Mike and I are still riding the “kettlebell high” from yesterday’s Hardstyle Kettlebell workshop. We had such a great experience learning from one of the leading experts in RKC kettlebell training, Coach Fury.
I wanted to take this opportunity to answer many of the questions I have been getting from members, friends, and family.
So what exactly is Hardstyle Kettlebell (HKC) training? “Hardstyle” does not refer to the level of difficulty as is often assumed, but rather is a term originating from martial arts that focuses on tension. Hardstyle kettlebell training employs a balance of full body tension when performing strength movements (eg. squats) and quick bursts of tension during ballistic moves (eg. swings). To learn more about HKC training check out this article by Dragon Door.
Leading up to the HKC certification I had many members ask me WHY we were getting another certification. No, we didn’t need it. There are many gyms in the local area and beyond that teach kettlebells without ever being formally trained in their usage. However, we strongly believe knowledge is power. We respect not only the functionality of the kettlebell but also the safety risks associated with them. By holding ourselves to a higher standard of coaching, we are then able to deliver a higher level of training to you, our members.
There are so many modes of training. So why kettlebells? Why are Mike and I so obsessed with these steel handled balls?
There are so many reasons. But for the sake of simplicity, here are our top six favorite benefits of Hardstyle Kettlebell training*:
Strength: Kettlebells are known to produce extremely quick strength improvements without needing to load the body with extremely heavy weights.
Weight Management/Fat Loss: This is why most of us go to the gym, right? Kettlebells provide the perfect combination of cardio (see below) and lean muscle mass building that will optimize and expedite your fat loss efforts. As someone who suffers from Hashimoto's (a thyroid disorder that slows your metabolism to a creeping crawl) kettlebells provide the metabolism boost I need without causing the amount of inflammation that other high intensity workouts do. Moreover, it is easier to stick to kettlebell training because it is less of a time commitment with just as many results! #ConsistencyIsKey
Note: as with all exercise, you must combine your kettlebell training with specified nutrition in order to attain fat loss results.
Flexibility/Mobility: Kettlebells are the yoga for the non-yogis. I would love to love yoga--but I don’t. Personally, I just don’t have the patience to stay serious for an hour and twenty minutes at a time. Kettlebells provide the flexibility and mobility that you need for longevity and protection from injury without the time commitment.
Cardiovascular Health & Endurance: The high paced, intense, powerful nature of kettlebell movement improves the health and capacity of your heart. No jumping or running necessary!
Lower Back Health: Lower back pain is one of the biggest complaints you will hear as a trainer. One of the most common reasons for low back pain is that we sit on our butts too much and don’t activate our butt muscles enough! This causes tight hip flexors and an impaired ability to utilize our glutes and hip. Many natural movements then employ the lower back instead of the hips and glutes which results in pain! HKC emphasizes glute activation (think of the swing and goblet squat) and builds strong hip flexors that are capable of full range of motion. When properly executed, HKC not only protects but strengthens and improves your lower back health.
They are FUN!! Ok, I’m just going to throw this out there--kettlebells are FREAKING FUN! There is something so empowering and gratifying about generating force and power with your body. Not only is the movement itself fun, but the results (strength, fat loss, mobility, skill) you obtain from training with kettlebells is unparalleled.
Used correctly, kettlebells can be an effective and efficient tool that can be utilized by all people regardless of age, gender, size etc. Whether you have athletic, weight loss, or general fitness goals these “cannon balls with handles” can be used to optimize your results and get you where you want to go faster and safer!
Mike and I are so excited that we are now both Hardstyle Kettlebell coaches and can’t wait to share what we have learned with all of our awesome, strong people.
*Benefits list adapted from HKC Dragon Door Publications