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Swings Are The Center Of The Kettlebell Universe

By Todd M. Cambio | February 18, 2017

The ONLY Piece Of Equipment You Absolutely Need!

Kettlebell Swings
There are so many pieces of “equipment” out there, but there is one piece of equipment that is underutilized and so misunderstood!

You guessed it! The kettlebell.

Obviously I love my kettlebells. I really do feel the bell is most people’s missing piece of equipment. The movements you do with kettlebells are full body and engage pretty much all your muscles. The exercises are based off of movement and how to enhance movement so you can gain more mobility, improve your stability and increase your strength. The kettlebell can also be utilized as an incredible corrective exercise tool.

The kettlebell is a very adaptable piece of equipment. You do not need a lot of room to get in a full body workout. You can take it outside, you can use it at home or you can use it at your gym. Heck, you can even travel with your bell! You do not need that many sizes of kettlebells either. You can program your kettlebell workout for strength, hypertrophy, MetCon or cardio.

However, when I talk kettlebells with people, the majority of things I hear are astonishing. Things like:

  1. Kettlebells will hurt my back
  2. Kettlebells are just like dumbbells
  3. Kettlebells are not heavy enough to get me strong
  4. Kettlebells cant be used for cardio
  5. AND my favorite, “I already know how to use them”

Absolutely, the 1st 4 above mentioned items are FALSE!

95% of the time #5 is FALSE! – follow up article on this coming next!  Until then, let’s address #1-4.

Here is why kettlebells are great for back health:

·A hard style kettlebell instructor (such as myself) will teach you how to use the kettlebell to strengthen your glutes. By strengthening your glutes you will protect your back. According to Vladimir Janda MD, people with low back pain have “gluteal amnesia.” By learning some of the basics of how to dead lift, how to squat and how to do a hard style swing; you will wake your glutes up and actually improve your back health.

·Kettlebell training will stretch your hip flexors. Research, like Janda’s, has shown a correlation between tight hip flexors and weak glutes.

·The abdominal bracing techniques and mobility drills used in my kettlebell course is second to none for spinal stability that again is going to protect your spine from injury.

Kettlebells are NOT like dumbbells. They are not shaped the same, they are not weighted the same so therefore they should not be used the same way.

·Kettlebells keep the weight on the outside of the wrist so the weight distribution is much different than that of a dumbbell (a Db’s weight is evenly distributed). Therefore, you really do not want to allow the weight of the bell to externally rotate your shoulders. If you lift kettlebells like dumbbells, you are opening up your shoulders for injury.

·Kettlebells should be lifted with straight neutral wrists and a firm grip to keep tension through out body improving strength and movement patterns. This method also improves joint stability.

This is how I celebrate St Patty's Day!! 44 kg (97 lb.) press x 2! Beast (48 kg) is next! SGF Level 2 six weeks away!! Spartan CT ten weeks away! #precisionfitness #strongfirst #SFG #spartanrace #spartangroupx #spartancoaches #spartantraining #goals

Notice the neutral wrist on this 44 kg (97 lb) press

Kettlebells are not heavy enough??? 

· All I will say is kettlebells go up to 203 lb. that I know of…now hold two of these heavy bells…that is a lot of weight my friends.

· Here is what I consider the average size bell you should be able to do the following movements comfortably with. 24 kg (53 lb) for men and16 kg (35 lb) for women:

o Kettlebell 1-handed swing

o Snatch

o Goblet squat

o Front Squat

o Get Up

o Clean

o Press

o Thruster

o Kettlebell 2-handed swing for a set of 10 – 1/2 your body weight for men and 1/3 your body weight for women.

Kettlebells are incredible for cardio!

As it turns out, the kettlebell must have been way ahead of their time.

· New groundbreaking research sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) demonstrates that kettlebell training significantly boosts aerobic capacity, while also improving core strength and dynamic balance.

· Dr. John Porcari, head of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science Department saw a 13.8 percent increase in aerobic capacity.

· In all, compared to the control group, those subjects who completed the kettlebell training showed significant improvements in VO2max, leg press, grip strength, dynamic balance and core strength.

· And the most impressive research in my opinion shows that in a kettlebell snatch workout, subjects “were burning 20.2 calories per minute, which is off the charts. That is equivalent to running a 6-mile pace.” (Porcari & Schnettler, 2010)

To see what I mean, check out my 5 min Kb Snatch video from the Tactical Strength Challenge 2014:

This is just the tip of the iceberg on using kettlebells. I teach hard style kettlebells, which I think, is the best overall system because it can be applied to so many other disciplines. Hard Style Kettlebell Training will teach you the precise ways in which kettlebells should be used for developing, maximizing, and maintaining strength!

I would love to see you at one of my kettlebell courses and be able to not just tell you, but show you how much kettlebells can improve your overall fitness level!  If interested, sign up for my next course. You wont regret it!  

March 11th – Exeter, NH

Sign Up HERE: http://www.strongfirst.com/shop/courses/kettlebell-courses/exeter-nh-march-11-2017/ 

This course is for anyone looking to improve his or her skills as a kettlebell instructor, avid kettlebell student or a beginner.

Be Strong,




PS – For those looking for more advanced Single Arm Kettlebell skills, I am hosting a 3-hour workshop in Mystic CT March 3rd.

CLICK HERE to register

More info HERE



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