|2015 may offer a chance to get spice up your routine with kettlebells.|
Those of you who know me are probably aware that I am not a fan of kettle bells, but I am true to the motto of being open to good scientific evidence, like the one from the previously cited review by Girard et al. (2014).
Speaking of which, the previously cited review found only five studies satisfied the eligibility criteria and were included in this review. The populations studied age range was 18–72 years old. Methodological scores based on the PEDro scale ranged from 3 to 7 out of 10. In those studies, ...
[k]ettlebell training demonstrated improvements for a number of strength measures: time 6 group for bench press ( P < 0.05) and back extension (P = 0.053), main effect for clean and jerk (P < 0.05) and certain power measures such as improved explosive strength comparable to a jump squat control (19.8% increase). Improved postural control was demonstrated in one study (P = 0.04)" (Girard. 2014).What the kettlebells did not do in any of the five studies by Otto et al. (2012), Manoccia et al. (2013), Lake et al. (2012) and Jay et al. (2011 & 2013) was to have an effect on aerobic endurance as measured by VO2 Max.
|Original photos from the study by McGill et al. (2014).|
According to McGill et al. (2014) the "message for coaches is" that the kettlebell offers "several unique training opportunities", for example (a) the opportunity to train rapid muscle contraction-relaxation cycles emphasizing posterior chain power development about the hip. However, the large shear to compression load ratio on the lumbar spine created during swing exercises suggests that this training approach may be contraindicated for some individuals with spine shear load intolerance and (b) enhanced activation of the core musculature during the bottoms-up carry.
Kettlebell, weights, or ergometer, you have to work your ass off to make progress!
That's much in contrast to Fortner et al. (2014) who had their 14 young (18-25y), non-obese volunteers train three times a week for 8 weeks with 4.5kg and 8kg kettlebells for the female and male subjects, respectively in a "tabata style", i.e. at a twenty-second work to ten-second rest ratio and compared the VO2 response to a traditional protocol, consisting of four sets of work separated by ninety seconds of rest.
|Figure 2: Energy expenditure during two-hand kettlebell exercise and graded treadmill walking (Thomas. 2014).|
A comparison with treadmill walking is yet not enough to confirm that kettlebell training is also superior to "regular" HIIT training. Personally, I suspect it isn't but it's at least a good way to diversify your training routines and create a new exercise stimulus that may even help you break through a plateau.
- Falatic, Jonathan Asher. "The effects of kettlebell training on aerobic capacity." San José state University (2011).
- Fortner, Howard A., et al. "Cardiovascular and metabolic demands of the kettlebell swing using a Tabata interval versus a traditional resistance protocol." International Journal of Exercise Science 7.3 (2014): 2.
- Greenwald, Samantha Leigh. The impact of an acute bout of kettlebell exercise on glucose tolerance in sedentary males. Diss. State University of New York at Buffalo, 2014.
- Jay, Kenneth, et al. "Kettlebell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial." Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health (2011): 196-203.
- Jay, Kenneth, et al. "Effects of kettlebell training on postural coordination and jump performance: a randomized controlled trial." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 27.5 (2013): 1202-1209.
- Lake, Jason P., and Mike A. Lauder. "Mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 26.12 (2012): 3209-3216.
- Manocchia, Pasquale, et al. "Transference of kettlebell training to strength, power, and endurance." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 27.2 (2013): 477-484.
- McGill, Stuart M., and Leigh W. Marshall. "Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 26.1 (2012): 16-27.
- Otto III, William H., et al. "Effects of weightlifting vs. kettlebell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 26.5 (2012): 1199-1202.
- Thomas, James F., et al. "Comparison of Two-Hand Kettlebell Exercise and Graded Treadmill Walking: Effectiveness as a Stimulus for Cardiorespiratory Fitness." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.4 (2014): 998-1006.