The Kettlebell is a very versatile tool for all aspects of fitness. While most view the kettlebell as a mobility and conditioning tool, it can also be used for building functional (helping with everyday and sports related activities) and overall (assisting with barbell and strongman activities) strength and power. When it comes to the hip hinge, there is no better tool for strength and dynamic resistance. The same can be said for the functional squat, but the barbell cannot be beat when it comes to pure strength.
Here I cover many of the basics of the kettlebell training for both. Every one of these techniques can be used within any program from body weight to barbell. I usually mix and match modalities to build functional strength with every tool available. The benefit I have found in this is unconventional training is that my clients and I build strength and power throughout multiple planes and ranges of motion.
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One of my favorite gym memories steams from a conversation I had with my first coach, TB. I worked with TB for my Teen Bodybuilding Competition in 2005. He was one of those old school bodybuilders that had no use for new techniques or equipment. He barely touched the machines and maintained the same training schedule for as long as I knew him. He was also a short mountain of muscle and a regular competitor in back in his heyday. We constantly talked trash and joked around while we were lifting. As usual we got on the topic of the Upper Body Gymrats that were lifting beside us. I asked, “So Coach, how many days a week can you do arms and chest?” He just laughed and said, “Apparently five or six!” He then followed up with, “International Chest day is Monday. International Leg Day is someday.” It’s only funny because it’s true.
ACSM Certified Fitness Professional