Many people in the fitness space utilize dumbbells for strength building, hypertrophy work, or functional fitness. It is not uncommon to see a huge rack with several (sometimes) neatly organized rows of them as soon as you walk into any gym. However, does your gym or fitness space have kettlebells? How many people do you see using them? Do you use kettlebells in your training, or does the sheer sight of them cause intimidation? In this article, we will look to remove that fear around the use of the kettlebell, and teach you how to harness its versatility for even more strength and functional movement gains with the best kettlebell exercises!

 

What is a kettlebell, and where does it come from?

Kettlebells are thought to have originated and popularized in the 1800s in Russia by a doctor named Vladislav Krayevsky. The term comes from the Persian word ‘gerani’, meaning difficult, and the Slavic word ‘gur’, which means bubble. Difficult bubble? We say ‘no way! This weighted sphere with a handle evolved over time to be included in the world’s most popular lifting and Highland competitions, and can still be seen today being utilized in feats of profound strength in the Strongman space. It is made of cast iron or steel, and is heaved, tossed, lifted, held, and swung in many competitions around the world today.

In most recent times, kettlebells have begun to pop up again in the gym and fitness space to train accessory power and explosiveness, functional fitness, and general health. They are portable and easy to throw into your trunk for a quick outdoor or hotel gym workout, and they come in many different sizes and weights! Kettlebell weights will usually be listed in kilograms (kg), but will most often times have the weight in pounds listed on the bell as well.

 

Who can benefit from using kettlebells?

We already know that kettlebells have a variety of different purposes for the athlete population, with the most common being the improvement of power and explosive muscular output. Check out this article (1) to see some applications of kettlebell training and tips on how to integrate them into a power program.  This is especially beneficial for sports like soccer, Olympic weightlifting, and track and field sports that involve explosive throwing.

But what about the average person who just wants to improve their health and wellness? Or the person who is struggling with pain, poor balance, or other difficulty with moving their body? Yes, kettlebells are for you too! In fact, one study by Schafer et al (2) demonstrates how kettlebells are utilized to improve walking biomechanics and reduce falls in the amputee population. Another study by Moreno (3) shows kettlebell utilization to improve metabolic syndrome in women, and yet another by Jakobsen and colleagues (4) shows the benefits of kettlebell training to improve musculoskeletal pain in healthcare workers.

In short, kettlebells can be utilized by a variety of populations, whether you are an elite athlete or an average person just wanting to improve their health. This speaks to the versatility of the awesome kettlebell!

 

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fitness gym program best kettlebell exercises the prehab guys

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I am a kettlebell beginner – what exercises should I do?

Never picked up a kettlebell before? Not to fear! Here are some simple introductory exercises with the kettlebell to get you started. Make sure to start with a LIGHT kettlebell – proper form is key to developing good movement patterns that promote injury prevention when using a kettlebell or other implement to exercise. Once your movement patterns are dialed in, you can slowly start to add weight to your exercises.

Unilateral Farmer Carry

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Program Gym Edition Exercise

 

Learn How To Master The Turkish Get Up With a Kettlebell

 

Kettlebell Deadlift

READ: THE ULTIMATE DEADLIFT WARMUP

deadlift warm up best kettlebell exercises the prehab guys

 

 

I have some experience with kettlebells – how do I level up?

Once you are comfortable with some basic exercises, here are some more advanced kettlebell exercises to level up your gains!

 

Kettlebell Clean and Press

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Program Gym Edition Exercise

 

Half Kneeling Windmill

 

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Cossack Squat

Sample [P]rehab Fitness Program Gym Edition Exercise

LISTEN: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING THE GROIN MUSCLES

treating and preventing groin strains best kettlebell exercises the prehab guys podcast

 

 

Closing Thoughts

Whether you are an elite athlete or not, the kettlebell is a great training tool for putting strength, power, functional movement, and FUN into your fitness program! No matter what your goals are, the kettlebell can help you get there. We hope you enjoy these exercises to get you started!

 

Optimize Your Movement System and Train With [P]rehab!

fitness gym program best kettlebell exercises the prehab guys

At Team [P]rehab we have spent the past 10 years merging exercise science with physical therapy allowing us to create the ultimate full-body fitness program which will not only build your physical body safely and effectively but will also change the way you workout & approach exercise forever. Get started HERE.

 

References

  1. Harrison, Jeffrey S BSc, CSCS, NSCA-CPT1; Schoenfeld, Brad MSc, CSCS, NSCA-CPT2; Schoenfeld, Melody L CSCS3 Applications of Kettlebells in Exercise Program Design, Strength and Conditioning Journal: December 2011 – Volume 33 – Issue 6 – p 86-89doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e31822faf78
  2. Schafer ZA, Perry JL, Vanicek N. A personalised exercise programme for individuals with lower limb amputation reduces falls and improves gait biomechanics: A block randomised controlled trial. Gait Posture. 2018;63:282–9.
  3. Moreno KIP, P. A. Effects of kettlebell training on metabolic syndrome in women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44:497-8.
  4. Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E, Brandt M, Andersen LL. Effect of physical exercise on musculoskeletal pain in multiple body regions among healthcare workers: Secondary analysis of a cluster randomized controlled trial. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2018;34:89–96.

 

About The Author

Taryn Beaumont, PT, DPT, CLT, CF-L1, CNC

[P]Rehab Writer& Content Creator

taryn beumont prehab guysTaryn was born and raised in Maine and still resides there with her boyfriend and son. Taryn received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Husson University in 2010, and also carries a Bachelor in Kinesiology and Human Movement Science. She is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, a Certified Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, and a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach. Taryn has 10+ years of experience in many different realms of PT, from the young athlete to the geriatric patient. Taryn considers herself a ‘lifelong learner’. She has special interests in oncology care and breast health, dry needling, and Crossfit training. In her free time, Taryn enjoys fitness, spending time with her family, continuing education, writing, and reading, and is very excited to be a part of The [P]Rehab team to educate and empower others to take control of their own health and wellness.

Disclaimer – The content here is designed for information & education purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.

About the author : Taryn Beaumont PT, DPT, CLT, CF-L2, CNC

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