A Kettlebell Workout Improves Strength


Stop by the IAIA Fitness Center and try out a kettlebell workout!

A kettlebell is an iron ball with a handle attached.   Kettlebells are considered to be one of the oldest pieces of strength training equipment.   The Russians have used kettlebells in their training camps since the 1700’s, but kettlebells are older than that ”“ murals in Naples, Italy show the Romans using kettlebells.

A kettleball
A kettleball

Kettlebell training is different from traditional strength training using dumbbells and barbells because kettlebell exercises involve momentum, blurring the line between cardiovascular and strength training exercise.

Numerous studies have shown that kettlebell training improves strength, power and muscular endurance ”“ all that in just one workout!

The basic kettlebell exercise is the “Russian swing.”   Stand with your feet wide apart and knees slightly bent.   Hold onto the kettlebell with both hands.   Lock out the arms ”“ the wrists and elbows stay straight.   Looking straight ahead, swing the kettlebell between your knees and drive the kettlebell up to eye level by snapping the hips.   The arms simply hold the kettlebell ”“ the effort comes from the hips.

Ben Calabaza prepares to swing the kettlebell.
Ben Calabaza prepares to swing the kettlebell.

The “American swing” brings the kettlebell directly overhead.   Try the American swing after you become practiced with the Russian swing.   A benefit of the American swing is that the spine has to stiffen and brace to balance the weight overhead, strengthening the back.

Ben Calabaza completes the "American swing."
Ben Calabaza completes the “American swing.”


Here’s a simple, short and effective kettlebell workout:

1)       10 reps Russian swing

2)       10 reps American swing

3)       10 reps goblet squat

JoAnn Bishop is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and  fitness and wellness director .

(All photos by JoAnn Bishop)


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