Kettlebell Training For The Everyday Athlete

If we are going to talk about Kettlebells for the “ Everyday Athlete” I think we should kick things off by talking about what other types of athletes would use kettlebells, or at least, originally. Kettlebell Competitors or Kettlebell Athletes. Kettlebell competition athletes perform a few commonly known movements in 10 minute sets. Usually they can switch hands 1 time during that set and they are ranked based on how much they can lift for the most part. Some events require the use of one kettlebell while other events require the use of 2 kettlebells. 10 minutes straight of any exercise is exhausting. 10 minutes straight of the same movement with a kettlebell is even worse!

While this approach is one way to rock out with bells, I want to talk about another way today.

To begin, what is an “Everyday Athlete” (EA)? Well, the Breakaway Fitness & Performance Dictionary defines an EA as someone who has to compete with biology and the environment. To clarify, it could mean general core weakness observed when getting back into working out after having a baby. It could refer to that spare tire one may have picked up after starting a family. It could also be someone who is competing with their desk job and the computer posture they exhibit day in and day out. Or maybe the firefighter that has to help not only fight fires but move heavy gear around, clean the trucks, and pass the vigorous physical to be a fire fighter. Today is all about kettlebell training for the EA.
In the last blog, we looked at the research and found out that kettlebell training can improve cardiovascular fitness, is a great cross training tool, and can also improve strength and power. Not to mention… it’s fun!


When looking at their use with the EA we must first consider why we might use them. The reasons are pretty simple really.

-It looks awesome in an Instagram video
-Lifting weights of any kind when done correctly can make you stronger and more resilient which means less time spent nursing back pain and more time spent living life with family and friends.
-Honestly, that reason above is enough for me but here’s one more…
-Each day there are instances where we have to lift things, bend over, go up stairs, help others move etc. etc. etc. My point is that we need strength and power to live an enjoyable life. As we age, if we don’t exercise and lift heavy stuff we tend to become more and more sedentary. As soon as we hit age 30, if we don’t do something about it, it’s all down hill from there in regards to muscle and bone. The rate of muscle loss increases with each passing year! Kettlebells are one way we can combat this because they lend themselves to strength AND power training.

Kettlebells can be used for something as simple as carrying the kettlebell on one side of the body for long distances (farmers carry) or for something as complex as a clean and press.

Olympic style weight lifting is quite functional for the EA. We use Olympic lifts here at BFP with our EA quite often. Just because OLY lifts are functional and effective doesn’t mean that they are the right fit for everyone. Of course, we don’t force this style of lifting on everyone but, we need movements just as effective in developing strength and power (we discussed the importance of this earlier). So what we need to determine is if we can get at the least, similar results utilizing the more convenient, and sometimes fun kettlebells in place of the traditional Olympic style lifts.

We know the movement pattern is similar but, does it actually make you stronger? In a study quoted in my last blog post by Manocchia, Spierer, Lufkin, Minichiello, and Castro (2013), it was found that a 10 week kettlebell training program can improve your 3 repetition maximum for the barbell clean and jerk and the barbell bench press.

What’s the bottom line, kettlebells are a viable alternative to some more traditional style lifts, especially if space and resources are limited.
In another study by Zebris et al. (2013), the authors compared kettlebell training to jump squat training and examined maximal and explosive strength before and after the intervention. In this study, both groups improved significantly. What does this mean? Kettlebell training may be just as effective as certain plyometric exercises in eliciting gains in maximal and explosive strength.

To sum everything up, important attributes to the Everyday Athlete include aerobic endurance and power, and maximal and explosive strength.
Do you want to learn these movements? Join us for a workshop on July 8th at 9am. Tighten up your technique or learn the kettlebell swing, clean, snatch, push press and jerk!

We will be giving away a FREE Rogue Kettlebell to one lucky winner and holding a quick competition at the end of the workshop for those interested in competing and getting in a workout!
Where: Breakaway!
When: July 8th at 9am!








Coach Joe Rouse MS, KBC Master Instructor