Monday, October 05, 2009

Kettlebells, Speed & Power

10 seconds flat, 4.4 or less forty yard dash, 36 inch + vertical jump, is all about power, strength, speed and the ability to produce force. For an athlete with specific goals of increasing power, strength and speed it is crucial to have a strength and conditioning program that addresses these goals. The program must include work in the gym using specific Olympic lifts, power lifts and other supporting exercises to increase and better both the athlete’s strengths and weak points. Learning the techniques and acquiring the skills of the Olympic lifts and power lifts is challenging and can take years of practice and hours a week in the gym along with a knowledgable coaching staff. For athlete’s time and timing are crucial to success since there is a limited lifespan in regards to peak performance and a limited amount of time in each day to do what is necessary for training to peak and perform.

This is where the Russian Kettlebell, an all around, compact tool, filled with power, strength, and speed in one cast iron ball comes into play. The kettlebell with all its beauty and benefits wrapped into one small, dynamite and explosive package is a full body, explosive core and hip based, fast and powerful strength and conditioning tool.

What makes the kettlebell unique is the relatively small learning curve for learning the same Olympic lifts and the fact that the workouts are intense, effective and short in duration and with results that are amazing if not spectacular. Furthermore, the exercises incorporate movement specifics such as stabilization, range of motion, unilateral training, rotational pattern training application of tension/relaxation principles and the key combination of functional movement strengthening. The key difference and benefit being the unilateral training which cannot be achieved with a barbell and due to the shape of the dumbbell which cannot mimic the same dynamics of the physics of the kettlebell due to the displacement of the weight.

Therefore, the athlete looking to increase speed in the 40 yard dash, 100 meter sprint, jump higher, and/or accelerate off the line or floor would be wise to incorporate the kettlebell. Learning how to perform and execute the swing, snatch, clean, clean & jerk, front squat, push press, etc. would teach the athlete how to apply and direct force through the use of their hips, core and legs in a coordinated movement pattern leading to increased functional output. In addition moves such as the turkish get-up, windmill, and deck squat all effectively train the core from varying angles while increasing strength, flexibility and stability. These factors are all integral to the highest level of performance on the track, field, pitch, or in the gym.

Based of simple physics the bell moves in a path and range, which optimizes your bodies function while maximizing the results. The proof is in the pudding and it is difficult if not impossible to find anything comparable to the kettlebell for producing the results with such a minimal learning curve and in a short amount of time.

The kettlebell is a great addition to any strength and conditioning program for any athlete desiring functional improvement on the field. In fact, many professional teams and athletes as well as collegiate sports programs use the kettlebell in their programs. No wonder why, with the kettlebell you can take and transform your body into a compact, powerful, strong and explosive piece of machinery. The rewards are enormous and the risks are little to none.

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