Can Kettlebells Build Muscle?

 
 
The question “can kettlebells build muscle” comes up almost weekly.
 
My answer?
 
Yes. End of article.
 
Ok, you might need a little more information than that.
 
Any modality can build muscle as long as there’s progressive intensity and volume combined with a caloric surplus and enough rest to facilitate growth. That goes for bodyweight training, dumbbells, barbells, sandbags, etc. As long as the muscle fibers are stimulated with enough weight for a long enough time you’re golden.
 
So why don’t we see huge kettlebellers?
 
There’s a few reasons here…
  1. Too much ballistic work with not enough weight
  2. Too many circuits that burn too many calories
  3. That’s not the goal for most
When I owned and operated a kettlebell-centric gym do you know how many people came in saying “I want to get huuuuuuuuge!” 
 
I can’t even remember one. 
 
The goals were always I want to...
Continue Reading...

Flow State and Flow Workouts

 

By: Aaron Guyett, M.A., B.S., CSCS, FRCms, FRAs

Education Director and Master Coach 

So many people are talking about flow, and there is an equal amount of people that have zero clue what these flow-people are doing.

Turns out, many of the flow-people are just using yet another term that has been watered down and turned into whatever feels good at the time.

Person 1 - "Check out this flow that I am doing with the kettlebell." (performs cool sequence of fluid and dynamic movements with a kettlebell)

Person 2 - "I am so flowing right now." (Really into a video game)

Person 3 - "I am flowing." (Gives dog a treat...)

Let's break down what flow state is, and then we can begin to see how flow workouts began to exist in the fitness industry and the Gram (as in Instagram).

Flow State is a heightened state of arousal and focus, also know as being in the "zone."

If you have played sports or even been really into a creative craft or competition...you may have experienced flow state.

Let's...

Continue Reading...

5 Single Leg Exercises for Strength and Athleticism

 
The squat, deadlift and Olympic lifts (or weightlifting if you’re a purist) have rightfully taken the spotlight in most training we can’t ignore the fact that single leg work is extremely powerful. 
 
For most trainers unilateral work is what you do during rehabilitation or as some accessory work to your main lift of the day and typically this works. The main problem lies when things become one size fits all and those who really shouldn’t be loading a bar are doing so from the advice from a well-intentioned coach. 
 
Back issues, lower body mobility, and imbalances can all lead to more serious ailments if ignored. Just because you’re going heavier and progressing with the “big lifts” doesn’t mean anything if you’re just becoming a more imbalanced lifter. Unilateral work is not only a way a good way to increase coordination and balance, but also strength while taking the pressure off the old spine.
 
When it...
Continue Reading...

3 Ways to Avoid Kettlebell Injuries

If you train hard and push your body to the limits it’s almost impossible to avoid some form of microtrauma, but being smart about your training and kettlebell training will help you avoid MOST major injuries.
 
Most of the time the overuse of any movement pattern will eventually lead to potential repetitive use injuries. That goes for running, pushups, kettlebells work, or just about anything done with too much volume and intensity. 
 
It’s easy to get a little overzealous with a challenge that has a thousand attached to it. Thousands of swings, snatches, squats, (pick your poison) will definitely get you fitter, but at what cost? With just about everything you do you should be thinking about your athletic longevity. How can you move like an athlete as long as humanly possible. 
 
For me that means avoiding injury and here are three ways I like to assess and incorporate things to help me do just that.
  1. Always look at the Risk/Reward of...
Continue Reading...

What Size Kettlebell?

 
What is a good starting weight for kettlebells?
 
So you’re sold on the idea that kettlebells can make you stronger. Welcome to the club. Now it’s time to pick a bell (or three) to add to your training arsenal. Here is what you should know before getting started with kettlebells.
 
It’s easy to get caught up in the "bigger is better" mentality and want to grab a few heavy bells. The truth is you want to master with full control each weight before moving on to the next. Certain movements will require heavier bells, but others will need almost excessively light ones especially as you start things off. 
 
The first thing you want to take into account is if you have any injuries or issues particularly when it comes to you shoulders, back, wrists, elbows, or hips. These areas tend to get aggravated quickly so you want be careful before trying too much. 
 
If there aren’t any serious pre-existing issues then let’s move onto the...
Continue Reading...

A Kettlebell a Day Keeps the Weakness Away

 
Kettlebells have the uncanny ability of creating a stronger overall connection. They may not be the best for building maximal strength in certain areas compared to a barbell, but as a tool to create awareness, explosive power, connection and structural integrity of your entire system they really can’t be beat.
 
What you get is what you give and your results will be directly correlated to which movements you choose and how often you do them. The kettlebell already offers a set of unique benefits due to the anatomy of the bell. 
 
The offset nature forces more tension and increases the grip work needed which creates more stability through your upper extremities and shoulders. This is without doing anything other than maintaining a racked position (when the kettlebell is nestled between your forearm and bicep). In my opinion this is the best example of what delivers the “odd strength” you get from kettlebells. It’s not just pressing and...
Continue Reading...

3 Ways to Improve Crossfit Results with Kettlebells

crossfit kettlebells May 28, 2019
 
Video above: Kettlebell Flow Demonstration discussed in #3
 
Most athletes play to their strengths and those doing WODs are no exception. Typically the focus is on the same few movements performed in a high intensity format with the goal being to demolish your time or that of your gym buddy. We believe there are some ways that you could incorporate kettlebells into your WODs to improve your all around results. 
 
In recent times many who were staunch Crossfit only athletes have started to evolve adding in active recovery work as well as joint healthy fun. However, as I have witnessed time and time again with many athletes there are still a huge sect of followers who perform the workouts from HQ to a T with little to no deviation or though of improvement. Here are three ways you can incorporate kettlebells into your burpees and double-unders that will make you a more resilient, well-rounded athlete and perform better in your WODs.
 
Kettlebell Addition #1:...
Continue Reading...

3 Tips for Creating Your Own Program

 
The question “How do I put a program together?”  finds its way into my inbox at least a few times a week about kettlebell training. For benefits on kettlebell swings, check out this post!
 
The reality is there are THOUSANDS of programs around (most of these are just variations) and many (not all) of them work extremely well. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience that goes into creating programs and it obviously depends on the level of the user. Since these are typically in the form of Instagram DMs I’m going to assume these aren’t Olympic-level athletes. 
 
With that said, this post is going to help you do one of two things:
 
It’s is going to help you put together a basic program for yourself with kettlebells
 
or
 
It will help you decide on something that's already out there.
 
Here are the three things.
 
1. Know Your Outcome.
The problem with most programs is that they are a generic “one...
Continue Reading...

5 Reasons You Should Be Swinging + Variations

 
When most people think of a kettlebell and what to do with it, the first thing that comes to mind is the swing. For most kettlebell enthusiasts it has become second nature, but to those who have never picked up a kettlebell it definitely looks awkward. Swinging a weight between one’s legs is typically frowned upon in a gym setting.  
 
If you are doing them, great! Here are a few tips on how to get more from swings and if you are not swinging, why you should get started.
 
First of all why should we do them? The swing is a powerful movement that is (fairly) easy to learn with incredible benefits for all levels of athletes. Let us break them down: 

Builds a powerful backside  

Anytime you are in a hinge position (think hips back with straight, but not locked out legs) you are going to be working your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, back). Combine some power behind it and not only are you building elasticity of the musculature, you are also building...
Continue Reading...

5 Reasons to Join Living.Fit

 

A Letter from Your Trainer: 5 Reasons to Join Living.Fit

by Brittany van Schravendijk (in video)

How many times have you seen “expert” fitness professionals selling training programs, protein powders and flat tummy teas on social media and wondered- how do I know if this is real or fake? You might be wondering how Living.Fit is different from all of the noise out there. Why would you choose Living.Fit over other online training programs, and what does living fit actually mean?

Here are 5 reasons why you should join Living.Fit:

1) Empower yourself to make the best health and fitness choices for your unique body.

Unfortunately, most of the fitness industry markets in a way that preys on people’s fears and insecurities in order to drive purchases. Rather than empower people to learn how their bodies work so they can take their health into their own hands, they advocate ONE particular product, training program, or nutrition program that will be the solution to all of...

Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

50% Complete

Just Add Your Email

Add your email to be notified when share more awesome content about kettlebells, battle ropes, leadership and coaching!