What is the deal with kettlebells and why do I use them in my training?
3 main reasons come to mind:
Lets start with versatility: I can easily work any muscle group with these weights. I can work groups in isolation if I choose or I can do drills that involve the entire body but may emphasize certain muscle groups over others. My preference is the latter as there is very little that is done in daily life that exclusively uses a single muscle group. Every sport involves use of multiple muscle groups and the body works as a unit. It makes sense to train using more "functional" or whole body drills unless you are a bodybuilder trying to develop a lagging muscle group. This probably sounds like blasphemy to those coming from a bodybuilding-type training background. That unfortunately would include most people, don't believe me? Think about it next time you are waiting in line for the cable crossover machine at your local gym. Why do most people train like this? Who knows? Why do whales beach themselves? I can't answer that either.
If you want an idea of the scope of exercises offered with kettlebell training check out some of Steve Cotter's work. It is at www.fullkontact.com . Steve's Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting has 7 hours of material covering various drills. That is just volume 1. Volume 2 provides an additional 9 or so hours of original material with even more exercises and variations. There are plenty of great exercises to keep you challenged for at least the next 200 years.
On to portability... I can grab a pair, put them in my car and take them anywhere. If I want a change of scenery, no problem. Train outside when it is nice. I do it all summer. Got a small apartment, no room for the home gym? Now you have no excuse. Packing up the minivan for the great american summer vacation? Don't forget your kettlebell! No more excuses, only more reasons to exercise.
Finally measurability... My interest in kettlebells focuses on kettlebell sport this is also known as Girevoy sport. This aspect of kettlebell lifting originates from the former USSR. The birthplace of the kettlebell. International standards exist and tables have been published. This is a great way to reference where you stand relative to the international standards.
Quite a bit of information on this can be found at the North American Kettlebell Federation website www.nakf.net or at World Champ Valery Fedorenko's site www.americankettlebellclub.com. Steve Cotter's site also has a great forum which has a lot of discussions regarding this. Frequent participants include some of the best American Kettlebell lifters. Check it out!
Please email me with any questions you might have.