Thursday, May 19, 2011

Old Skool vs New Skool

The benefits of strength train with kettle bells.

Have you ever walked past one of those guys in gym who are doing strange movements at different angles with those funny looking weights? What you witnessed, ladies and gentlemen, was probably a kettle bell session, and that guy who was doing it probably has some serious strength. It is the era of the super athlete and that athlete require super methods of training. Kettle bells are excellent for strength training and power development. And how does it accomplish this I will explain.

There are 640 muscles in the human body recruited for movement, of which 63 percent are stabilizers. Daily living as well as functionality occurs in all three planes of motion namely the cardinal, sagital and transverse planes. Traditional weight lifting doesn’t make use of stabilizers very efficiently and 90% of these movements only work in one plane of motion, the sagital plane. Sport taxes movement in all three planes and as a result muscles that are not functionally capable of withstanding as well as generation force may be prone to injury. Kettle bells serve to place functional demanding forces on muscle groups throughout its movement. It accomplishes this by not having a set grip and angle like a traditional dumbbell i.e. The angle at which forces need to be generated are constantly changing this intern demands the use of stabilizers and synergists. Thus greatly contributing to more strength development in these stabilizing muscles. The degree of instability that you experience is greatly due to that fact that you have not used these muscles before. Using kettle bells activates the core muscles that are essential for co-ordination and functional proprioception.

Kettle bells assist in co-ordination and functional proprioception by stimulating the nervous system and employing the activation of the previously ‘dormant’ muscle fibers thus it produces strength in three ways. Firstly it causes hypotrophy of undeveloped stabilizing muscle fibers. Second, it increases the rate at which these muscle fibers twitch. Lastly, they allow for synchronous muscle fiber contraction.

By highlighting the benefits of kettle bells I hope I have shown to the real world benefits of kettle bell training as compared to traditional weight training. Kettle bells allow athletes to tap into previously unharnessed power, by making power based movements more strongly and quickly attainable.

Jo 'never say no' Ramahdin
Baechle, T. R. and Earle, R. W.(2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Human Kinetics.

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