Kettlebell solutions use momentum, which challenges your muscles differently than traditional strength training. The momentum of the Kettlebell solution challenges your muscles to keep up with the weight as you swing it, which makes them work harder. Since the kettlebell solution requires you to work your muscles in various ways, the joints are also challenged in various ways.
If you go to any commercial gym in America, there is no doubt that it will be filled with countless machines to “work out” on.
Sometimes I wonder why they don’t just melt them down and make more free weights!!!
In this article, I hope to show you how using kettlebells in your workout routine can build strong, healthy joints and a lean, mean body. Let’s start with a little history from a time before crowded mega gyms and fancy fitness machines.
The 60s – Gyms Before Machines
Before 1960 it was uncommon to see a gym stocked with multiple floors full of butt blasting machines, hip adductor machines, and the all too common cardio machines. Why? Back then, most gyms were set up with an open floor, some spotting racks, and an ample supply of free weights and gymnastic equipment.
Because it works!!!
I’m sure you’ve recognized by now that athletes from all sports, notably sprinters, weightlifters, and gymnasts, end up developing spectacular bodies.
Do you think these people spend their time banging away on machines to develop their physical skills and amazing bodies?
I think not.
They forged their amazing physiques and indomitable wills using high-intensity training and were coached to improve themselves on a steady diet of functional exercises consistently. This is the key to change that lasts!
Now, you may be thinking….” But they are athletes and professionals, no doubt; I can’t do that.”
What Can We Learn from Athletes?
Most people separate themselves from athletes and think that, for some reason, they should mimic the latest bomb and blitz muscle pumping routine from Women’s Fitness because, after all, who doesn’t want lean triceps?
Stop right there because all the women in the magazine are paid models or trainers; their job is to convince you to use a particular machine, gym, or supplement.
When was the last time your friend Mary down the street, saw awesome results with her daily dose of crunches and tricep kickbacks?
My bet is never!
My point is that whether you are an athlete or a mother of 4, since we all move the same way, why should we opt to train differently? Don’t we all want to be strong? Of course, we all want to be thin. Don’t we all want to feel capable and confident? I know I do, so we should always focus on using the best exercises that have been tried and tested to produce the greatest results quickly and safely.
Machines versus Free Weight – What Does the Research Say?
Still not convinced? You don’t have to take it from me.
A study that compared free weights to weight machines was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning (2008 Jan, 22(1):75-81). The researchers assembled three control groups: one group participated in free weight training, one participated in machine training, and another did not exercise at all. All groups were told to keep their diets the same, making nutrition irrelevant. All groups exercised the same muscle groups in the same order with the same progression. At the end, who came out as the victor?
What do you think?
The weight machine group had improved their strength by 57%, while the free weight group had improved their strength by a whopping 115%.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take double the results in the same amount of time any day.
Not only that but balance improved by 245% in the free weight group versus a minuscule 45% in the machine group.
And if we know anything about balance, an asymmetrically developed body with good balance is an injury-proof body. And if that’s not enough, we can take one more thing from this study.
WOW!! The free weight and machine group participants that entered the study with notable joint pain kept track of the level of discomfort that the pain caused. The free weight group experienced a 30% reduction in their joint pain, while the entire machine group, whether they had pain or not, experienced a 111% increase in joint pain.
Do yourself a favor and get your butt off those machines before you become a statistic; you should avoid machines like the plague!!!
Get on some functional equipment, i.e., kettlebells, jump ropes, rings, bodyweight, etc., and follow a well-designed training program that emphasizes compound movements and proper technique to start your journey to a better you today.
Free Weights & Kettlebells
So if free weights are the obvious choice for building strong joints and a lean, mean body, why should you use a kettlebell solution?
In the next few paragraphs, I will show you why kettlebells are perhaps the best type of free-weight to build a strong, resilient body.
First, the kettlebell differs from the dumbbell and barbell because of its off-center of gravity. This proves harder to control especially when performing ballistic exercises. Secondly, we designed the kettlebell primarily with ballistic exercises, making it a perfect tool for beginners to learn things like cleans, jerks, and snatches.
Many modern fitness trends recommend slow rep cadences; 2 up, three down, or one up, two down. Although there isn’t a problem with training this way, will it get you or your clients the best results possible?
Again, I don’t think so.
Let’s look at our body’s reaction to movement patterns in daily life. If somebody told you that the best way to stay 100% safe was to move slowly, wouldn’t that prevent you from doing so many common movements necessary to have a happy and active life?
Try this Test
Please stand up and try this seriously before you read any further. Please stand up and give me your best high jump at a 2-second up, 3-second downtempo.
Did you make it?
If you did, you are either a flying monk or Superman; if you didn’t, you see my point. To operate in daily life, we must jump, run, throw and lift aggressively. So why do we want to train our bodies to move slowly and sluggishly intentionally? Are we doing Tai Chi? Are we a tortoise? NO!
You train the same way that you move in daily life. This enables you to PREVENT, NOT CAUSE, injuries associated with training using momentum.
The fitness industry has a common law called the SAID Principle
SAID is an acronym for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.
What does that mean, and why do I care?
You only get better at the activity that you practice. Understanding this, we should conclude that training only makes us better at moving slowly. Conversely, training with momentum in foundational movement patterns will make your life easier and make those movements stronger and safer. Controlling momentum and deceleration will spill over into your daily life, making you feel strong, resilient, confident, and not to mention the continued energy burn post-exercise, BONUS!
Why Are Kettlebell Solution Exercises Good For Healthy Joints?
Stronger, more powerful muscles are a great tool to support healthy joints and protect them from injury. Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture, improve your ability to move, and protect your lower back from injury. Kettlebell exercises are great for healthy joints because they make you work your muscles to fatigue. This causes microtears in your muscles, which your body then repairs by increasing the size and strength of those muscles.
Let’s take the granddaddy of all kettlebell solution drills, the swing, as an example.
Swings, which are almost a momentum-based exercise, can teach people to pick anything up off the ground properly, properly use the hips to accelerate weight with a stable spine, and properly slow down or redirect movement that would usually come to an abrupt stop.
One of the most common ways for people to injure themselves is by movement having to come to a complete stop abruptly. By practicing many of the most popular functional fitness drills, including kettlebell swings and push presses, you will be training your body to absorb shock better and redirect momentum, thus allowing you to become safer, stronger, and faster.
This leads to rapid exhaustion because your quads are sucking up the oxygen.
Cody Bramlett is a kettlebell fat loss expert with over seven years of experience training clients with kettlebells. Before starting his gym and creating his online programs, he was one of the top trainers at the first kettlebell gym in the United States. Cody is an RKC instructor who is FMS certified, Yoga Alliance certified, and Z Health certified. He holds a BS in Business Management from San Diego State University.