In Episode 01 of the Hardstyle Kettlebell Channel...
What's the deal with kettlebells (KBs)?
They're becoming pretty popular in the fitness realm and in athletics.
But is this just another fad? Will we be ditching our KBs in a couple years like we ditched our ThighMasters in the 90s? I still have mine :(
I don't think so. KBs are here to stay and a valuable tool for fitness and rehab professionals.
The important thing to note is that even though the weights can be light, especially for those that lift weights, the nature of hardstyle movements make the weight feel heavier. A 24kb/53# KB doesn't sound like much. Yet, when you go to swing, snatch, or do a get up, that weight seems MUCH heavier. The result is good results with relatively light weight. This is why Andy Bolton improved his deadlift (1,000 pounds!) by swinging a 48kg/106# bell!
The small size also allows the bell to go in between the legs. Why's this important? This allows you to ballistically load your posterior chain in a way that's tougher to do with most forms of resistance. The result is a resilient, explosive, and adaptable posterior chain.
Tim Ferriss is famous for his pursuit of time efficiency and improving per hour output. In the Four Hour Body, he sought out a tool that would give him the most bang for his buck and time. What do you think he found? Kettlebells
The offset weight also mimics most real world objects that we have to lift or toss - awkwardly shaped and heavier on one end. Learning to lift and move kettlebells can translate into learning how to better handle real world objects you may have to lift or toss.
What is Hardstyle Training?
I like to think of hardstyle training as a beautiful dance between tension and relaxation. Hardstyle training grows the ability to create tension when/where you desire while also growing the ability to relax when/where you desire. The result is improved strength, motor control, endurance, and energy conservation. (For a more robust explanation, read what Brett Jones had to say.)
Hardstyle KB training traditionally consists of two types of lifts: Ballistics (quick lifts) and Grinds (slow lifts).
These lifts can be used in combination to create some very powerful training/rehab sessions.
Who's it good for?
Remember...KBs don't hurt people. People hurt themselves.
I could argue that KB training can be used with most human beings. Yet, there's always exceptions.
Be sure participants are cleared medically for physical activity. If you're using these in rehab, I highly recommend tracking vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, O2 saturation). This becomes more important as you apply KBs with older adults.
Precautions (not exhaustive)
Red Light - Don't think about it
Yellow Light - Proceed with caution
Red Light - Don't think about it
What should you wear?
Barefoot is the preferred way to train with KBs as you have great surface contact area and greater energy transfer to/from the ground.
If you are going to wear shoes, wear something that:
If you'd like to work towards training barefoot, do yourself a favor and read this article on T-Nation.
In regards to your hands. Barehanded is preferred. This can be difficult for some as you have to build up callouses to be able to do high volume KB lifts. To do this, you have to take care of your hands and prevent blisters. Ripping a blister will put you out of commission for a few days if you're not careful.
What size KB's do I need to get started?
Each person is different. Here's a post on where to start with purchasing your kettlebells.
Want to watch this episode along with the rest of the Hardstyle Kettlebell Channel?