Swinging a weight between the legs and then cleaning it up to shoulder level. The clean is an exercise in tension control—tense, loose, tight.
The clean is also pulling against a dead weight so my hands and forearms have gotten stronger. In fact, I feel a whole new level of strength in my box carrying region—which would bode well for grapples, boxers, or anyone in the public who doesn’t like struggling with groceries, carrying kids, or even shoveling.
Since I’m just doing one side at a time, I’m getting a great stomach workout. I reread Pavel’s description of the press in his Russian Kettle bell Challenge book and apply all the tension techniques—in particular on the last set when I really need them.
The overhead movement is weak in a lot of people, particularly those who started lifting in high school where the bench is overemphasized. The clean combined with the press is making my whole arm feel strong and well-connected to the body.
The ladder lets you lift heavy weights and minimizes fatigue which thereby allows good form and concentration throughout. When I do my 40 reps each side with squats down in my 63 degree basement, I end up with my shirt off and sweating.
Here are some great benefits of other top-notch exercises: The key is to put them into a program that targets all aspects of your body.
If you’re looking for some help in that department, check out the Lean, Healthy, Strong. It hits the posterior chain, teaches intramuscular coordination, and helps speed and power production.
Sometimes you don’t have years to work with an athlete to help them reach their peak. The squat is obvious and if we replace the other three exercises — snatch, press, and clean — with a bar there’s no self-respecting strength junkie who wouldn’t tell you how great those three are.
The first time I heard the expression “steering strength” was from Stuart McGill, and he was speaking about the get up and how both halves of the body are forced to learn to work together, linked through a stiff midsection, while a weight is steered through a variety of angles. This is a useful skill for grapples, extreme athletes such as motocross riders, and even people moving house.
I believe the kettlebellclean is a better choice to teach someone in a hurry for one simple reason — since we can focus on one hand, instead of the hands being locked together on a bar, we essentially halve the amount of coordination needed to learn the move. Not only is this ability to dynamically steer force important athletically, but the other benefits of the clean are still there — posterior chain recruitment, speed, and power.
And with the addition of the extra plane of movement that the bell provides you get large doses of coordination thrown in, too. When a heavy bell hits you for the first time and almost knocks you off your feet you’ll understand why.
It’s a blocked roundhouse to the body (and its rack position is almost exactly like your guard in stand up fighting). Many big name strength coaches will get their athletes to work from the hang position, either from mid-thigh or the knees.
The hang position has some other benefits for upper body dominant athletes like wrestlers or throwers, as well — while the posterior chain is still used heavily, the lift becomes upper body dominant and forces the athlete to be even faster to drive the bar from start to the rack. It’s as easy as ordering a copy of Enter the Kettle bell off Dragon Door and getting started.
As long as you’ve got a safe understanding of the swing, you will be able to clean and reap all the benefits of this powerful exercise, too. My favorite way to work the single clean is easy — 5 × 5 with a heavy bell.
An extra bonus is that when you go back to your normal press weights that they will feel light and easy to steer into the rack. The one-arm kettlebellclean delivers many of the same benefits of the Olympic weightlifting clean, but is less technically demanding.
Because you work one side at a time, the one-arm kettlebellclean trains you to resist rotation at the torso, which makes it an excellent core strength exercise. DurationFrequencyExercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest 30 second sup to 7x per week strength training steady, deliberate3-5 repetitions varies by workout Step 1: Place a kettle bell on the floor in front of you.
Now actively screw them into the floor so you feel your hips and glutes fire up—imagine twisting up turf beneath your feet, or using them to spread a bunched-up carpet apart. Step 2: Draw your shoulder blades back together and down—think: “proud chest.” Push your hips back, as if trying to touch your butt to the wall behind you (hinge your hips).
Your head, spine, and pelvis should form a straight line as you descend. Step 4: As you transition back into an upright stance, harness the momentum of the swing and make an uppercut motion with your right arm while keeping the kettle bell close to your body.
Step 5: Allow the kettle bell to rotate to the outside of your wrist and halt its upward movement at collarbone height to finish in the front rack position (forearm close to vertical, kettle bell under your chin) as smoothly as possible. Step 6: Reverse the motion by unraveling the kettle bell around the forearm, straightening your arm, and hiking the bell between your legs quickly to begin the next rep.
Two or three sets of 3–5 reps can help you better recruit musculature for a strength and power workout. Bringing the weight from the floor to the rack position sets you up for overhead presses, squats, lunges, and so on.
You can also increase the core stability demands by trying the kettle bell rotational clean and then the kettle bell rotational clean to bent press (see the video HERE for both exercises). It’s clear that kettle bells have become a staple training tool for the entire fitness industry.
However, there are still some people, potentially yourself included, who are skeptical about whether they should incorporate kettle bells into their training plan. All-In-One Total Body Conditioning Tool Kettle bells can be used for strength, endurance, flexibility and balance training…the four main aspects of fitness.
In a fast-paced complex world, the ability to do total body conditioning with one tool is a nice change of pace. In fact, we’d go out on a limb and say kettle bells are one of the best tools in existence for truly effective, result-achieving, safe, full-body conditioning.
Ballistic training works on explosive power through maximizing acceleration and minimizing deceleration. These explosive movements stimulate the abdominal muscles tremendously well.
They require core contraction and coordinated breathing as the movements are intense. Second, kettle bell movements are multi planar, so you will be working your core from all directions.
When moving the kettle bell around on one side, you will be working your core stability and strength big time. Athletes need core power to explode through opponents, quickly change/move in multiple directions without risking injury (twisting, turning, accelerating/decelerating), and handle loads and pressure from one side while remaining upright (think a running back taking a hit on one side during a play).
Kettle bell training offers a dynamic way to accomplish these important physical capabilities. Remember, your core generates and controls force, so having a powerful trunk is essential to kicking ass at life.
Enhances Body Awareness & Coordination Kettle bell movements are very dynamic. This focus and mind to muscle connection will develop, leading you to improved proprioception (coordination; the sense of movement of the body and its parts).
This is very different from conventional training with barbells or machines because the movements are linear and less dynamic. It’s very important to develop your sense of movement (aka proprioception or kinesthetic).
This ability will carry over into improvements in your fitness and life, and it’s certainly a very important aspect of athleticism. Improves Balance & Stabilizer Muscles When training with machines, you are producing force and moving in a predetermined path.
Having strong stabilizer muscles in all ranges of movement, coupled with increased core power as we discussed in one of the benefits of kettle bells above, means your balance will be exceptional. Serious Fat-Burning Workouts Kettle bells offer crazy calorie-burning potential, which means FAT LOSS.
ACE did a study that showed swinging a kettle bell burns as many as 20 calories per minute. What’s more, kettle bell training for losing fat is often high intensity, so you have the after-burn effect as well.
For those who don't know, this means you will be burning calories at a higher rate long after your workout has finished. If you are looking to burn calories in a short space of time, a lightweight kettle bell HIIT or metabolic workout (low weight, high rep, high intensity based workouts) will do the job incredibly well.
In fact, many think it is more effective than steady-state cardio for burning fat, boosting metabolism, muscular endurance, and improving cardiovascular health. The key is to maintain a high heart rate for the entire workout.
As mentioned in the benefit above, kettle bell cardio training induces Epic, which means you will be burning fat long after your workout is completed. So, if your goal is to have long-distance endurance, for say a marathon, don’t stop doing your typical cardio.
Moreover, kettle bell cardio workouts are not as boring (sorry runners) as running on a treadmill is, so that’s another plus. The benefits of kettle bell swings are that they train the hips to produce force in both strength and speed.
The reason hip strength is so important is because it ensures stability and helps prevent injuries. Also, the hips play a very important role in many athletic movements, such as jumping, sprinting and coming out of a sports stance explosively.
Knowing how to maximize hip force is essential in power and speed sports. Naturally, you will be improving your mobility by slowly increasing your limits.
When it comes to sports and the real world, this is crucial as it will decrease the chance of injury in your joints, ligaments, and muscles. They have lean muscle mass, not big bulky bodybuilding type bodies.
Kettle bells can build dense muscle, which is achieved by higher repetitions and shorter yet intense workouts. Note: if you are new to fitness, you will surely be able to put on some serious muscle mass with kettle bells if you know what you are doing.
Exercises like the Kettle bell Swings are ballistic movements done from a hinge position, which will make your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, middle back, and traps exceptionally powerful. This translates to jumping higher, running faster, and kicking harder.
By regularly doing kettle bell workouts, you will rapidly develop the major muscles of your hips, core, shoulders, and neck too...and these are all vital aspects of having good posture and a strong backside. Well, many people in the mainstream fitness world don’t think grip strength is that important.
Plus, having a strong grip is a primal feature that naturally makes us appear powerful to others. Anyway, this isn’t about why grip strength is important, we’ve done a whole article on that which you can read:
If you do kettle bell workouts consistently, you will develop supremely powerful grip strength. Kettle bells have an offset center of gravity, usually about 6 to 8 inches away from your grip on the handle, so it is harder to control.
This is going to make your forearms, wrists and fingers work overtime as you try to control the kettle bell during exercises. Kettle bells are definitely one of the best tools for building vice-like grip strength, as are steel maces too…
You may notice that you lack mobility in the overhead position or that your right side is stronger than your left. When you notice this, you can easily target specific areas and perform movements that will help you even things out.
It is said that kettle bells get you comfortable in uncomfortable positions, and this is very true for those who have been training with barbells and machines for a long time. Low Risk, High Reward (Safer and More Effective) Kettle bell training is generally safer than traditional lifts like heavy barbell squats, dead lifts and bench press.
In the end, both heavyweight lifts and intense kettle bell workouts are effective. However, the risk to reward ratio is far better with kettle bells than heavy barbell lifts.
Moreover, dynamic kettle bell routines will improve joint flexibility and mobility, as we have already mentioned above. As you develop more elasticity in the tendons and ligaments of your joints, you will become more resilient to injury.
What’s more, lightweight kettle bell exercises can help to reduce inflammation and swelling. So, if long term joint health is important to you, which it should be for all of us, you should definitely take on kettle bell training.
Simplifies Your Training You don’t need tons of equipment or to overcomplicate your workouts for them to be effective. So, if you are overwhelmed with all the equipment out there, simplify your life by attacking kettle bell training.
If you want to have a little more versatility in terms of your training tools, we’d add steel maces, resistance bands, and potentially a suspension trainer into the mix. Compact and Portable You really only need one or two kettle bells to get a killer full body workout in.
If you are looking for home gym equipment that will truly train you for strength, endurance, balance and flexibility (the 4 key components of fitness) then kettle bells are the most cost-effective, space-saving option. Instead of getting a squat rack, barbell, weighted plates, dumbbells, a bench, etc., all you really need is a set of kettle bells.
You could leave them in your living room or garage without cluttering it, which is definitely not possible with a conventional gym set up. Comparing to simply moving through the motions with machines and typical conventional training, kettle bell exercises require you to be more mindful.
Lastly, but most importantly, kettle bell training methods are extremely versatile. The best way to keep your body guessing is by throwing new methods of training at it, and when it comes to kettle bells, the options are extensive.
They can be implemented into your current training program as a supplemental tool for achieving specific goals and changes in physique and performance, AND, kettle bells can be used as the main training tool, basing an entire fitness program around them. Individuals with back injuries who don’t want to put a lot of stress on their spine (i.e. barbell squats/dead) but still want to train for strength and muscle growth.
The kettle bell swing is a tremendously effective exercise for building serious hip power. This movement will burn fat, build lower body strength and powerful glutes, and improve your mobility.
It’s a total body juggernaut of a movement and it is very simple to learn and do with proper form. The Turkish Get Up is a slow, deliberate exercise that’s extremely effective for building impressive trunk and hip strength, mobility, and strong resilient shoulders.
The KettlebellClean & Press is one of the best full body, compound movements without a doubt. This movement is very physically demanding and technical but it’s worth learning as it is outstanding for total body strength and conditioning.
If you want to build explosive strength, especially in the hips, and strong, powerful shoulders, this is the movement. In any case, it’s best to keep your body guessing, so switch it up from single to doubles.
Now, we want to know why kettle bell training is so effective for you...and, if you think of more kettlebellbenefits that we missed, comment below :) How to Create the Perfect Budget & Space Friendly Home Gym November 26, 2021