Thursday, March 20, 2008

WHY Kettlebell Training?

What is the one thing you’d look for when working out, whether it is losing weight, improving your stamina and endurance, toning your muscles, gaining strength, developing explosive speed and power or improving your flexibility? I’m not sure about you, but for me it would be efficacy. I’d want my workout to be the most efficient and productive workout to help me achieve my goals. If I had only an hour a day or even thirty minutes or less, but yet want to achieve the foregoing fitness objectives, I’d want a workout that works for me.

No offense to runners, but who wants to spend an hour or two jogging just to burn 600 calories or lose weight or tone up your butt, thighs and legs? In today’s hectic rat-race world where time for anything (let alone exercise) is a premium, most people would want to spend the least amount of time for the most efficient workout. In other words, they’d want the most bang for their buck.

Okay, so you want to lose weight. There are many options out there but how much of it really works? Running is fine but I’ve seen many people who run but don’t lose weight. Unless you’ve a passion for running, most people give up the initial steam to run at least an hour a day for three or more times a week. It’s pretty boring if you run the same routes every day or every other day or keep running on that $5,000 treadmill at home or in the gym. Not to mention the impact on your knees which will wear out your joints after much pounding and punishment because without which, your runs will not generate enough of a workout to work up your heart rate and burn those calories. Oh, did I forget those rainy days when you can’t run?

With a kettlebell, you can do swings for 6 to 8 minutes to get the equivalent or more of 30 or 45 minutes of running. In fact, you’d be dripping buckets full of sweat by the time you hit 3 minutes. Kettlebell swings is the basic foundation movement which leads into all the other lifts and movements but remains one of the most effective exercise which develops your cardio, help lose weight, tone up and tighten those hips, butts and thighs, adductors, back, shoulders, forearms. Want a sexy tight butt? Swing a kettlebell. Want incredible cardio and fire up your metabolic rate and lose weight? Swing a kettlebell. The simple yet effective kettlebell swing can be done anywhere, anytime. All you need is a single kettlebell with just 3 x 3 metres of space and you can do it on rainy days in the privacy and comfort of your own home without having to put on your running shoes or driving to the gym. Heck, you can even literally pack your kettlebell in your overnighter and bring it into whichever hotel you check in if you’re crazy enough.

So you want to pack on some upper body strength, put on some muscles and look like Stallone in Rambo 4? Mind you, steroids have serious side effects on your health and can give you roid rage. How about signing up in a bodybuilding gym? Or investing $15,000 in some bodybuilding equipments like a power bench, a squat rack, barbells and countless free weights or some workstation which will besides burning a hole in your pocket, probably end up being an antique piece in your home or store room? Life doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Having come from a hard core bodybuilding background, I know that you’d have to do tons of sets of bicep curls, barbell curls, concentration curls just to hit those biceps. Having to do 4 to 5 types of different types of exercise with countless repetition to work just one bodypart is not efficient and a waste of time. Besides that, the trouble with bodybuilding is that it is a lot of isolationist movements which are not really that for your joints because it stresses them and does not really strengthen your body to work as a functional whole unit. You might get very strong say doing heavy dumbbell curls but you’d be surprised you might not even get past 10 dead hang chin-ups. Why? Because doing dumbbell curls works only your biceps per se, and not other parts of your body like your upper and lower back muscles, forearms, traps and lats, etc. which you need to engage if you were to lift your own body weight past a chin-up bar.

In everyday life, you’d want functional strength, and not just look good. A single kettlebell movement like a clean works the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, hips, adductors, back, shoulders and core, lats, biceps and forearms. See the difference? In simple words, kettlebell exercises like a clean work more bodyparts than just your biceps to give you strength, endurance, work capacity, cardio and those toned, hard muscles you want. So, by the time the guy in the gym has done 4 sets of 15-12-10-8 dumbell curls, while I do in equivalent 2 mins of cleans per hand, I’d have work out more bodyparts, developed my cardio and endurance while he has just worked his biceps. Need I say more?

I’m refraining from getting into other kettlebell moves like the snatch, jerk, presses, windmills, and many more others just to illustrate the point that even with 2 simple movements, you’d get more benefits from doing these 2 kettlebell moves than doing other types of workouts and exercises which are far costlier, take up more time to learn and do and are less efficient for the amount of work and effort you put in. Why just work hard? Work hard and smart. Try kettlebell training today and see, feel and enjoy the difference and benefit it brings. Oh, and did I say it can get addictive?

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