April 15, 2012
Are Kettlebells For You?
It is easy to believe that kettlebells are a new workout “toy”, however, they have been around for hundreds of years. They were invented and popularized in Russia. In fact, Kettlebell lifting became the Soviet Union’s national sport in the 1940's. Now the fitness industry has adopted them, making kettlebell training a very popular workout.
Because of the offset center of gravity in a kettlebell, your body must work harder to maintain balance. Correct use involves the leg, hips and core, as well as the arms and shoulders. Unfortunately, I seem them misused more often than not. Most people treat them as a dumbbell, relying on the arms and shoulders. Since the movements are explosive and the weight is heavy, this leads to arm, back and shoulder injuries.
In most kettlebell exercises, such as the swing, the hips drive the movement. Perform the swing by holding the kettlebell with two hands, then squat and hinge forward from the hips, explode upwards as you swing the kettlebell up and straighten your legs. Keep the wrist in neutral alignment and do not lock your knees. Other exercises, such as the kettlebell side lift (where you bend one knee, lean laterally towards it as you press your arm up) are even more prone to improper mechanics, and should be cautiously approached.
Kettlebell workouts can be an extremely effective way of training the body and core. The intricacies of correct technique can be hard to discern, and a group fitness class is not the best place to learn. Save your joints, and find a reputable trainer to teach you the details of the technique.
Posted by Janet Weller