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Kettlebell Training And Strength

I was recently reading the article titled “The role of kettlebells in strength and conditioning: A review of the literature” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2014 and thought I would highlight some of the key take home messages from the article.  Kettlebells are often used to various levels in the world of strength and conditioning, some who use kettlebells exclusively and some who will integrate the use of them into their program as part of their strength and conditioning program.  From my perspective as an osteopath who works with both injured clients and those looking to improve strength and conditioning, I love kettlebells as they can be used in a myriad of ways in an individuals road from injury to return to play.

Key messages takes from the article:

  • Individuals performing Pavel Tsatouline’s program minimum protocol (16kg kettlebells for men > 70kg, 12kg for men <70kg) showed an improvement in maximum and explosive strength.  This differed to another program where individuals used lighter kettlebells (males 12kg and females 8kg) which showed no significant improvement in the counter movement jump height that they were testing.  Therefore it is was discussed that perhaps the weight of the kettlebell used may have contributed greatly to those who did show an improvement.
  • 4 of the 5 studies reviewed showed an improvement in strength measures as a result of kettlebell training.
  • 3 of the 4 studies that looked at power production showed that kettlebell training can help improve power.
  • At the time this article was published, only one study had investigated the effect of a kettlebell program on aerobic fitness and found there was no measurable effect.
  • 3 studies had investigated oxygen cost and heart rate response during kettlebell training compared to treadmill running.  The general consensus was that oxygen consumption during kettlebell workouts were less that that of treadmill running at similar intensities.   What they did find though was that heart rate response was similar in kettlebell training to that of treadmill running.
  • There are two main types of kettlebell swings (hip dominant hip hinge swing and a squat swing).
  • Hip dominant kettlebell swings have applications to activities and sports where hip extension is required to product horizontal propulsion.
  • Kettlebell swings seem to activate the medial hamstrings greater than the lateral hamstrings in comparison to other hamstring exercises.
  • Kettlebell swings using a hip dominant swing pattern may be useful for strength the hasmtrings at sport specific needs and in a stretch-shortening cycle pattern.
  • Kettlebell swings product greatest hamstring activity in high degrees of hip flexion which is different to other exercises such as nordic hamstring curls.
  • Kettlebell swings create peak gluteal activation at a point near full hip extension.
  • Kettlebell swings using moderate loads produce a similar power output to jump squats with conventional training loads.
  • To date there has been a limited number of studies using kettlebells and many have used low load kettlebells of only up to 32kg.  Whilst this is the case, those that have shown improvements in power and strength.

For those that would like to read the full article, please click here to purchase it.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams at Principle Four Osteopathy.  At Principle Four Osteopath we provide a range of services, including osteopathy manual therapy consultations, functional movement screening, exercise prescription, strength and conditioning and rehabilitation.

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD and Docklands leading osteopathy clinics.  Both clinics are equipped with training equipment so that we are able to get you actively involved and moving towards a better moving you.

Principle Four Osteopathy CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place, Melbourne 3000.

Principle Four Osteopathy Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St, Docklands, 3008.

Book an appointment online at www.principlefourosteopathy.com or call 03 9670 9290.