They teach students how to instruct others, variations of lifts and how this type of exercise specifically works the different muscle groups. They are often time efficient and simple, because individuals are able to incorporate cardio, balance and strength training into one workout session.
When I decided to explore an intense-style class like kettle bells, I wondered if I would be able to hold my own with people used to lifting and swinging large balls of iron with relative ease. With Russian roots dating back to the early 1700s, kettle bells are cast iron weights that resemble a cannonball with a handle.
I really enjoyed her teaching style, as she kept the class challenging, yet also focused heavily on technique, safety and quality of movement, all of which are imperative when training with kettle bells. After spending time performing a dynamic warm-up, we learned the proper mechanics of four key moves that were later combined to form a fun yet challenging sequence.
The exercises, which included alternating one-arm swings, clean, squats and shoulder presses, challenged just about every major muscle and worked up one serious sweat. This class got my heart rate up and challenged my entire body in a way that was much different from my normal resistance training routine.
From strengthening the key muscles of the lower body (glutes, hamstrings and quads) to challenging the muscles of the core and upper body (back, shoulders, forearms, triceps and biceps), kettle bells truly are a highly effective training tool for improving total-body strength. Also, because of the high-intensity nature of this style of training, it serves as a great option for boosting your cardiorespiratory fitness as well, which means you get quite a good bang for your buck.
The studio also offers semi-private and private training sessions, other great options for honing in on form and proper execution of each exercise. Technique is key when it comes to kettle bell training, and mastering proper form takes both practice and quality instruction.
In fact, I've even starting integrating kettle bells into my regular strength workouts using some exercises we practiced in class. If you've been doing the same workouts, kettle bell training can breathe new life into your exercise routine.
The idea is to hold the kettle bell in one or both hands and go through a variety of exercises like the two arm swing, the snatch, the loaded carry, and the high pull. The momentum of many kettle bell movements (a big no-no in traditional strength training), creates centrifugal force, focusing more attention on the muscles used for deceleration and stabilization.
Dumbbells are great for building muscle and strength with slow, controlled movements while kettle bell training involves the entire body and focuses on endurance, power and dynamic movements. The American Council on Exercise commissioned a study to find out just how effective kettle bell training is.
After eight weeks of kettle bell exercises, researchers saw significant improvement in endurance, balance, and core strength. The greatest improvement was in the core where strength increased a whopping 70 percent.
If you're interested in getting started with kettle bell training, it's best to take a class or get some guidance from an experienced instructor to get detailed breakdowns of the exercises. Many of the swinging movements may be unfamiliar and a professional can help with your form and in choosing your weights.
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Additional Reading Kettle bell Swing, Snatch, and Bottoms-Up Carry: Back and... : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Jay K, Frisco D, Hansen K, et al. Kettle bell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial.
As with any fitness class, you’re going to find instructors who suit your needs, those that are too advanced, and some who fall behind what your body is capable of handling. This type of class will show you the proper form in handling kettle bells and the right way to pick up the equipment and maneuver it to prevent injury and maximize your workout.
There’s usually not a lot of talking in these types of fitness classes because the repetition and speed of the training means everyone is concentrating on his or her own workout and paying attention to their form. This will prevent you from getting drenched, but it can also help you maintain control over the kettle bell, since sweaty hands could send the equipment flying through the air if you lose your grip.
Other classes will provide a set of kettle bells for each person in attendance, so that you can choose the weight that’s right for you. Many local classes keep their groups small in nature so that more personal attention is given to every participant.
There are also specific kettle bell classes for rehabilitation, if you’ve been injured and need to use this form of exercise to help rebuild your strength and fitness stamina. There are even classes created for tactical career individuals, such as police, military and firefighters.
The number one why kettle bell fitness is hot is because weight loss continues to be an issue many people around the globe are striving for. Many kettle bell classes will have a primary focus of fat loss and conditioning, so the training is fast-paced and geared toward those who want to sweat a lot and see results faster.
Because the training is so intense, and usually includes a total body workout, you get more results with a shorter period of time. This allows busy parents to work in their routine during the day in short bursts, rather than having to carve out a full hour to get the fitness benefits they desire.
A 16-kilogram (35 lb) “competition kettle bell Arthur Saxon with a kettle bell, cover of The Text Book of Weight-Lifting (1910)The Russian girl (, plural girl) was a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops in the 18th century. They began to be used for recreational and competition strength athletics in Russia and Europe in the late 19th century.
The birth of competitive kettle bell lifting or Gregory sport ( ) is dated to 1885, with the founding of the “Circle for Amateur Athletics” ( ). Russian girl are traditionally measured in weight by Food, corresponding to 16.38 kilograms (36.1 lb).
The English term kettle bell has been in use since the early 20th century. Similar weights used in Classical Greece were the halter, comparable to the modern kettle bell in terms of movements.
Variants of the kettle bell include bags filled with sand, water, or steel shot. By their nature, typical kettle bell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength.
The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling or farm work. Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettle bell exercises involve large numbers of repetitions in the sport, and can also involve large reps in normal training.
Kettle bell exercises are in their nature holistic; therefore they work several muscles simultaneously and may be repeated continuously for several minutes or with short breaks. This combination makes the exercise partially aerobic and more similar to high-intensity interval training rather than to traditional weight lifting.
Like movements performed with any exercise tool, they can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems, or a weak core, when performed without proper education and progression. They can offer improved mobility, range of motion, agility, cardio vascular endurance, mental toughness and increased strength.
The following is a list of common exercises that are uniquely suited to the kettle bell for one reason or another. A kettle bell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank in a slow, controlled movement.
Keeping the arm holding the bell extended vertically, the athlete transitions from lying supine on the floor to standing, and back again. As with the other slow exercises (the windmill, get-up, and halo), this drill improves shoulder mobility and stabilization.
It starts lying on the ground with the kettle bell over the shoulder in a straight arm position, as in the top of a floor press, but with the other arm along the floor straight overhead. The trainee then gradually turns their body away from the kettle bell until they are lying partially on their front.
The kettle bell is held hanging in one arm and moved smoothly around the body, switching hands in front and behind. Also called a front leg pass, this is a backward lunge, circling the bell around the front leg, returning to the standing position, and repeating.
Like the slingshot, but the bell is swung forward until the arms are parallel to the ground. Starting with the bell in the rack, the bell is pushed away to the side slightly, the swung down to the other side in front of the body, and reversed back up into the rack.
A variation of the press where the other arm assists by pushing open palm against the ball. Stand on one leg and hold the kettle bell with the opposite arm.
By then lowering and raising the kettle bell you can work stabilization and power. A press utilizing a bent-leg windmill position to lift heavier weight than is otherwise possible.
One bell is rowed to the chest while maintaining the plank position, then returned to the ground and repeated with the other arm. Alternatively performed with a single kettle bell, one arm at a time.
This requires more control than an ordinary push up and results in a greater range of motion. Feet may be elevated to increase the difficulty, until the trainee is performing a handstand push-up on the kettle bells.
In any movement involving the rack or overhead position, the kettle bell can be held with the ball in an open palm (sometimes called the waiter hold) for a greater stabilization challenge, or for even more precise control and added grip challenge, the bottom-up hold, squeezing the kettle bell by the handle upside-down. Holding a single kettle bell in the rack position bottom-up with two hands (“by the horns”) makes for goblet exercise variants.
Conventional swing: The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell. Hang clean: The kettle bell is held in the rack position (resting on the forearm in the crook of the elbow, with the elbow against the chest), lowered to below the knees, and then thrust back up in to the rack.
The kettle bell is held in one hand, lowered to behind the knees via hip hinge, swung to an overhead position and held stable, before repeating the movement. Jerk: As a push press, but with two dips, for more leg assistance (as in the barbell clean and jerk) Thruster: A rack squat with a press at the top using momentum from the squat.
Pistol squat: A single-leg squat with one leg held straight in front parallel to the ground, holding the bell in the goblet or rack position. An easier variant for those with less hip mobility is to perform the squat parallel to a step or ledge, so that the foot of the free leg can dip beneath the pushing leg at the bottom.
Carry: Walking with the kettle bell held in various positions, such as suitcase, rack, goblet, or overhead. Row: While bent over anywhere from 45 degrees to parallel with the ground, the kettle bell is held hanging from a straight arm, pulled up to the hips or laterally, and lowered again.
Keeping the bell arm vertical, the upper body is bent to one side and rotated until the other hand is touching the floor. The single kettle bell version is called the suitcase walk.
These build grip strength while challenging your core, hips, back and traps. The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell.
The key to a good kettle bell swing is effectively thrusting the hips, not bending too much at the knees, and sending the weight forwards, as opposed to squatting the weight up, or lifting with the arms. The one-arm swing presents a significant anti-twisting challenge, and can be used with an alternating catch switching between arms.
Within those variations there are plenty more variations, some are, but not limited to: pace, movement, speed, power, grip, the direction of thumb, elbow flexion, knee flexion. The kettle bell has more than 25 grips that can be employed, to provide variety, challenge different muscles, increase or decrease complexity, and work on proprioception.
Competitive lifter (Greek) performing jerk with 32 kg kettle bells (rack position). Contemporary kettle bell training is represented basically by five styles. Hard style has its roots in powerlifting and Gj-rykarate training, particularly hobo undo concepts.
With emphasis on the “hard” component and borrowing the concept of time, the Hard style focuses on strength and power and duality of relaxation and tension. Gregory, sometimes referred to as the fluid style in comparison to the Hard style, represents the training regimen for the competitive sport of kettle bell lifting, focusing on strength endurance.
Juggling is a training style where the practitioner releases and catches the kettle bell with all manner of spins and flips around the body. Kettle bell training is extremely broad and caters to many goals, some being, but not limited to: mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and power.
The sport can be compared to what the CrossFit Games is to CrossFit, however, the sport has been much longer in existence, and is only recently gaining more popularity worldwide, with women participating as well. One such example being Valerie Wazowski, who at age 52, was the first US female lifter in the veteran age category to achieve Master of Sport in 24 kg Kettle bell Long Cycle.
21 (1908), p. 505: “PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE USING SCHMIDT'S Celebrated 'MONARCH' DUMB-BELL, BAR BELL AND KETTLE BELL SYSTEM”; also spelled KETTLE-BELLS (with hyphen) in a 1910 advertisement for the “Automatic Exerciser”) ^ a b c Rathbone, Andy (2009-01-04). “The kettle bell way: Focused workouts mimic the movements of everyday activities”.
Blast Fat & Build Strength With Innovative Equipment!” Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 542-544 ^ a b Iv ill, Laura (2008-11-22).
“Exclusive ACE research examines the fitness benefits of kettle bells” (PDF). Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 125-127 ^ Kettle bell Swing Vs. High Pull”.
^ “The Kettle bell Clean, Stop Banging Your Wrists | The Complete Guide”. Classes can be a fantastic opportunity for professional coaches to help more “regular” people and earn more money in the most time-efficient way.
Classes can be rewarding for all involved, especially when you run them in your own gym and with people who are invested in a plan to move well, get strong, and look awesome. But these tend to be people who are either selected by you, because you hunted them out, or who sought you out for the product or message you embody.
They may be working in a large chain gym and be expected to instruct eight class hours a week as a part of their job, or they may have just started out at a studio and taken on freelance group classes to earn extra money. A template that works regardless of the experience and ability level of class attendees.
When leading group classes for a gym, there has to be a degree of swallowing your pride. I used to joke to my classes that we would continue to practice light kettle bell dead lifts as a group until everyone could do it to my satisfaction.
In order to follow this rule, you need to be able to tell people to do the regressed variation or to use a lighter bell. When novice men come into a class, they tend to look at what the strongest women is using and try to go heavier.
The moral of the story is you must be prepared to stop people from doing something they don’t yet realize is foolish or dangerous. Class -goers need to be educated and encouraged to level up on exercises, otherwise they will always do what they’ve always done.
For a lot of people, group exercise class is less about fitness and more about socializing. This is where introducing some elements of friendly competition can be helpful in getting them to move up to that next-sized kettle bell.
This also means if you have mixed ability groups, the experienced people should be using heavier bells. Encourage these class members to set an example for newer students.
SFG Level I Mobility Complex (straight from the SFG Level I manual) Flexible Steel Mobility Complex Groundwork Method Exploration ‘Naked’ Kilos Stenos Turkish Get-up Simple & Sinister Warm-up The first two are the simplest to-do and are the best to do with novice groups as they are “copy and do” and the movements are fairly simple (this does not mean easy).
The Groundwork Method and Kilos Stenos Turkish Get-up are great for intermediate groups who have invested some time with you. The approach I take is to slowly insert elements of them into warm-ups and workouts over a long term and then one day bring it all together.
The Simple & Sinister warm-up is an evolution on the Pavel classic Program Minimum and represents the shortest possible warm up that ticks the boxes. Alternatively, with a very novice group we can stay in this skill practice format and skip the workout segment (below).
The workout is a short circuit consisting of four exercises plus additional mobility drills to be performed as active recovery. Having the group wait in the rack position to squat to your command is a good way of keeping the class together.
With the above examples to use as a temple, it is possible to create many workouts using “only” swing variations, squats, push-ups, crawls, and mobility drills. You can even cycle through those three workouts every session for many weeks or months depending on the regularity of your class.
Years of teaching complex Kali stick-fighting patterns has taught me the value of a mirrored wall. Complex asymmetrical movements (like the get-up, windmill, bent press, and some mobility drills) tend to be easier to follow if a student can copy you without have to think about left versus right translation.
Stick to your principles, don’t try to entertain the class with made-up exercises, and focus on the fundamentals. I bet most of us listen to his excellent podcast and have read his articles and books...
Mike has been in the strength and conditioning for over a decade splitting ti... In 1998, at a much different point in my career, I wrote a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Ethics entitled Di...
Colin “Point Dog” Stewart Cent (M.Eng.) is a former weapons safety Engineer for UK Mod. He owns Mindful Strength, a personal training and fitness education company based in Scotland.
He is one of the few people to be a full member of the Dog Brother Tribe, a collective of Real Contact Stick Fighters, where he regularly takes part in full contact, anything goes stick fights. You'll use them as you do things like lunges, lifts, and shoulder presses.
The workout gets your heart pumping and uses up to 20 calories per minute: about as much as running a 6-minute mile. Kettle bell workouts offer a lot of flexibility.
Sign up for a kettlebellclass at the gym or online to learn how to do the moves safely. It won’t take long to understand why celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Hall are huge fans of kettle bell workouts.
You’ll work up a sweat doing a series of fast-paced cardio and strength-training moves like kettle bell swings, lunges, shoulder presses, and push-ups. Most kettle bell workouts include squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that work your abs and other core muscles.
The kettle bell is used as a weight for arm exercises like single-arm rows and shoulder presses. Lunges and squats are among the most popular moves in a kettle bell workout.
Your tush will be toned by using the kettle bell for added weight during lunges and squats. Using a kettle bell for a dead lift helps tone your back muscles.
The kettle bell is an effective weight that will build muscle strength. You may want to sign up for classes in person or online to learn the basics of a kettle bell workout.
Yes, if you take a class or pick a DVD that's for beginners and use a lighter kettle bell. Depending on the program, you may be getting both your strength training and your aerobic workout at the same time.
If you choose a kettle bell that is too heavy or if you have poor form, you are likely to lose control of it. Start out with an experienced trainer who can correct your technique before you hurt something.
Adding a kettle bell to your existing workout is great if you want to burn through more calories in less time. This type of high-intensity workout is not for you if you would rather do a more meditative approach to body sculpting, or if sweating isn’t your thing.
With your doctor’s OK, you can include kettle bells in your fitness routine if you have diabetes. Muscle burns energy more efficiently, so your blood sugar levels will go down.
Depending on the workout, you may also get some cardio to help prevent heart disease. Continued Using kettle bells in your workout puts some serious demands on your hips and back, as well as your knees, neck, and shoulders.
If you have arthritis or pain in your knees or back, then look for a less risky strength-training program. If you have other physical limitations, ask an experienced instructor for advice on how to modify your workout.
Tim Peterson, Chief Instructor for Titrant, has created a great post for us about selecting your kettle bell. Kettle bells are a great tool, that can be used for strength work, hypertrophy, conditioning, power, and endurance.
Cast iron, competition/sport, steel, rubber coated, soft-sand filled, adjustable, medicine ball-like, and more. All kettle bells are cast in a mold, what happens after can be different depending on the company.
After you read about which type of kettle bell you need, we have a great post about determining which weight you need to train with HERE. Depending on whom you ask, you will get different folk stories of what they originally were made from, and what they were used for, as well as which countries claim ownership.
The competition kettle bell is the same size and dimension across the weight range, and is made out of steel. The handle is flat across on top, and joins the body of the kettle bell vertically.
Some brands are an 8 kilogram shell filled with fillers like sawdust and ball bearings to achieve the desired weights, this potentially can become loose and rattle over time or lose balance. More durable competition bells are made from a single piece of steel, cast precisely to the specific weight.
There are ballistics such as Swings, Cleans and Snatches, and grinds, such as Goblet and Double Front Squats, Presses, and Get-Ups. Once beyond the learning phase, the curved handle of the cast-iron kettle bell is the clear winner for swings.
As a result, if the kettle bell ’s contact each other on the way up or down they will have a tendency to bounce off of each other like basketballs. The last thing you want is for the kettle bells to bounce away from each other on the way down and hit the user on the legs.
Another item to consider is that when hiking two large kettle bell ’s through the legs, regardless of weight, the stance used needs to be wide enough to allow room for them to pass. After you read about which type of kettle bell you need, we have a great post about determining which weight you need to train with HERE.
I broke one of my wrists mountain biking years ago, and now have a plate and 8 screws holding the end of my ulna together. Both of these surgeries led me to experiment with competition style kettle bells, which contacted my arm below these sensitive areas.
After you read about which type of kettle bell you need, we have a great post about determining which weight you need to train with HERE. If you are a gym, I would strongly recommend a full set of both cast-iron and competition style kettle bells.
After you read about which type of kettle bell you need, we have a great post about determining which weight you need to train with HERE. We recommend you read more about receiving a quick, free, dynamic kettle bell workout every week you can click below.
Tim Peterson is the Chief Instructor and Director of Content and Curriculum for Titrant, a revolutionary fitness ranking system based on standardized strength and conditioning tests utilized currently in over 1,000 gyms worldwide in more than 25 countries. Tim has a MS and BA in Kinesiology, and has taught High School Weightlifting for over a decade.
He uses his experiences in and observations of the fitness industry as inspiration for his writing, which appears on the Titrant website, as well as guest posts for Dan John, Kettle bell Kings, and others. For more of Tim’s writing as well as more information about Titrant, a unique challenge that is both standardized yet personal due to tests based upon gender, age, and body weight, visit www.fitranx.com.