I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
I’m in love with kettlebells. Those smooth, black, rounds of iron have become a pillar in my life. I love to swing, I love the snatch…
(…Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!)
A kettlebell is like a best friend – dependable, unyielding, honest. A kettlebell never fails to show up when you need it. It tells it like it is, puts you in your place, yet somehow always manages to make you smile.
A kettlebell always demands respect. Never try to compete with it – the kettlebell will always win. Learning to tame a kettlebell is an art. A practice. It takes patience, commitment, and passion. I love the commitment to a process.
Kettlebells come in all shapes and sizes, yet the kettlebell fits every mold. Every bell has a purpose, and everyone’s journey to strength takes a different path. Strength training is rehab and rehab is strength training; proprioception and motor control exist at the foundation, and the kettlebell transcends all.
I’m in love with kettlebells.
Kettlebells require balance. The balance of tension and relaxation. The balance of strength and grace. Intention and patience; breath and silence, load and offset load. I love the mindfulness and deliberation required to be a perpetual student.
These glorious tools are called kettlebells. Not kettle-bAlls, not dumbbells. They’re made of iron, not plastic. Handles are slick, not sticky. Yes, they hurt to sit on your forearm. No, it doesn’t last forever. You can expect blisters as technique is refined. Carefully manicured calluses are the sign of a seasoned student.
The craft of kettlebell training encompasses mobility and stability, balance and poise, conditioning and power, skill and grit. Good movers learn to move well through deliberate practice. They must make mistakes within safe parameters to earn the motor control for good movement. Unlike a barbell, the placement of kettlebell load (outside of the hand) allows for freedom of range and creates a self-correcting environment. Kettlebells help reintroduce the nervous system to safe and quality movement.
I’m in love with kettlebells.
Kettlebell training is not elitist. The kettlebell deadlift and goblet squat are primary functional movements found at the core of any strength training program. The armbar is used for shoulder injury rehab and prevention, and the carry for safe spinal loading. The Turkish Get Up is research-proven (see Bret Contreras, aka the Glute Guy) as the only core exercise to elicit 100% peak activation in all major muscles of the core.
Kettlebell movement progressions are plentiful. The Turkish Get Up develops from a developmental-driven rolling pattern to a beautiful expression of full body strength, balance, and control. The goblet squat to the two-kettlebell front squat, coupling hip mobility and carefully controlled core-canister tension. The deadlift progresses to the swing, the snatch, the double snatch – all powerful displays of explosiveness, anaerobic and aerobic energy systems, and harnessed instability.
Kettlebell applications are vast. They’re at the core of my rehab and introduction to movement coaching. I use them for functional and general fitness goals. Mobility drills. Hypertrophy training. Strength goals. Interval drills. Sport performance. Mindfulness. Mental Health.
I’m in love with kettlebells, and I want you to love them too.
Want to learn more? Get in Touch to see how I can help you build strength and resilience with kettlebells too!
by Briana Kelly