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Try a Workout with Kettlebells for awesome results

Kettlebells have been used in Russia for centuries. Credited with the success of Russian Strongmen, the Olympic achievements of many Russian athletes, as well as the strength and endurance of their military and security personnel, kettlebells are thought to have originally been used as counter-weights in Russian markets.

It is only in the 21st century that kettlebell training has experienced a resurgence and moved into the mainstream. Traditionally the domain of of strongmen and weightlifters in the US and Europe, many modern gyms now offer kettlebell training in addition to the usual classes and facilities.

Kettlebell training differs from usual weight training due mainly to the shape of the kettlebell. They look like cannonballs with handles, and it is the handle that makes such a big difference in the technique, and in the results.

A workout with kettlebells consists of swinging movements as well as press and pull movements similar to those done with dumbbells. The handle, and the techniques, displace the weight from the hand. This requires the body's stabilization muscles to work as well, not just the arm, shoulder and back muscles involved in the swing itself. In this way, kettlebell training gives what is called a whole-body workout. With dumbbells, a bicep curl for instance is an isolated movement - the abdominal muscles, hips and legs are not used. With a kettlebell, in a similar exercise, almost the whole body is used.

An integrated whole-body workout is better for a number of reasons:

- it trains the body in movement patterns we use in everyday life, using many joints and muscles to sit down, walk, climb stairs etc.

- full body exercises strengthen the integrated movement systems of the body

- fitness improvement requires a high neuroendocrine response - which a full body workout will elicit.

Kettlebells have an incredible carry-over effect to other sports. In the past it was believed that if you wanted to run faster, you had to practice running. Recently, cross-over training has seen golfers doing weight training, and basketball players running.

Instead of 3 different types of workouts at a gym, one kettlebell workout will achieve a better overall result. The Voropayev study of 1983 studied two groups of subjects over a few years. They were tested on standard physical training tests used by the armed forces: pull-ups, a standing broad jump, a 100 meter sprint and a 1 kilometer run. The experimental group trained only with kettlebells. The control group followed a physical education program like those offered at universities, where the tests were part of the curriculum. Although they had not practiced the test exercises, the  
group training only with kettlebells scored better than the control group in every exercise.

Bruce Lee documented using kettlebells in his training, Lance Armstrong uses them, as do Sylvester Stallone and Penelope Cruz. Kettlebell training builds lean muscle, not bulk, and the workouts burn body fat quickly. It is not a workout for the faint-hearted, although the varying weights allow newcomers to start light and work their way up. The basic techniques must be practiced thoroughly, as they form the foundation of the more complex and strenuous movements.

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