Build Explosive Power with Kettlebells

Utilize kettlebells to build explosive power.  Functional kettlebell training is beneficial for all athletes to increase cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness. Equally important, functional kettlebell training develops explosiveness. Most sports require short bursts of explosive power and kettlebell training delivers that necessity.

Characteristics of kettlebell exercises include large functional movements, multi-joint exercises, momentum, high repetitions, perfect technique and short rest between sets. Spine, core, hip and gluteal muscles contract during kettlebell training to stabilize the body. Strength in these areas is vital for explosive strength. Kettlebell exercises such as swings, power cleans, high pulls, snatches, push presses and anchor squats originate with a powerful contraction of the hips, glutes and thighs. These fundamental exercises are the basis of a well-rounded kettlebell training routine.

Functional kettlebell exercises require major muscle groups to work in unison. Full body strength and explosiveness is developed as the body is trained as one synergistic unit

Learn correct technique from a knowledgeable kettlebell trainer. Proper form is essential for maximum results and injury prevention. Once you’ve perfected your technique begin to increase the weight. Incorporate short rest periods between sets and keep you reps between 15 and 50. Exhale while raising the weight and inhale while lowering the weight. Noticeable improvements in explosiveness, stability, strength and cardiovascular fitness will develop quickly.

Anchor Squats: Begin your workout with several warm-up sets of anchor squats. Bring blood flow to your back, hips, glutes and thighs with this simple exercise. Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of you at arm’s length. Squat down as if sitting down onto a chair, keep your knees in line with your feet, hold your spine straight, maintain a level pelvis and retract your shoulder blades toward each other. Keep the weight light and reps high to better prepare your body for your workout.

Double Arm Swings: Numerous variations of kettlebell swings exist. Start with double arm swings then advance to alternating single arm swings, uneven suitcase swings and jumping double arm swings. Double arm swings develop the entire posterior chain along with the anterior hips and thighs. Begin each repetition with an explosive contraction of the hip flexors to raise the weight and start the needed momentum. As the set continues the momentum increases and muscle contractions become stronger. Keep your neck in line with your spine and breathe correctly.

Single Arm Swings: Single arm swings are executed in an identical manner as double arm swings with one exception. The bell is held in one arm. You have the option of alternating hands after each repetition or performing the set with one hand then switching sides. If you choose to alternate arms switch hands when the bell is at its highest point. Swing your empty arm out to the side and outside of your legs to avoid hitting it with the bell.

Jumping Double Arm Swings: Perform jumping double arm swings just as they sound. Jump forward as you raise the bell. Jumping swings stress the calf muscles more than other kettlebell exercise. This coordinated exercise increases jumping and forward thrusting ability by combining double arm swings with the broad jump.

Suitcase Swings: Uneven suitcase swings build balance and explosive power simultaneously. The name describes it perfectly, picture yourself swinging two suitcases of disproportionate weight. Stand with your feet close together and hold a different weighted kettlebell in each hand. Squat down and explode the weights upwards in a circular motion with your hips, thighs and shoulders. To maintain balanced side to side and front to back the core muscles will be working hard. After you’ve completed your desired number of reps switch hands so the heavier weight is in the opposite hand and perform a second set. Besides building hip and core strength, this exercise makes your serratus anterior and gripping muscles burn like mad.

High Pulls: A combination of squats and upright rows, high pulls, can be executed doubled or single handed. Raise the weight with control and tenacity to build power in your squatting and upper back muscles. Hold your elbows higher than your wrists and maintain your neck in line with your spine.

Power Cleans: Kettlebell power cleans can be performed in an alternating manner or one arm at a time. This exercise emphasizes the upper and middle back musculature while simultaneously developing the squatting muscles. Master your technique in this complicated movement before increasing the resistance. After perfecting your form, your strength and explosiveness gains will be apparent.

Power Clean Push Presses: Power clean push presses work a larger number of muscles concurrently than most exercises. The muscles of the spine, pelvis, hips, thighs, core, upper back and shoulders are stressed during the power clean push press. The power clean aspect combined with the overhead pushing action builds power, balance and explosiveness. Single overhead pressing actions develop stability in the core, ribcage and rotator cuff.

Correct technique is essential and must be mastered in all kettlebell exercises. Incorporate perfect technique and add these functional kettlebell exercises to your strength training and watch your aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness and explosiveness go through the roof.

Dr Donald A Ozello DC of Championship Chiropractic in Las Vegas, NV

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**Disclaimer: Always consult a medical professional before beginning an exercise program. Always work within your capabilities. Never perform an exercise that elicits or increases pain or symptoms. Reading this article and viewing the linked videos does not take the place of seeing a medical professional. Please visit a medical professional for evaluation, diagnosis & treatment.

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