The kettlebell, popularized in Russia, is the working person's
training device because it seems to excel at delivering functional,
useful strength, strength that tranfers well to a wide variety of
The benefits of working with
kettlebells are many. They are currently very popular with law
enforcement and the military, people for whom being strong without being
bulky is important.
I use kettlebells for many of the same things powerlifters and Olympic
lifters use barbells and dumbbells for. I military press my kettlebell,
I perform windmills, bent presses, side presses, and other
powerlifter-like, limit strength moves with a kettlebell. Sometimes I
even press them from the floor, the kettlebell "poor man's" version of a
bench press. I squat with kettlebells sometimes and other times I use a
The advantage of kettlebell work over Olympic lifting, which offers many
of the same benefits, is that kettlebells are quite a bit easier to
learn on your own. Most people to do Olympic lifts study them with a
coach. Most kettlebell people I know make a $200 investment in a
kettlebell, an instructional video, and an instructional book, and use
discussion forums to get any additional
help they need.
High-set-rep kettlebell work has definitely added
some muscle to my frame. high-set-rep
kettlebell work rewards having enough muscle to get the job done but does
not encourage having more than that. If you're looking for a
lean, muscular build, high-set-rep kettlebell work can be just the ticket - for
people like me, it does cause hypertrophy.
Alternating training cycles with different goals has been done before
and is routinely practiced on a variety of scales, e.g., an endurance
athlete might work on bulking up over the winter then work on slimming down
and gaining endurance throughout the spring and summer.
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