Kettlebell Question and Answers

Kettlebells can get you fit, lean, and ready for anything, but what's the history behind the bell? 

Kettlebell lifting, as it’s evolved in Eastern Europe over decades, is about moving an ergonomically designed, pro-grade kettlebell (yes, there is a big difference) with control and fluidity in high-repetition, timed sequences, utilizing exercises such as the Jerk, Snatch and Long Cycle. Building expertise in these core lifts that feature full body dynamic movement, is what is responsible for the monumental gains in strength, endurance, timing and explosive force generation enjoyed by just about every kettlebell lifter. Anything else has been born in the USA within the last ten years, and has not really proven itself to get the same level of results.

At my kettlebell gym on Long Island, I regularly adapt and modify this proven, decades-old system for the average American, whether for health, fitness, weight loss or performance, always using the same highly evolved technique and movement patterns that have been perfected by thousands of Eastern European athletes over millions of repetitions. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. It’s been done. As a new Kettlebell Fitness Athlete in the 21st century, you have the luxury of just getting in and taking off. 

What is a Kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a round metal object with a U shaped handle that previously functioned as a counter weight for a market scale. Various accounts conflict, but the kettlebell may be centuries old. In Russia and Eastern Europe, kettlebell lifting is a competitive sport, with competitions held around the world. Recently, kettlebell lifting has found it’s way into the United States with the foundation of the American Kettlebell Club by world champion lifter Valery Fedorenko. Today, many people lift kettlebells, but few have actually mastered the unique movement patterns necessary to fluidly work in exercises such as the Jerk, Snatch, and Long Cycle that is commonly displayed in Russia.

Why use a kettlebell for fitness?
We run, we lift. Imagine doing both at the same time. That’s kettlebell lifting. In order to make that happen, any new kettlebell fitness lifter needs to learn some basic skills that will keep him or her safe and moving forward.

When moving a kettlebell, the entire body is called into play from the ground up. Feet, ankles, calves flex. Knees, quads, hamstrings, glutes spring into action. The core stabilizes with the shoulders, back, and arms. Your heart pounds in your chest, as you struggle to keep the breath under control. Timing and coordination are vital as you learn to maximize force and move WITH the bell, demonstrating perfect efficiency.

What is different about your kettlebell, kettlebell lifting?

Our lifing, the methodology we employ every day at AKC Fitness LI, is based on decades old, proven technique. Proven movement patterns and skills passed from master coach to high level athlete are utilized. This allows a greater level of intensities to be gradually reached with a very low chance of injury. The system is completely quantifiable, that is it lends itself to a slow, controlled, steady progression that allows the lifter to acclimate over time, fostering almost super human gains in strength and endurance, but without the dreadful injuries associated with most intense exercise.

How will kettlebell lifting, kettlebell fitness, change your body?
The Russians express it as, “getting the goo out”, but mega-high-rep kettlebell sets burn intra-muscular fat like nothing else, while strengthening muscles as well as having a profound impact on the health of joints and strength of connective tissue.  The continuous core stabilization demands build strong abs, glutes and hips, something most Americans need. Using the legs as prime movers is a big part of efficient lifting, so there’s never a shortage of functional leg work. From head to to, inside and out, your body is safely pushed to its limits with ever increasing kettlebell fitness training.

Can you lose weight with kettlebells?
At 1200 calories an hour, it’s easy to see how kettlebell fitness will help just about anybody lose weight. A recent study conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that the kettlebell snatch, a mainstay of our protocols, burns up to 20 calories per minute, more than weight lifting or running. When approached properly, kettlebell fitness can quickly impose a huge caloric demand on just about any individual. Our experience in the gym with many different lifters backs this up.

How can kettlebells help athletes, firefighters?

Performance gains with kettlebell lifting is almost off the chart. Looking better is purely a side-effect of what this amazing tool truly was designed to achieve. Gains in raw strength and android endurance is legendary amongst top lifters, but achievable (at a more human level) for almost anyone. I see repeated examples of men and women doubling and tripling their strength and endurance in a matter of months. We're talking about real life, functional strength and endurance, not something that's measured while lying flat on a bench, or strapped into a machine.

That’s not to mention the gains in flexibility and mobility that come with genuine lifting. The hips open, the shoulders roll back, and you can move with explosive force. Working for long durations builds huge heart and lung capacity. The kettlebell lifter is truly a well rounded athlete, ready for any sport, or emergency situation.