Kettlebell Training Research Studies

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Kettlebells are probably one of the most effective workout tools on the planet.  

They are also one of the most under-researched on the planet.  

So, this post was sparked by my own interest.  

Kettlebells have proven time and time again to blow fat off of people’s bodies, most notably without losing much muscle in the process since all of the movements are loaded, both strength and ballistic exercises.

This makes kettlebell great for ditching fat without sacrificing any valuable lean muscle tissue.

And that my friends, is a win-win situation. 

So what studies exist?  

Let’s take a look at a few:

1)  Kettlebell Swings, Snatch and Bottoms Up Carry Impact on Back and Hip Muscle Activation

Excerpt:  “Some unique loading patterns discovered during the kettlebell swing included the posterior shear of the L4 vertebra on L5, which is opposite in polarity to a traditional lift. Thus, quantitative analysis provides an insight into why many individuals credit kettlebell swings with restoring and enhancing back health and function, although a few find that they irritate tissues.”

This is mostly good.  Stuart McGill is a world leader in spine research as it relates to exercise.  His work is cited and quoted in a lot of publications.  Kettlebell training, like any style of training, can be detrimental to your body if you choose to ignore technique.  Skip the learning the basics and you make yourself susceptible to injury.

Chalk one up for kettlebell swings, snatches and bottoms up holds.

Here is a video clip of the bottoms up kettlebell hold:

Your mid-section will light up like the Fourth of July while stabilizing the kettlebell in this inverted fashion.  Very challenging move.  Stay tight, tall and braced.

Protecting the spine while training is of utmost importance, and the most important role of the abdominal musculature.  Despite what mainstream projects the abs to be important for.  Protect your spine people.  

2)  Oxygen Cost of Kettlebells

This little study looked at the oxygen cost of kettlebells, more specifically the two-handed kettlebell swing.  

The metabolic challenge delivered during a kettlebell workout is large.  Part of the maximizing this challenge is selecting the proper weight bell.  It should be heavy, but not so heavy that you cannot finish the workout.  Swinging light bells encourages poor technique and decreases the impact of the overall workout.  

I’ve talked about leveraging kettlebell swings on this blog over and over again.  I cannot say enough about a properly performed swing, and what it can do for you body, performance and posture.  Preserving muscle while eliminating fat is such a desirable route when you’re seeking body transformations.  

Simple workouts can achieve big results.  Here is a recent post where I diagram some classic kettlebell workouts.  

3)  Kettlebell Swing Training Improve Maximal and Explosive Strength

Strongfirst Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is an explosive deadlift.  The extension of the hips out of the hinge is aggressive as you drive the hips forward, standing yourself up vertically.  

This hip snap is the same hip snap that athletes use for putting large amounts of force into the ground as they accelerate across the field, court or ice.  

This hip snap is not just for athletes, its beneficial for the working male or female, Mom and Dad and even physically able elderly populations.  The hips are designed to be the power source of the human body.  We spend most of our time on our feet, so having powerful hips is a great thing.  

Will you be able to dunk a basketball?  I can’t promise you that, but it will get you closer to the rim according to this study.  

Will you boost your strength and explosive strength when you call upon it?  This little study thinks so.  

*** Again, choose to swing heavy kettlebells over light kettlebells to reap the full benefits, but not so heavy that you cannot fully extend the hips or move the bell quickly.  



Cheers to the kettlebell and the emerging research behind its use…




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