Someone came into the gym with a weighted ball and began to work out with it. He referred to it as a "kettlebell" workout. Can you update me on this?
Please allow me to introduce you to the Russian kettlebell. Often described as a cannon ball with a flat bottom and a handle molded to it, the kettlebell is an excellent strength and conditioning tool.
The kettlebell I am familiar with is based off of the original Russian design. Kettlebell lifting or Girevoy sport is the ethnic sport of Russia and something that is part of military training and the Russian culture. The Kettlebell is so highly regarded that the Russian term for a “strongman,” girevik, translates to “kettlebell lifter.” About three years ago, Pavel Tsatsouline brought the Russian kettlebell to the American fitness community.
What makes the kettlebell unique is the brutal effectiveness of its design. With traditional dumbbells and barbells, the center of gravity of the implement is centered with the user's hand. With the kettlebell, the center of gravity of the implement is six to eight inches below your hand. Combine this with a thick handle, and you have a tool that becomes alive in your hand and provides a great grip workout. This offset design also increases the effectiveness of certain exercises.
Kettlebell training is typically divided into grinding movements and ballistic movements. Grinding movements are exercises like military presses, Turkish-get-ups, single leg dead lifts, windmills and old school movements like the bent press. Ballistic movements are exercises like swings, snatch, clean and jerk. These ballistic movements emphasize a rapid and powerful hip extension or hip snap. This hip snap is an essential sports movement and is part of Olympic weightlifting movements.
One advantage of the kettlebell is a short learning curve. The addition of having to decelerate and “catch” the kettlebell increases the effectiveness of the ballistic training. This eccentric loading provides skill in absorbing force and then using that force to accelerate your body (picture a vertical leap). When these ballistic lifts are done for higher repetitions, they provide an intense strength endurance workout.
The traditional weights in Russia are measured in poods (one pood equals about 16 kilograms or about 35 pounds). Available today in weights ranging from nine to 88 pounds, the kettlebell is a great option to explore for any fitness enthusiast.
The author with his kettlebell