Functional Kettlebell Training

Improve your body composition with functional kettlebell training. Build muscle, burn fat and strengthen the core simultaneously with kettlebell training.

Achieve the fastest results with multi-joint exercises. Large functional multi-joint movements are the foundation of kettlebell training. Functional motions recruit multiple muscle groups synergistically. Positive effects accumulate with the employment of multi-joint exercises.     

Demand: Multi-joint exercises allow for the use of heavier weights. Strength and hypertrophy develop when higher demand is placed on muscles. Enhance your strength by using greater workloads during kettlebell training.

Technique: Proper technique is imperative in kettlebell training. Learn correct technique from a qualified professional. Begin with light weight before increasing demand. Once flawless technique is mastered increase workout intensity. The transition to heavier weights should be gradual, calculated and monitored closely.

EPOC: Increase your Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) with short intense training sessions. EPOC, nicknamed the afterburn, occurs because of increased metabolism and caloric consumption after intense exercise. Following exercise the body continues to require oxygen at higher levels than it required prior to training.

Intense anaerobic training produces positive results long after training is completed. The physiological afterburn following a tough exercise session increases calorie expenditure. Increase your fat loss with high intensity, short duration kettlebell workouts.

Kinetic Chain: Training multiple muscle groups simultaneously targets the smaller assisting and stabilizing muscles. Functional movements force recruitment of the lesser developed muscles in the kinetic chain. Employment of multi-joint kettlebell exercises places greater demand on the weakest link in the chain. Functional kettlebell training develops strength where it is needed most.

Fundamentals: Burn calories and lose fat with kettlebell training. Intense workouts of short duration burn fat. Components of functional kettlebell training include multi-joint functional movements, high repetitions and short rest periods between sets. This unique combination builds aerobic and anaerobic fitness simultaneously.

Multi-joint exercises develop coordination, balance and explosiveness. Ballistic movements require large amounts of energy and burn calories.

Core Training: Train your core with every kettlebell exercise. Even if not directly targeted, the core muscles engage to stabilize the body during multi-joint exercises. The abdominal and spinal muscles benefit a large amount from functional kettlebell exercises.

Ballistic Movements and Grinds: Develop your core muscles while burning calories. Kettlebell training consists of two types of exercises, ballistic multi-joint exercises and slower controlled movements, nicknamed grinds. Most barbell and dumbbell exercises can be modified to be performed with a kettlebell.

Compose a training program that includes both types of lifts for optimum results. Execute the ballistic movements first then do the grinds to stress specific muscle groups. Fundamental multi-joint kettlebell exercises such as swings, cleans and the snatch tax a large number of muscle groups simultaneously.

Basic kettlebell exercises recruit the core muscles to assist the primary movers and stabilize the body during each rep. The abdominal muscles will be stressed thoroughly during these three fundamental lifts.

Add specific exercises for the core to increase strength and stability.

Kettlebells Sit-ups: Target the rectus abdominis with kettlebell sit-ups. Flawless technique is essential to protect the spine and maximize results. Begin with no weight or a very light bell to perfect your form. Increase weight in small increments.

Lie supine with the hips and knees flexed. Both feet should be flat on the floor. Secure your grip on the kettlebell with you thumbs wrapped in the handle and your palms and fingers firmly holding the body. Hold the bell above your chest with straight arms but don’t lock your elbows. Do not hold the bell above your face.

Focus on your abdominals and raise your upper body upward and toward your feet. Lower yourself in a controlled manner. Momentum is not part of a proper sit-up. Move in a slow controlled fashion. Advanced trainees can hold the kettlebell in one hand or utilize a frog leg stance.

Suitcase Swings: Strengthen your serratus anterior with suitcase swings. Stand in good posture with your feet facing forward and spaced two to three inches apart. Firmly grasp a kettlebell by the handle in each hand with your thumbs facing forward. New trainees should use light weights of equal amount. Advanced trainees can utilize heavier and slightly unbalanced weights.

Inhale and squat down as if sitting into a chair. Simultaneously swing your arms backwards. Exhale, swing your arms forward and explode out of the bottom position to a standing position. Raise your arms parallel to the floor then return to the starting position. Build bulging serratus anterior muscles with kettlebell suitcase swings.

Woodchopper Lunges: Create a strong core with woodchopper lunges. Practice your technique with no weight until your movement is seamless. Stand with your feet six inches apart and facing forward.

Hold the kettlebell with both hands in the rack position on the right shoulder. Lunge with your left foot forward. Turn your body to the left and swing the kettlebell down to your left side. Follow the bell with your eyes to ensure quality movement.

Exhale, push with your left heel, swing the weight upward across your body and return to the starting position. Execute the desired number of repetitions then repeat with the opposite side. Strengthen the rectus abdominis, serratus anterior, external obliques and intercostals with woodchopper lunges.

Conclusion: Utilize functional kettlebell training to accomplish your health and fitness goals. Develop a challenging routine around the fundamental exercises to improve your body composition. Utilize ballistic movements and slow controlled exercises for best results. Burn fat, build muscles and develop core strength all at once with kettlebell training.

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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