This week's Blogpost is by Nat Pero, Head personal trainer at Morpheus who is very much an enthusiast of Kettlebell training, the training tool that has rapidly become the new accessory of nearly every personal trainer in London. In this post he outlines 5 benefits of the Kettlebell training system.
5 Benefits of Kettlebell Training
The ability to swing and rotate kettlebells gives them a unique set of benefits not necessarily experienced when using more conventional forms of resistance tools, such as dumbbells and barbells.
During my 10 years as a personal trainer in London, rarely have I come across a single training utensil that can be used to achieve virtually any fitness related goal. More often than not the use of multiple pieces of equipment are required to achieve most objectives. The Kettlebell however, is so versatile that programmes can be undertaken that take care of almost any training goal imaginable without the use of any other piece of equipment.
There are obviously too many benefits to list in one article. I have however, listed my top five benefits which I think will appeal to all no matter what your training goal(s) may be.
No. 5) Improving Mental Toughness & Focus
Mental toughness determines whether or not you achieve your objectives, so for this reason alone it is very useful. Without it you'll become a yo-yo exerciser, forever taking two steps forwards and two steps back and ultimately not achieving your goals. This applies especially to those who are new to exercise, as establishing a consistent regime can quite often be the hardest part.
One of the key things I’ve noticed during my kettlebell classes in London is the improvement in mental toughness of many participants, particularly with newcomers and the slightly less experienced. The reason for this I believe is unlike running on a treadmill, or pedaling away on a bike you actually have to focus on each repetition, correct breathing technique, weight distribution and the speed of kettlebell. Even the most experienced users require high levels of concentration, making kettlebells not only a physical challenge but a mental one too.
No. 4) Multiple Muscle Groups Working Simultaneously
One of the main reasons kettlebell training is such an effective training system is its compound training (training multiple joints in one movement) format. Due to their design, it's very difficult to perform an isolation exercise (single joint) - So, training with a kettlebell is an effective way to condition multiple muscle groups quickly and effectively.
The vast majority of kettlebell exercises require several muscle groups to perform the action. For example, the clean and press, is a huge compound exercise. Hamstrings, glutes, biceps and lats are utilised during the clean; core, deltoids and triceps firing during the press. So, eight muscle groups recruited! This magnitude of muscle groups working simultaneously means rapid results and a big return on your workout time.
No. 3) Combines Cardiovascular Exercise with Strength Training
Strength training and cardio training are often seen as enemies. One is the total opposite to the other, however the acquirement of both can send your training gains through the roof. The general consensus is that to improve aerobic fitness and strength one must follow carefully constructed individualised programmes. This route can reap rewards, however there is a way to improve both variables simultaneously (no prizes for guessing) without having to separate the two, saving time without sacrificing progress.
If you've participated in a kettlebell class in London* before you'll be aware that sets can last for several minutes a time. One of my favorite protocols I like to inflict during my kettlebell classes in London is called the Complex. A complex consists of several exercises performed continuously for a set period of time. For example, a complex might look like this: swing, high pull, clean, push press. Perform one repetition of each of the aforementioned exercises on one arm. Once this is achieved, change arms without breaking the momentum and repeat on the opposite side. Keep this format going until the designated time period is up (could be anywhere between 2 and 10 mins long depending upon your level).
The high number of reps during this protocol places great a demand on your cardio vascular and strength endurance systems.
No.2) Posterior Chain Strengthener
The posterior chain muscles refer to the groups of muscles that run from the back of the neck down towards the heal, notably the calves, hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae (lower back), lats, rhomboids and trapezius. The vast majority of kettlebell exercises recruit a number of posterior chain muscle groups, particularly the hamstrings, glutes and erector spinae.
Today's sedentary lifestyles dictate that we are seated for large parts of the day. Over a period of time this leads to weaknesses within the posterior chain and chronic problems particularly in the lower back region. Regular kettlebell training helps guard against this by keeping these often neglected, important muscle groups strong and active.
In fact, many participants in my London kettlebell classes describe noticing firmness in their hamstrings and gluteals. A few even experience the disappearance of lower back pain after just a few weeks of regular kettlebell training.
No.1) Development of Functional Strength
Without question, the primary focus of any resistance programme should be to improve functional strength. Functional strength refers to the strength needed to carry out everyday tasks, relying on multiple muscle groups working together as a strong unit. A functionally strong person has good posture, walks and runs efficiently, lifts and carries effectively and is ready for the stresses and challenges that daily life presents. Functionally strong people also drastically reduce their risk of chronic conditions such as osteoporosis and lower back pain.
If you would like to start kettlebell training in London, seek tuition from an experienced professional to start reaping the benefits and reduce the likelihood of injury.
Another path is to enroll in a beginner’s class. There are many kettlebell classes in London that cater for beginners. Sometimes, working in a group environment is more motivational than training individually. Find out what suits you and start experiencing the full repertoire of benefits of kettlebell training.
*Kettlebell classes take place at our Tower Bridge and Piccadilly personal training gyms