Kettlebell training compared to traditional weight training

Posted: February 19, 2013 in concepts, kettlebell

Traditional weight training using barbells/dumbbells involves moving heavy resistance through a linear path by pushing or pulling. These movements are typically performed in the low rep range of between 5 and 15 for a number of sets depending on the weight training program incorporated (5×5/12×3/8×4 etc)
This is fundamentally the most successful way to train for maximum strength.  
Kettlebell training, classed as a form of weight training, involves moving a moderate resistance through multiple planes and rotational loading with full range of motion and lock out at the joints. These movements are typically performed in high volume and for duration of time.  
High volume at moderate intensity strengthens the ligaments and tendons surrounding a joint.  
This also encourages the production of synovial fluid that lubricates the joint, keeping it healthy and strong. This assistance to joint mobility is often overlooked in conventional training. Tendons and ligaments do not develop as quickly as muscle so the risk of injury is increased if weight is increased before these structures are strong enough.   While barbell training promotes max strength gain and hypertrophy, this cannot be said for kettlebell training. Kettlebell training promotes strength and endurance due to the moderate weight being used for extended periods of time (ten minutes in kettlebell sport) This is not conducive to the bodybuilder physique if this indeed is the goal. Kettlebell training increases flexibility, strength and endurance without the added “bulking up” that comes with heavy barbell training. The athlete uses short bursts of ballistic power to generate the movement as opposed to the max time under tension associated with barbells. This makes it an ideal training addition to sports where weight of the athlete is critical and explosive timing is required, such as mma, boxing, grappling etc.  
If given the choice, kettlebell or barbell I’d go with kettlebell. True it’ll never replace the barbell for the max strength gains but it suits my goals for the moment. I want to maintain and eventually reduce my weight and increase my strength endurance and resilience that is required for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.


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