Got an email the other day from Dennis.
He wanted to know when you give up regular types
of workouts – you know, what’s commonly called
“free weights” – and go strictly KB.
I think it depends on what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
For the average person -
Hold on – lemme define that -
If you’re not physically incapacitated in some way or
an elite professional athlete, then you, like me, my friend
surf the middle of the bell curve.
We, as much as we hate to admit this…
I know, I know, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
But it’s true.
Ok, ok, ok (to quote Leo Getz from Lethal Weapon) – maybe
we’re not average – we’re ABOVE average.
We’re not quite pro-athletes but we’re not the run-of-the-
mill individuals who watch 4 hours of TV a night (average
We know we need to work out.
And to a certain extent we do work out.
And like Dennis who asked that question, we’re always looking
to “sharpen the blade” so-to-speak.
We’re at least “B” students.
The truth is, you don’t HAVE to go full-on KB if you don’t
But the other truth is, the KB does so many things for you
that traditional strength training can’t do for you it’s surprising
that once you get a taste, unless your truly a “barbell guy/gal”
there’s little benefit to using much else.
(And even then, it’s a tough justification because you can’t
pack your barbell in the car, and take it to the park, beach,
I know, I know…
I sound like I drunk the Kool-Aid.
I did in a way.
I was never a big fan of dumbbells. Nor cables. Nor bands.
Nor bodyweight work.
Then I got hurt.
And at one point the only things I could do were upper
body bodyweight work like chins and dips and single
KB work – cleans, snatches, swings, presses.
There’s something pretty amazing about the pendular
action of the KB ballistics that you simply can’t find
with pretty much anything else.
Sure, you can do one-arm work with DBs, but you just
won’t get that full pendular motion.
That bending over and standing up repeatedly activates
your vestibular system, one of the keys to overcoming
your movement compensations and dysfunctions.
No wonder so many people have rehabbed lower
backs on swings.
That’s reason #1 to go full on KB – the ballistics literally
make you stronger from the inside out.
Strength and Conditioning AND mobility AND flexibility
all in the same workout.
Nothing really beats the KB for all-round workout
efficiency (except some advanced OSP work).
You can work your strength, conditioning, mobility, and
flexibility all in the same workout.
(No duh – you just said that jeenius.)
I know, I know – but just think about this -
As you activate your vestibular system with your ballistics,
say, a snatch, you increase your reflexive stability -
Your body’s ability to automatically and subconsciously
anticipate movement, and use the right joints and muscles
involved in that movement at the right time, at the right
That means you can increase your hamstring strength
AND flexibility from reaching back through your legs
on the backswing of swings and / or snatches.
You can also increase your flexibility – your muscles’
length, both at rest and while training from increasing
your reflexive stability.
Pretty cool, eh?
You can get virtually the same benefits from KB training
as you can from Olympic lifting – arguably the greatest
iron sport in the world – strength, speed, power, flexibility -
You can improve your conditioning to near freaky levels
that you can’t do with Olympic lifting because of that
pendular motion we talked about earlier.
(Well that and the ease of technique acquisition and
proficiency that isn’t readily accessible to the “average”
And that’s just not available with most traditional implements
or programming without using multiple implements – like
barbells, dumbbells, etc.
So KB training is just more efficient all round.
Especially when you learn how to use a pair of KBs.
If you’re a guy, imagine how strong you’ll feel – heck, forget
feel – BE – imagine how strong you’ll BE when you can clean +
press a pair of 32s for multiple reps.
Ladies? Strong is the new sexy.
(Seriously, I saw it on a t-shirt, so it must be true, right?)
When you can do reps with a pair of 16s – and this is a
relatively easy accomplishment for most women –
Let’s just say this – as long as you’re not being a “chowhound”
and doing the late night binging or stress eating, you’re
going to look more “toned” than you ever have.
Especially if you’ve fallen prey to that insidious “high reps
light weight to tone” myth.
Every time I hear some “expert” trainer spew that myth I
want to go all “Hulk SMASH!” on them.
I could go on and on about why kettlebells, especially
double KB training can turn average people into above
average men and women.
If you want to surf the right side of the bell curve and
not just “above average” but EXCELLENT, I strongly
encourage you to go “all in” -
To Hell With Mediocrity,