TRAINlete is excited to feature some incredible insight and expertise from one of our GREAT Trainers, Scott S. Please read the below to gain some valuable insight from Scott on Kettlebells. Also, be sure sure to check Scott's TRAINlete Profile out to further connect - http://www.trainlete.com/scott
Kettlebell Training for Athletes Without a doubt, kettlebells have made a big impact in the world of sport performance training and athletic preparation-and for good reason. Kettlebells offer many benefits to the athlete, they assist the athlete in building general physical preparation (GPP), strengthening weak points-particularly shoulder strength and mobility, lower back / posterior chain strength and health and grip strength-, and do to the swinging nature of many of the kettlebell exercises the teach the athlete to absorb, store and redirect force in the hips and lower extremities, something that cannot be replicated with the barbell. In addition to using kettlebells to enhance general sports training, there is an actual sport of kettlebell lifting as well, called Girevoy Sport or Kettlebell Sport. It is similar to the sport of weightlifting in that the athletes compete in the clean and jerk or the jerk and the snatch. Instead of lifting a maximal weight for one repetition, kettlebell sport is performed with the same weight (weights vary depending on the individual level and qualification of the lifter) and done for as many repetitions as you can perform within a 10:00 time limit – the catch is you may not set the bells down or your set is terminated! This sport is an exceptional feat of power-endurance. Fortunately there are many different educational opportunities for strength coaches who would like to add kettlebell training into their program, however I still talk to many coaches who believed kettlebells were a magic manna, ordered a pallet-full of them, and they are currently sitting in a corner of the weight room collecting dust. There is a misconception with kettlebell training that I think should be addressed. In my experience training and programming kettlebells – I’ve been doing it since 2003 – I’ve noticed a lot of people feel that kettlebells can replace other forms of strength, conditioning and physical preparation. I don’t believe this is the case. I’ve noticed that kettlebells seem to “bridge the gap” between general preparation and specific preparation and I’ve seen this with many of my athletes. Even my coach, Valery Fedorenko, told me he thinks kettlebells should make up maybe 5-15% of the athlete’s physical preparation program. This is where the coach needs to spend the necessary time educating themselves on the needs of their athlete and how best to incorporate the bells. For myself, I’ve noticed exercises like swings, cleans and snatches being beneficial for strengthening the posterior chain, mid to upper back and torso as well as having almost a plyometric effect on the body do to the absorption and redirection of the forces associated with the movements. Presses, push-press and jerks-performed with or without the clean-are great for strength and mobility overhead and the push-press and jerks allow for a greater amount of force production. When performing these drills-do to the fact kettlebells are relatively light-I tend to favor higher repetition sets which improves general cardiovascular fitness while still teaching the athlete to develop power while fatigued (think 4
th quarter in football, 3
rd or 5
th round in MMA, etc) which is a huge benefit to athletes. Trying to perform well while fatigued is not easy! Each exercise could certainly be an article in and of itself – for the purposes of this article I wanted to present a general idea of the benefit kettlebell training may provide athletes and motivated fitness enthusiasts. Personally I’ve used kettlebells with football players, powerlifters, MMA fighters, Muay Thai fighters, boxers, basketball players, volleyball players as well as numerous fitness enthusiasts and everyone has experienced great results and enjoyed the variety in the training and programming. Before wrapping up I’d like to provide you with some additional resources if you would like to further your knowledge of kettlebell lifting.
Kettlebell Instructor Certifications If you would like to go through the World Kettlebell Club Fitness Trainer Certification and License Course, I offer them regularly out of my Atlanta-based training center. Click this link for more information.
Kettlebell Books I’ve authored two books on kettlebell training. “Kettlebells for Sport, Strength and Fitness” is a general introduction to kettlebells and how I’ve used them with some of my athletes. In there you will have descriptions and step by step photos of over 15 kettlebell training exercises both traditional and non-traditional lifts. There is a brief history of kettlebells as well as sample training templates based on the ways I’ve incorporated kettlebells with other strength training means in my gym. In addition I provide some kettlebell-only training plans for those interested in starting kettlebell sport or using kettlebells as a stand-alone training tool.
http://www.extreme-fitness.org/books.html “Kettlebell Conditioning for MMA and other Fight Sports” is a book I wrote on how I use kettlebells to supplement the training of the fighters I work with. It contains exercise descriptions and step by step photos for the exercises I selected for the program as well as six different training programs. Keep in mind-I recommend this in addition to basic strength and power training and specific fight training not as a replacement. In addition we filmed the video counterpart of my Kettlebell Conditioning for MMA book in a project with TapouT’s Virtual Training Center. These videos may be downloaded for a small monthly subscription fee on the TapouT VTC website – in addition you’ll have access to all the videos from top level UFC fighters, strength coaches, and dieticians in addition to my material. There is a short preview video clip at the link below.
Kettlebell Sport Kettlebell Sport really could be its own book. However, if you are looking for a good intro to see if it is something you would like to pursue further, check out this article I wrote for Elite Fitness Systems, “An Introduction to the Sport of Kettlebell Lifting”.
http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/an-introduction-to-the-sport-of-kettlebell-lifting/ Thanks and I sincerely hope this article, and these resources, have given you a better insight into the world of kettlebell lifting and what it may do for you, your clients and athletes. However, if you have any further questions please feel free to email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Scott Shetler Owner, Extreme Conditioning & Fitness / the ECF Gym