Don't underestimate the importance of the Kettlebell

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Kettlebells are often introduced into Strength & Conditioning programmes and are commonly used by CrossFit Athletes. So, why do we not view all the benefits of this essential piece of equipment the same way we do a barbell?

The American Kettlebell swing 

This movement requires a huge amount of Power. Power is identical to intensity, whilst delivering the most amount of Power to work a full range of motion from start (between legs) to finish (overhead). Whilst also generating power, we are also increasing endurance, strength, mobility, kinetic stability and grip.

When training ‘The American Kettlebell Swing’, we are engaging the posterior chain. Generating ‘Power’ in your hips, by throwing your hips forward to get the Kettlebell as high as you can, without using too much arm or shoulder is a useful tool to transfer to your Olympic Lifts – The Clean & Jerk & Snatch.

Working the posterior chain will not only work the power in the movement but will help overcome any negative effects from sitting at a desk all day. 

‘The Kettlebell Swing’ is a ballistic movement similar to the mechanic seen in a broad jump (a mechanic that controls launching). This forces allows us to train The Kettlebell Swing in a way we wouldn’t be able to with a Deadlift or Power Clean due to these movements overloading the lower back.

As an exercise device

The Kettlebell can be used in several different movements and there to support injury, rehab & prehab. Completing a workout that includes Clean & Jerk’s with a Kettlebell will have huge benefits to your development of the movement. It will help ‘Steer Strength’. 2 halves of the body will be forced to learn and work together, muscles will need to stabilise, power and drive at the same time linked through a tight midsection and control / steering through a movement.

We often learn to rely on strength from a stronger side of our body,  by introducing more kettlebell training to your program, you will be forced to engage and challenge the weakness’.

The kettlebell can be used across the CrossFit movements, Press, Push Press, Bench Press, Clean & Jerk, Snatch – try using this in one of your workouts and see the differences in the movement patterns & power you will need to engage that you rely on through strength and curling the barbell.

When a heavy Kettlebell hits you for the first time and almost knocks you on your back, you’ll understand why they are so challenging.

The most popular CrossFit workouts using Kettlebells are:

Helen– 3 Rounds for time: 400m Run + 21 Kettlebell Swings + 12 Pull-ups

Eva – 5 Rounds for time: 800m Run + 30 Kettlebell Swings  + 30 Pull-ups

Nate – AMRAP 20 minutes: 2 Muscle-ups + 4 Handstand Push-ups + 8 Kettlebell Swings

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