My Fitness Journey

Part 14: Investing in Kettlebells

Chris Trophy Kettlebell

I’ve read a lot about kettlebells recently and I’ve had to because I’m a new user. One personal trainer I know highly recommends them, yet one guy on the net says you shouldn’t use them because “anyone can swing them”. Not sure that’s a particularly well thought out reason for not using kettlebells. That’s like saying “don’t buy a car because you can crash them”. Personally, I feel it’s time I invested in some kettlebells to see what the fuss was about.

I know there are negatives to using kettlebells, but there is to dumbbells and barbells and virtually all kinds of exercise. Use them the wrong way and you are going to suffer from quite a severe injury. That might be because of something simple such as on your last “move” you drop your arms down to quick.

Ignore the no pain, no gain crap…  it’s really a case of Don’t Use Your Brain, Feel Lots of Pain.

It’s essential that you maintain a neutral spine when performing certain kettlebell exercises. Keeping a straight line from hips to head is really important unless you like the idea of putting your back out. You see, some people pick up weights and just swing those things around without realising that there is a “way” of lifting them! In fact, it’s about how you grip them too, the way you stand, the way you swing, the way you breathe and a ton of other factors.

You can’t just grab a dumbbell and lift it up; there’s a lot you need to consider. This includes the actual weight itself (in pounds or kilos say)  because the show-offs out there think it’s cool to grab the heaviest weight and swing it around, but that’s plain stupid. The “tempo” in which you perform a move is important because you want it to have the right effect on your muscles. So, squatting down, grabbing a weight and lifting it above your head in one quick second is going to put you out of action for weeks! The speed in which you raise, lower and pause with the weights is a very important factor in terms of success in the weight training world.

Then there’s the rest period in between each set that you perform. Don’t rest enough, and you’re asking for injury. Take too long and your muscles aren’t being pushed to the max which is what you should be aiming for….safely of course.

There are so many other things to consider but I’m not going into great detail here because I haven’t written this post as a tutorial in any way. This is an article in my fitness journey category which describes how I’m progressing with my workouts, but I’ll write some tutorials too, very soon.

I’ve learnt a lot these past few months about the human body; muscles in particular and the way they work. That’s mostly been through my studies which came to an end this week. I now hold a Level 3 Diploma in Fitness: Personal Trainer / Instructor. I think that everybody who uses weights should understand the human body, how it works, especially our muscles. Knowing this will help create a workout that affects the body in the way you intend them to do, whilst minimising the risk of injury. I wish I’d learnt this years ago, especially because I’m now suffering from a horrid hamstring injury which I can’t seem to get rid of. Whilst I’m recovering, I’m focusing on upper body kettlebell exercises only which I’ll describe in detail in my next post.

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