Learn about Kettlebell Training and how Kettlebell Academy can help you reach your goals

Q: Why Kettlebells?

A: This has been answered in a superb manner by Scott Iardella, an acclaimed coach, author, blogger, physiotherapist and podcaster. 

There is something very special about kettlebell training. You could say I’m on a mission to help other people learn about how to use it the right way to get the results I have.

Today, people ask me all the time, “Why kettlebells? Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself. Kettlebell training is radically different from any other form of training I’ve personally experienced in my thirty years of weight training.

Kettlebells are kaizen. Kaizen is Japanese for continuous and never-ending improvement. There’s really something “magical” about kettlebells when you learn how to perform the key exercises correctly. It’s a very different type of training from other modalities. 

The kettlebell swing is a perfect example of the uniqueness of kettlebell training. Why? As Tracy Reifkind, RKC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise. It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise. There isn’t an exercise that addresses so many things at once as does the kettlebell swing.

The magic of the kettlebell appears to have something to do with the cannonball shape and the offset handle, which allow you to manipulate the kettlebell much differently than you could with a dumbbell, barbell, or any other training device. The shape and the handle allow you to perform ballistics and grinds. Ballistics are fast, explosive movements, while grinds are slow and deliberate. This allows for a different type of training experience for faster results.

While there are many great things about kettlebell training, one of the biggest benefits is that all of the exercises are essentially total body exercises. This means you get total body strengthening and conditioning with one single tool. Virtually every fitness goal you want could be accomplished with a kettlebell, but don’t mistake me saying that this is the only thing you should do. It’s a tool, just like a barbell is a tool, and other training methods certainly have utility and benefits, as well.   

What I have found is that the kettlebell has become central to my training programs. While I still use bodyweight exercises and barbell programs, kettlebells are an essential part of my training and what I teach today because they offer better results in less time. The time efficiency of training is another huge advantage of kettlebell training, as you can get amazing workouts in a very short time period.    

What about the “movement advantage?” The movement advantage is learning to move better through the use of kettlebells. This is something I feel very strong about as a former physical therapist, because kettlebells actually teach you to move in a way that is better, stronger, and safer. Unfortunately, many of us today lose some of our basic movements as a result of sedentary occupations and lifestyles. When you don’t use it, you lose it. That’s exactly what happens when we don’t move with full range of motion or become habituated to certain postures (like sitting all day at a computer).   

Kettlebells help us to reclaim our true movement and flexibility again. The Turkish get up is a great example of an exercise that teaches us to move better. I’ve had many clients say how well they move and function again, after learning how to perform this exercise correctly. It’s a very powerful, dynamic, and fundamental exercise, like the kettlebell swing.  

If you learn the proper way to use a kettlebell, I can guarantee you’ll discover for yourself, what’s so special about kettlebells. The best way to get started is to find a certified instructor and get qualified instruction from the beginning, if you can. This will ensure you get started off the right way and get results, faster and more safely than trying to figure it out on your own. For total body strengthening and conditioning, kettlebells are definitely a very special fitness and performance training tool to incorporate into your program. 

Q: Do I need to be fit to begin training with Kettlebell Academy?

A: No you don't. We offer both individual coaching, individual programming, beginner/intermediate/advanced group sessions, as well as intensity options within any particular class, to create the most effective, enjoyable and safe workout for you, every time. We will adjust exercises, weights, reps and rest accordingly to make sure you get the right effect and are progressing at your pace.

Q: I have never used Kettlebells before and am worried that I will not do very well.

A:  Almost every single student comes to KBA without prior experience of kettlebell training. We will start you from wherever you are and you will learn new skills and exercises in an organized and step-by-step fashion. Each new exercise will build on your previous skills, so that you never feel like you're in over your head. The best results come when you approach kettlebell training with a 'beginners mind': focus on learning new skills, consistently complete your homework practice sessions, stay humble and leave your ego at the door. 

You will always be given the correct weights to use and personally coached through every exercise. You will only progress to a more advanced exercise once you have learned the technique and can consistently perform with good form. You will only be working with very experienced, accredited and attentive coaches.

Q:  Why will I get better results with Kettlebell Academy than than in a traditional gym setting or by following online workout plans?

A: At KBA we provide the most complete  and time-efficient strength and conditioning system based on optimal levels of progression, intensity and variety, backed by scientific research. 

Since we firmly believe that most of your training can be done at home, we built a state-of-the-art online coaching and home training platform. In addition to supremely effective training plans you get via your Online Coaching Membership, we provide the most crucial element of success - accountability. 95% of KBA students receive regularly updated Individual Performance Plans, comprised of 15-60 minute workouts that they complete at home when they are not in class. Each plan is made to fit your individual health & fitness goals, comes with guided and timed workouts, exercise technique videos, performance and attendance trackers, personal stats, instant messaging and a ton more features. Your weekly activity and overall progress are monitored via the app's check in and track function, so your coach knows exactly what you are doing, what you are struggling with and when you can move up to the next level. 

Q: Why are Kettlebells so beneficial for me?

A: Kettlebells are the ultimate fitness tool because they can be used for more exercises than any other equipment.

Kettlebells also vary in weight from 8kg to 80kg and vary in size from Classic (small and compact and varying in size) to Competition which are all the same size but vary in weight. This allows us to individualize the kettlebells for each exercise to suit your needs. Kettlebells can be used to create power if moved extremely fast and also to create maximum strength and stability if moved slowly. You can pass a kettlebell easily from hand to hand and between your legs, alternate rack positions and anchors, which creates a continuous cycle and unparalleled cardiovascular conditioning effect. Unlike dumbbells, they are used in all 3 planes of movement (Sagittal, Frontal and Transverse) and therefore they are perfectly suited to functional training, fat loss, structural balance, coordination and strength endurance for sport.

There is no end to the plethora of benefits that kettlebells provide. Research has also proven that Kettlebells can help to improve your maximum aerobic capacity (endurance capacity). Try doing this with dumbells!

Q:  How is Kettlebell Academy different from group classes like LesMills Body Pump or Crossfit?

A: KBA delivers purposeful training. We train movements, not muscles. We don't have 'chest track' and 'biceps track'. When we train movements instead of muscles, our bodies end up looking and feeling more proportional, athletic, capable and generally magnificent than if we trained ourselves like a Frankenstein monster made of body parts.

We earn new levels by mastering previous levels. There is no such thing as variety for entertainment's sake. Every exercise has a definite purpose. At KBA there is a clear progression in skills, strength, level of adherence and fitness. You will set goals and you will be assisted to reach them, in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. And yes, you will have a blast doing it too. 

KBA workouts are optimally balanced over time, i.e. you will get functional and proportional development of all muscle groups and energy systems. I.e. you will get strength, fitness and flexibility, as well as prevent injuries and create great posture.

KBA coaches are extremely vigilant in regards to correct form, irrespective of anything else. Form is king.

Q: While I want to get leaner, I don't want to get too muscular and bulky from all the resistance training. Will Kettlebell Academy help me avoid that?

A: Yes, all the women who have trained with KBA only gained strength, tone and fitness and have not put on any unwanted muscle bulk.

You need lean muscle in order to keep your metabolism up and keep burning fat even as you sleep, however you won't get too muscular with kettlebell training. Lean, athletic and sexy - yes. Too muscular - no. 

Q: I've got a weak lower back and my physio told me to avoid kettlebells.

A: Kettlebells when used properly are one of the best tools for improving back problems.

If your back pain is fresh and acute (i.e. a recent injury) you indeed must rest it. However if it is an old, chronic or recurring issue, then KBA protocol of both kettlebell and bodyweight exercises would be one of the best things for it.

The Kettlebell swing, RDL, TGU to name but a few exercises, have been proven to significantly alleviate back pain by reversing the 'gluteal amnesia". They teach you to engage your posterior chain (gluteal muscles (bum), hamstrings, core and upper back) when extending your hips and force them to get strong so that they work the way they are meant to. This takes the load off culprit muscles such as the hip flexors and lower back extensors and fixes postural issues and lower back injuries.

Kettlebells, however, must be taught by an experienced and skilled coach. When coached incorrectly they can hurt you, just like any other fitness tool can.

Q: What kettlebell weight should I start with?

A: Because kettlebell exercises use the whole body rather than just a few isolated muscles you will be surprised at how much more weight you can lift than usual.

Women should begin with a set of 1x8kg and 1x12kg. You will later purchase 1x16kg kettlebell and maybe even 1x20kg after a couple of years training.

Men will start with 1x12kg and 1x16kg. You will later purchase 1x20kg or 1x24kg kettlebell and maybe even a 32kg in a couple of years.

Q: My main goal is fat loss, where should I start?

A: Kettlebell workouts, when performed correctly, use 100’s of muscles at a time and so not only burn lots of calories during the workout but also condition the muscles of the body increasing your metabolic rate. Kettlebell swing is king of fat loss. Fundamentals Course is the best place to learn it, not only will it teach you how to properly and safely engage maximum amounts of muscle and burn fat but it’s the perfect springboard into more advanced exercises and routines.

e also recommend you start tracking your food and drink intake by keeping a diary or journal. No amount of exercise will overcome a bad diet.

Q: How long will it take to see results?

A: If your main goal is fat loss then you will need to clean up your diet. No amount of exercise can compete with 21 bad meals per week.

Kettlebell training when performed correctly will increase muscle tone thus increasing your metabolic rate, improve your cardio and mobility, and burn a lot of calories. With a good diet and sensible kettlebell training program you will start to see results in 21 days. Check out VIP Fundamentals pack or inquire about  our Nutrition Analysis & Counselling service to get you started.

Q: How often should I workout?

A: Kettlebell Training is intense. Most exercises use the whole body and over 600 muscles at a time. Workouts should be kept short and repeated often. So a regular schedule may include a 15-20 minute workout 4 times per week.

Q: What does a good beginners routine look like?

All beginners start off by mastering the Kettlebell Swing. The Swing is a full body exercise that will deliver more results than any other exercise. Here’s an example workout:

  • 5 rounds = 10minutes total
  • Two Handed Swing x 20 seconds
  • Rest x 40 seconds
  • Plank x 20 seconds
  • Rest x 40 seconds
  • The following week increase swings and planks to 30 seconds each and decrease rests to 30 seconds
  • The week after that increase swings and planks to 40 seconds each and rests to 20 seconds
  • The next week increase Kettlebell weight, move to the more challenging plank progression, and go back to 20 seconds WORK and 40 seconds REST protocol
  • Rinse and repeat

 

Q: What does an advanced routine look like?

More advanced kettlebellers will do circuits directed at different movement patterns, for example:

Compete 2 rounds of each exercise before progressing to the next one = 19min total

  • Alternating Clean & Jerk  x 60 secs 
  • 60 secs rest
  • Alternating Cossac Squat x 60 secs
  • 60 secs rest
  • Reset Row x 60 secs
  • 60 secs rest
  • Figure 8 to Hold x 60 secs
  • 60 secs rest
  • Two-hand Swing x 60 secs
  • 60 secs rest

 

Q: Why is The Turkish Get Up so difficult?

A: The Get Up is the most multi-planar exercise out there. It  puts your body through a vast number of challenging movements, all while there is a heavy ball of iron hanging over your head. Of course it is difficult!

If it was easy, it couldn't possibly be the perfect full body exercise and the one we would recommend you do until the end of your days. It not only mobilizes all of your joints but teaches your body to work together as one especially integrating your core muscles with your limbs.

You learn and practice the GetUp during the Fundamentals sessions. Every student (unless they have severe movement restrictions) can confidently perform the Get Up by themselves at home after completing the Fundamentals course.

You should be able to Get Up with the same weight that you can one-arm swing for 30 seconds. If you cannot then you must practice because you lack certain stability and mobility that could prevent you from future injuries.

Q: Do I need my computer to access the Kettlebell Academy Online Coaching Platform

A: No, while it is also available from your computer, you only need your phone to access the Coaching Platform.

Kettlebell Academy Online is an app available from Apple Store and Google Play. You simply download it onto your phone and all your training plans, workouts, videos and features are available from there. Most students never use the desktop version. 

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Useful Resources and Links

These are articles that received wide appreciation on our facebook page as well as links that we think you might find useful. We'll keep adding more.

Scott Iardella - RDella Training - Scott is a great coach and writer and hsi articles are illuminating, inspiring and educational. 

Kettlebell Workouts with Chris Lopez - Chris is a certified SFG instructor and a dedicated writer, coach, and family man.

A comprehensive guide to Self-Coaching - a great post on how to coach yourself to success.

The Definitive Guide to Kettlebell and Bodyweight Training for the Busy Professional - a post by Alex Salkin (the Hebrew Hammer) that we find both hilarious and amazingly instructive.

Precision Nutrition Infographics Archive - this is a one stop shop for all your nutrition questions. It full of amazing tools and insights for transforming your health and life. We provide Certified Precision Nutrition coaching at Kettlebell Academy, so if you like what you read and would like to get coached to ultimate health, ask your KBA trainer about Precision Nutrition Coaching.