Kettlebells, They Hurt So Good

How long will it be before science catches up to reality? Let's hope we can hasten the process by showing the world what proper kettlebell training, with coached technique, can do. There's volumes written about VO2 Max, cardio output, the Krebs cycle, contractile proteins, fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, etc. etc. - all fascinating sciences in there own right.

However, there's no purely scientific explanation for what timed sets at high rep ranges can do - yet! Edward, a 62 year old Latvian impressed everybody at the last kettlebell competition in Miami with 200 snatches with a 53 pound kettlebell. A fellow AKC coach, and man who gets all of my respect, Ken Love, at age 67 did a 14 minute non-stop set. That's real fitness... healthy, usable, measurable fitness. No joint aches, no injuries, just pure acclimation to the task at hand.

Why do kettlebells work? I wouldn't dare try to explain the process scientifically, but you'd imagine that the heart and lungs would become more efficient doing ten minutes sets, but what is it about "time under the bell" (this is how many lifters refer to a set) that builds so much strength, endurance, work capacity, and resiliency?

The weight is surely submaximal, as the goal is to complete upwards of a hundred reps on some sets. Obviously endurances is gained, but how does this lead to all the other positive effects? The answer may lie in tendon strength, as being under the bell long periods of time seems to build tendon and joint stability as well as pure strength.

For now we'll have to leave the long scientific explanation for another day, but 50 years of anecdotal evidence from Eastern Europe is very convincing. Be comforted by the fact theres plenty of practical common sense behind high reps and timed and paced sets that chip away at intensity with every tick of the clock.

Mike Stefano