Rogue Fitness Kettlebells
At End of Three Fitness I have discovered how to build a kettlebell, but I haven’t told you how to use, why to use or anything else about kettlebells…until now!
Kettlebells have gone from mysterious training nobody knew anything about, to being the “underground” strength guys’ tool, then made popular in CrossFit and now…commercialized, rubberized, Jillian-Michaels-erized, turned pink and available at Target (puke).
No matter who is preaching kettlebells and for whatever reason, you can’t change the facts, and overall awesomeness of the kettlebell.
The History of Kettlebells and Kettlebell Training
Here is the quick and dirty history of kettlebells. Think Russian.
A few things you need to know about Russians, they are good at vodka, chess and the kettlebell.
Long before George Washington was crossing the Delaware, or before Americans had the right to bear arms…the Russians were bearing kettlebells.
It is believed, and widely agreed upon, that the Russians were first spotted using the kettlebell, or Girya, in the early 1700s. It was primarily a tool used by farmers to help measure out crops…but, like any dude bored on a farm, the farmers started swinging these things and, lo and behold, they got stronger, healthier and became better humans.
Not to get too far into the weeds here, but you if you truly want to know the history you should know this name…Fast forward from the farmers to the late 1800s and, Vladislav Kraevsky is credited with adding the kettlebell and barbell to Russian training…but I like the farmer story WAY better.
- Bored Russian Farmer + Heavy Object = Birth of kettlebell training.
Understanding a kettlebell (and who pood?)
Alright, not insulting your intelligence here, but if this post truly deserves the “Everything You Need to Know” title, this needs to be included.
So if you didn’t know…pictured above, is a kettlebell:
Think bowling ball…with a handle…no holes…and much heavier…(I guess I could have just said cannonball)
What is a pood?
A pood is simply a Russian unit of measure, the USSR actually tried to get rid of the term…but it’s still here and mostly used in reference to kettlebells and weightlifting.
- Roughly, 1 pood = 36 lb or approximately 16 kg
- Pood is measured in fraction measures i.e. 1.5 pood
- 1 pood, 36 lb, 16 kg
- 1.5 pood, 54 lb, 24 kg
- 2 pood, 72 lb, 32 kg
Even though the listed above are commonly used kettlebells they range from 4kg (9 lb) – 48kg (106 lb)…so anyone can play!!
Benefits to kettlebell training
I’ll let you know upfront, for overall strength gains, nothing can beat the barbell…read the proof here.
BUT…the kettlebell alone, or as a supplement, is great for conditioning and strength. MANY studies have been conducted on kettlebell training and the general consensus is that the kettlebell is GREAT for any strength and conditioning program, primarily weightlifting and powerlifting. The kettlebell alone is enough to whip you into shape because…
The Kettlebell will:
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Increase strength and muscle mass
- Improve maximal and explosive strength
- Improve jumping power
- Increase Vo2 Max and conditioning
Cook you breakfast Wash your car
I think you get the point, the kettlebell is a very powerful tool. It takes a good amount of explosive power and coordination to use a kettlebell properly and that is why kettlebell skills are easily transferable to most sports.
Common Kettlebell Exercises and Training Cycle
There are a lot of variations of exercises and many different types of exercises you can do with a kettlebell, but here are some of the most common exercises. It would be hard to explain all of the exercises, so I snagged some popular videos I found on YouTube to help you visualize the different exercises.
- Kettlebell Swing
- Windmill – This one can be dangerous for beginners…proceed with caution.
- Goblet Squat
- Turkish Getup
- Double Kettlebell Push Press
Simple Kettlebell Training Cycle
There are tons of kettlebell exercises, programs, classes and DVDs out there, so if you want to get serious about the kettlebell you can find many places to do so. But let’s talk on a more realistic basis. Here is a simple kettlebell training cycle you can ADD to your CURRENT TRAINING that will help you gain a little edge, without overtraining or overtaxing your body.
The primary focus of this kettlebell training cycle is strength and power, so rest is up to you but generally 1-2 min between exercises and 2-3 min between sets. If you want to increase conditioning and intensity, simply shorten rests to 30 sec.
Kettlebell Training Cycle:
- 6 weeks
- 2x a week
- Weeks 1-3: 3×6 kettlebell swing, 4×4 kettlebell clean and 4×6 goblet squats
- Weeks 4-6: 4×6 kettlebell swing, 6×4 kettlbell clean and 4×6 goblet squats
- Weight is based of off your strength…Go heavy!
And if you have anything to add about kettlebells, any good books or resources you have found, please ADD IT TO THE COMMENTS. That way this will truly be “Everything You Need to Know About Kettlebells and Kettlebell Training”.
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Kettlebells
Wikipedia: Sport In Russia