do some active recovery workouts. My friend and Senior ROC Steve Cotter can knock off a rep on 1-legged squats with two 70-pound bells and has functional tree trunk legs as a reward.
If you still do not think that kettle bell training can benefit your athletes, feel free to not jump on board. For the athlete, kettle bell training will also improve single leg stabilization, balance, mobility and proprioception.
Using kettle bells correctly can also help rectify muscle imbalances and improve full body movement integration which will ultimately lead to less sporting injuries. Finally, athletes can also benefit from posterior chain development which is vital for most sporting activities along with improvements in grip strength.
Tennis players should therefore make sure that they include all 3 types of directional training listed above in their workout program. Concentric training will help develop explosiveness and power which is ultimately assisted by stored energy from the eccentric and isometric phase.
Athletes and those performing in sports require the ability to stabilize and generate power from one side of the body to the other. For example, when running you transfer weight from one leg to the other while at the same time generating rotational forces through the core.
These kettle bell workouts for athletes will offer single arm and leg conditioning while at the same time helping to improve joint mobility and strength. The first kettle bell workout for athletes focuses on movement stabilization which will develop core strength and injury prevention.
Developing your core sling system which connects the hip to the opposite shoulder is the key to generating efficient rotational power. I recommend performing this exercise with a slow 5 second lower to really take advantage of the eccentric part of the lift.
As the hamstrings are the body’s natural brakes for athletes this is the perfect opportunity to prevent future injuries and improve stopping speeds. Finally, the single leg dead lift helps integrate the shoulder with the opposite hip via the cores natural sling system.
A well functioning cross body sling system will improve power in most sporting activities. The kettle bell goblet squat is a powerful exercise for developing the hips, legs, glutes and core muscles.
The squat is one of our natural movement patterns and is used in most sports to some degree, sometimes referred to as triple extension. For example any jumping sports will use a squatting movement to load, store and then take advantage of energy in the legs and hips.
Developing isometric strength is beneficial for many sports that find themselves in a stationary squat position, for example tennis players waiting to return a serve, soccer goalkeepers defending a goal or rugby players in a scrum. Holding the isometric phase of the kettle bell squat will also help improve motor unit recruitment and increase muscle fiber density.
The kettle bell half Turkish get up will strengthen the core muscles and improve shoulder stability. As with the single leg dead lift the half Turkish get up connects the hip to the opposite shoulder via the core sling system.
Developing your core muscles eccentrically will enable you to absorb more energy safely when performing sports. The second kettle bell workout for athletes helps develop power through the hips as well as working on mobility and stability of the body during movement.
The two handed kettle bell swing develops explosive power in the hips and teaches you to absorb, store and use energy efficiently. Developing the body’s ability to absorb weight effectively is one of the most important aspects of sports performance so translates perfectly.
Any jumping or explosive sports will also benefit from the kettle bell swing as it develops hip hinge coordination along with strengthening the posterior chain (muscles through the back of the body). At the top of the swing actively brace the abs and stop the movement bolt upright, do not lean backwards, think about performing a standing plank.
The kettle bell windmill exercise will improve your shoulder stability, open up your hips and strengthen your c ore muscles. You can think of the kettle bell windmill as a mobilizing and strengthening exercise for the smaller muscles rather than a large power developing movement.
During the exercise you will open up the chest, shoulders, upper back and hips while at the same time stretching the hamstrings. Developing better mobility is important for athletes and sport performance because it helps with injury prevention as well as increasing strength through a wider range.
You can take advantage of the eccentric phase of the exercise by lowering slowly to the floor for 5 seconds. At the bottom of the lunge movement there is an isometric hold as you have to rotate across the front knee with the kettle bell.
The exercise involves holding a heavy kettle bell in one hand while walking for a certain distance or time. The kettle bell snatch is an explosive exercise that will develop power from the hips and translate it throughout the rest of the body.
The snatch also improves chest and upper back mobility as well as strengthening the shoulders through a wide range of positions. To take advantage of all 3 movement phases during this exercise you can descend slowly to the bottom position, hold for 3 seconds before driving up as quickly as possible.
If you struggle with this exercise then you can work on just the eccentric phase by lowering slowly and then standing up with both feet. Alternatively you can practice the exercise without a kettle bell and use a Tax or band attached in front of you to help lift you back up.
The kettle bell Turkish get up will develop all over stability and mobility which will help improve movement skills and prevent future injuries. The full Turkish get up acts as an excellent assessment tool for highlighting any movement or stabilizing deficiencies you may have.
Should you find any sections of the Turkish get up challenging then these are the areas to focus on to help prevent injuries in the future? The side lunge strengthens the body in the frontal plane by improving leg, hip and core strength as well as mobility.
These workouts are meant as a guide only and illustrate how you can use kettle bells to strengthen the body in a specific way that has transferable benefits to athletes and sports. Kettle bell training can develop strength and stability in all movement patterns, improve explosive power, and prevent future sporting injuries.
Ultimately each athlete and sport has different demands so it is worth analyzing your chosen activity and then seeing how these workouts can better help you in achieving your goals.