Though simple in design, hundreds of years old and made for counterbalancing grain harvest scales, the kettlebell offers benefits to those who want to build muscle and enhance their cardiovascular
system – fast.
Often endearingly described as a cannonball with a handle, the kettlebell offers unique training benefits by engaging the entire body in exercises such as the swing and the clean-and-press, along with more than 300 other work-outs.
The kettlebell not only works the body’s main muscle groups, but can be very cardiovascular intensive as well, all the while enhancing dexterity and balance.
Kettlebell training is a total workout. Along with overall body training and cardio benefits, it also helps with recovery time by increaseing blood flow to the muscles, which in turn increases oxygen. The kettlebell also offers advantages through its unique weight distribution – with a handle that lowers the center of gravity for the weight, engaging muscles to work harder. This feature trains muscles to fire at a much quicker rate.
And the training can be done in just twenty minutes a day, three times per week.
Kettlebells offer a more functional workout, adding gains in strength, balance and stability. Another benefit for Marines is improvement in Physical and Combat Fitness Test scores. Excercises such as the full snatch and full arm swing are just two that can get Marines on the road to improving their personal records.
The kettlebell can also be incorporated into unit physical training. It can be used as a tool for warming up before runs or any routine exercise. A unit might choose to run three days a week, then do a 20 minute kettlebell circuit three times the next week. The change in routine could save time and give Marines a solid strength and cardio workout.
Though the kettlebell is a useful tool in fitness, using proper techniques and warming-up before a heavy workout are vital to stave off injury. Many excercises consist of explosive movements, which means muscles should be adequately warmed-up and ready to handle the added tension.
“If you don’t properly warm up and stretch before working out, you can really mess yourself up,” said Raymond Anderson, a personal trainer aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC. “Warming up with a light cardio workout and stretch is a good way to get blood flowing.”
Not only is the kettlebell versatile, it covers all bases when it comes to training a warrior athlete. Working the arms, legs, core and cardiovascular system, it’s a viable way to help anyone improve their overall physical strength and endurance.
“I’d like to see more Marines using the kettlebells,” said Anderson. “It’s an all around great tool for helping them train like professional athletes.”