For those of you that are out there that are searching for: Personal Training Clapham Junction. You will find the area absolutely full of trainers focussing on all types of training whether it be focussed on a certain piece of equipment or a certain style of training i.e cardio or weights.  As a Personal Trainer, I try not to get all romantic about any one style of training nor use just one or two “favourite pieces of kit.  I use a variety of tools depending on the result each individual client wants.

Now then, I will probably upset a whole load of hardcore kettlebell training advocates here but essentially kettlebell exercises are just training with a weight, that’s it. In that case, why write a whole article on kettlebell training if that’s all it is?

To answer that, I am going to first tell you a bit about it, then when and why you Would choose kettlebells over other forms of resistance training. Finally, I have added another one of my “Short Sharp Shock” series of workouts which has got exercises in, that anyone should be able to do without too much difficulty.

What is a kettlebell?

Okay, maybe I was very flippant about a kettlebell being just a weight. Essentially that’s all it is though: for those that do not know which one it is in the gym, it’s the one that looks like a cannonball with a handle on it. The shape of it is the reason why you would choose to use it in certain situations over other weights in the gym i.e. dumbbells.

So looking into the history of kettlebells they have been around for quite a while even dating back to ancient Greece. If you’re off to Greece for your holidays this year, if you go to the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, there is a pretty heavy one, carved out of stone, that dates back quite a while. If you want a bit more of a history about them, a couple of sites I have just read are
www.kettlebellscience.com and www.thierrysanchez.com

There is some good stuff on both and there’s even some research papers on the kettlebellscience.com. I will say though: some of the studies were only done on quite small numbers of participants, so take from that what you will.

Kettlebells have become really popular over that last few years and I have heard lots of people saying it is the “best” form of training for everyone.

In my current gym in Clapham Junction we have a whole rack of them ranging from 8kg-32kg; I think they are great and I include them in my programmes for many of my clients, however, I do not think that they are “best” for everyone, they are just a tool.

Just to clarify, I do not think that any one piece of equipment is “best” for everyone. I think you need to train “functionally”, which basically means you train specifically for your goal. Everyone has different needs, goals and maybe injuries. Training should be specific to each client.

Training should be specific to each client.

So why bother using a kettlebell?

First and foremost, it is down to its shape and the way the handle sits on top of the weight. Because of that shape, the kettlebell has a unique centre of gravity so it is really good for swinging. A lot of the main exercises developed for kettlebells use this swing, in one way or another.

Using a swing really activates your muscles. Your muscles act a little bit like elastic bands, in the sense that they store potential energy ready to be used. Your body is also pretty good at trying not injuring itself, so when you stretch your muscles to a range you body doesn’t like, it reacts by trying to keep you out of the danger zone. This “load to explode” is one of the principles of Functional Training, along with using momentum.

Kettlebells are found in almost all gyms now. One of the main reasons they go into my clients’ programmes is that they don’t get used. A lot of people are a little afraid of them or do not know what do with them.

You only need to grab a kettlebell and you can do a full body routine in a very small space. This is not so important for those of you who have lots of space at home to workout, however, a lot of gyms are extremely busy at certain times, and because of this equipment and space are very limited.

They are definitely fun. Most of the exercises that are done with kettlebells are dynamic, multi-muscle movements. I really do think these are a little less boring than some of the more traditional weight training exercises with dumbbells or barbells.

Going further into the fact you are training lots of muscles with lots of movement calories burnt, is also high. As a lot of us are after fat loss in the gym, this makes kettlebells a great tool for that.

I have had a quick look at some studies and there seems to be a bit of evidence to support the use of kettlebells for lots of things. Some for increasing cardiovascular fitness, some that show positive hormone changes, and I also found one that implemented kettlebell training as a tool to improve musculoskeletal pain symptoms.

Check out this page on kettlebellscience.com as the studies mentioned are there.

I will reiterate that some of the papers have only had a few participants, and I would usually like to see more, as that gives you a better answer to the questions raised at the start of the study.

What kettlebell exercises can I do?

Some people might like to read all about the science and get really in depth with any subject, and I have tried to give a little taster of that, for those of you that do. However over the years of my career, I have found that most don’t really care, they just want to do the exercises!

So this next bit is for you …

I have continued on with my “Short Sharp Shock” series of workouts. The idea was to create short workouts that only use one piece of equipment and in a certain time frame: that means you can get it done and go.

The workouts have 6 exercises which you are going to do for 45 seconds, followed by a short 15 seconds rest and then go straight into the next exercise.

Complete 3 circuits, which you should be able to knock out in under 20 mins. I have put 6 exercises in, that are simple and that almost everyone should be able to do. If however, they are a little bit easy for you, please check out my Instagram #titaniumbodies where you should be able to find some that are a little tougher.

So the exercises are as follows:

  1. Squat into upright row
  2. Single arm kettlebell swing
  3. Russian twist
  4. Alternating clean and press
  5. Figure of 8 swings
  6. Bent over snatch

Check out the video and please let me know how you get on.

To conclude

  • Kettlebells are old and have been used for centuries
  • There is no such thing as a “best exercise” for everyone
  • Swinging exercises work on the “load-explode” principle
  • Muscles are a bit like elastic bands
  • You can do a full body routine in a small space in a short time
  • Lots of calories are burnt
  • Lots of fun exercises you can do with them

If you are looking for : Personal Training Clapham Junction

Please feel free to contact us to have a chat about kettlebells and all the other types of training we offer.

Paul