Russian kettlebells (KB) are not for Kens and Barbies who want to look like “a collection of body parts”.
KB’s forge doers’ physiques along the lines of antique statues: broad shoulders with just a hint of pecs, back muscles standing out in bold relief, wiry arms, rugged forearms, a cut midsection, and strong legs without a hint of squat-induced chafing.
Kettlebells melt fat; losing 1% of body fat a week for weeks is not uncommon. If you are overweight, you will lean out. If you are skinny, you will get built up. According to Voropayev (1997) who studied top Russian gireviks, 21.2% increased their bodyweight since taking up kettlebells and 21.2% (the exact same percentage, not a typo), mostly heavyweights, decreased it.
The Russian kettlebell is a powerful tool for fixing your body composition, whichever way it needs fixing. KB exercises train your body to work as the unit it is. Since the brain knows movements and not “muscles” you become more coordinated with KB use. This is also why athletes look different than bodybuilders.
For more information, check out the American Council on Exercise (ACE) study.
Improved Quality of Life
Kettlebell training is the solution to trying to squeeze cardiovascular, resistance, functional AND flexibility training in an already overbooked schedule. KB movements will develop strength, endurance and flexibility at the same time; faster than any other method.
Rapidly Improved Strength
Vinogradov & Lukyanov (1986) found a very high correlation between the results posted in a kettlebell lifting competition and a great range of dissimilar tests: strength, measured with the three powerlifts and grip strength; strength endurance, measured with pullups and parallel bar dips; general endurance, determined by a 1000 meter run; work capacity and balance, measured with special tests.
Voropayev (1983) tested two groups of subjects in pullups, a standing broad jump, a 100m sprint, and a 1k run. He put the control group on a program that emphasized the above tests; the experimental group lifted kettlebells. In spite of the lack of practice on the tested exercises, the kettlebell group scored better in every one of them! This is what we call “the what the hell effect”.
Less Pain & Discomfort
KB’s have a reputation for strengthening backs and abs like nothing else before. The ballistic, but non-impact nature of KB work is the key. You are on your feet the whole time with KB training. It is the perfect antidote to our modern seated society. Only 8.8% of top Russian gireviks, members of the Russian National Team and regional teams, reported injuries in training or competition (Voropayev, 1997). A remarkably low number, especially if you consider that these are elite athletes who push their bodies over the edge.
Many hard men with high mileage have overcome debilitating injuries with kettlebell training (get your doctor’s approval). Acrobat Valentin Dikul fell and broke his back at seventeen. Today, in his mid-sixties, he juggles 180-pound balls and breaks powerlifting records!