According to history kettlebells came from Russia pre-1800s where they were used for weighing crops. Farmers found that they got much stronger from using them which transitioned their use into Soviet training and conditioning programs in the 20th century. Needless to say, if the Soviets trained with them then they must be awesome right?
There popularity and use in the fitness industry throughout the past 10 years would agree but what is it that makes them special? There are a number of reasons why kettlebells are unique but below are my top 3 reasons why kettlebells are a great tool for all clients...event if they aren't Russian Soldiers.
1) Great for Front Loading
Goblet squats are considered one of the foundational kettlebell movements and for good reason. Loading the body with squatting patterns initially from the front is not only great for contributing to an upright torso while squatting but also requires massive core activation. This means promoting great movement patterns and improving core stability, both priorities in working with most new clients. Goblet squats are just one examples but the same method of loading can be applied to splits squats, lunges, and more. Front loading may not be the best way to fully overload the legs for more advanced clients but is always a great way to challenge stability within the torso.
2) Ballistic Movements & Plyometrics
Plyometrics are defined as a rapid lengthening and shortening of the muscle and are usually trained with explosive high impact movements like box jumps and depth drops. These are both great ways of enhancing power and joint integrity but present a high risk for many clients that shouldn't be training in a high impact environment. Kettlebell swings offer a great alternative method of training the same system for lower body strength and power without the repetitive impact of leaving the ground. Even for clients not looking for performance gains this type of training can help prevent injury and be a great tool in fat loss programs.
3) Require Mastery
When it comes to keeping clients engaged long term and motivated to work hard day after day, developing skills and mastery along the way can be a powerful tool. Kettlebell training offers clients the opportunity to "level up" as many of the moves such as swings, snatches, high pulls, and Turkish get-ups require a constant refinement of your skills. This makes it easy to show clients improvements even when the scale may not be changing and offer them some variety in their training over the long term. Clients that enjoy their training are likely to work harder and be more consistent. This means they get better results and lead to even greater client referrals and retention. Everyone wins!
These things don't mean kettlebells are the only way to achieve these goals or the ultimate training tool, but a great one to have in your tool belt for getting the right client even better results.