A Better Workout for Strength Training

Kettlebells can increase maximal and explosive strength without the impact

A new article in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research suggests that kettlebell training is just as good a workout, and better for your body, than some other exercises designed to build maximal and explosive strength. 

The article, authored by Jason Lake and Mike Lauder of the University of Chichester in West Sussex, England, compared kettlebell swinging to jump squat power training, a popular exercise used in programs such as Cross Fit. While they found no significant difference between increased maximal and explosive strength, they did note the kettlebells’ reduced impact on joints. 

In the study, subjects used a 12 kilogram- or 16 kilogram-kettlebell for swing training, while subjects who did jump squats used a loaded barbell placed on their backs. The barbell is not necessarily a problem; the impact associated with the landing is one, Lake said.

“One should ask if it is appropriate to expose athletes (indeed anybody) to these impact forces, particularly if they are already exposed to landing impacts as part of their athletic/sport training,” he wrote in an email from his office in England. “Kettlebell swing training appears to offer an alternative way of developing this ‘power’ using relatively light loads and without exposure to landing impact(s).”

Back squat training, another exercise popular for building strength, tends to require loads great than 100 kilograms, Lake added.

For a video on kettlebell exercises, check out this link