Kettlebell Benefits

Strength Changes

  • Kettlebell Training Strengthens the Gluteal Muscles

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Individuals with  low back dysfunction often exhibit “’gluteal amnesia’, and if not overcome with proper recruitment pattern practice, it is likely to lead to more back problems” (Janda, p.159) since the erector spinae musles have to compensate for the glutes in the lifting task. The Gluteal muscles are made up of the Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus. Kettlebell training strongly emphasizes the gluteal muscle group.

  • Improves Explosive and Maximal Strength (Lake & Lauder, 2012)
  • Improves strength, power, and endurance (Manocchia, 2010)
  • Increases musculoskeletal health by reducing neck, shoulder and low back pain, and increases trunk extensor strength. (Jay et al, 2010)
  • Is transferable to traditional weight training and bodyweight exercises and is an excellent alternative to traditional weight lifting (Manocchia, 2010)

 

Body Composition

  • Positively impacts cardiorespiratory endurance and promotes changes in body composition (Porcari, 2010)
  • Maintains health and improves overall fitness (Castellano, 2009)
  • Can burn up to 20.2 calories per minute (Porcari, 2010)

Mobility and Felxibility

  • Improves balance, coordination, and agility (Luchkin, 1947, Laputin, 1973)
  • “Enables one to quickly build strength, endurance, achieve a balanced development of all muscle groups, fix particular deficiencies of build, and … promotes good health.” (Gomonov, 1998)
  • Kettlebell Exercises Promote Flexibility of the Hip Flexors

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Weak glutes are associated with tight hip flexors . The major hip flexor muscles are the Ilopsoas (Illicus & psoas major), and the rectus femoris (one of four of the quadricep muscles). Overdeveloped and tight hip flexors contribute to lower back pain by causing the pelvis to tilt forward. To counteract this, kettlebells promote hip flexor flexibility and strengthen theabdominal muscles. This reduces pelvic tilt and decreases lower back pain.

  • Kettlebell Training Develops Back Extensor Endurance

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The major back extensor muscles are the erector spinae group, which are the spinalis (medial), the longissimus (center) and iliocostalis (lateral). When it comes to the muscles of the back “lower back strength … does not appear to reduce the odds of back problems, muscular endurance does” (Luoto et al, 1995). “There is no better method for developing back extensor endurance than high repetition Kettlebell swings or snatches” (Pavel, 2007, p.159)

  •  Sensible Ballistic Loading Reduces the Odds of Arthritis

Repetitive ballistic loading of kettlebell swings and other quick lifts appears to be highly beneficial to your joints, provided you do not over do it. “Joints subjected to heavy impact are relatively free of osteoarthritis in old age and those subjected to much lower loading experience a greater incidence of osteoarthritis and cartilage fibrillation….It appears that the cartilage of joints subjected to regular impulsive loading with relatively high contact stresses is mechanically much stiffer and better adapted to withstand the exceptional loading of running or jumping than the softer cartilage associated with low loading. Thus, joint cartilage subjected to regular repetitive loading remains healthy and copes very well with impulsive loads, whereas cartilage that is heavily loaded infrequently softens…the collagen network loses its cohesion and the cartilage deteriorates.” (Verkhoshansky & Siff 1998, p.50)

  •  Kettlebell Exercises are Great for Strengthening the Mulitfidus Muscle

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Weakness in this small intrinsic spine muscle has been linked to back problems. “Kettlebell exercises … safely recruit and strengthen the multifidus” (McNamura, 2010, p. 2).

Cardiovascular

  • Provides a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase VO2max (Lanier, 2010).
  • Lowers heart rate and blood pressure (Shevtsova, 1993)
  • Increased heart volume and weight
  • Increased elasticity of the heart (compliance/heart stretching easier)
  • Increased capillary density of the heart
  • Eccentric Hypertrophy of the heart (expansion of the heart walls)
  • Concentric Hypertrophy of the heart (thickening of the heart wall)
  • Increased left ventricular – End diastolic volume (LV-EDV)
  • Increased power in the contractile muscle fibers of the heart
  • Increased stroke volume during rest, sub-maximal and maximal exercise
  • Decreased resting heart rate, sub-maximal and maximal exercise heart rate
  • Increased volume of blood flow per minute during maximal exercise

Health

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased oxygen consumption at sub-maximal exercise level
  • Increased oxygen consumption at maximal exercise level
  • Increased baroreceptor sensitivity (receptors that detect blood pressure changes)
  • Increased endurance and strength of respiratory muscles
  • Decreased ventilation at sub-maximal exercise intensity
  • Increased ventilation at maximal exercise intensity
  • Increased rate of oxygen transport from the lungs to the bloodstream
  • Increased numbers of glucose transporters
  • Increased capillary density of muscles
  • Increased activity of aerobic ATP formation enzymatic activity
  • Increased blood flow to the muscles
  • Increased free fatty acid uptake from the blood
  • Decreased rate of lactic acid production at a given intensity level
  • Increased insulin sensitivity