Because Pavel Tsatsouline, a Soviet strength and conditioning trainer, popularized kettlebells in the United States,
they are sometimes called “Russian kettlebells.” Popular among athletes, mixed martial artists and actors, kettlebells are showing up in more and more fitness and rehabilitation centers.
Kettlebells owe their popularity to the fact that they provide a coordinated
full-body workout. While many fitness routines emphasize isolation and strengthening of individual muscle groups, a kettlebell workout requires all the muscles of the body to work together. For example, a kettlebell cannot be lifted without properly engaging the hips.
To prevent injury, correct positioning and movement of the body when performing kettlebell exercises is extremely important. Monitored by an experienced instructor, training should begin with lightweight kettlebells, until proper execution of the exercise becomes second nature. Later, more weight and more repetitions can be added.
Enthusiasts find that kettlebell exercises not only increase core strength but also promote flexibility, coordination, cardiovascular fitness and the development of explosive power. This whole-body approach is believed to more closely mimic the way the entire body needs to work as a unit during athletic activities.
If you have an interest in training with kettlebells I highly recommend contacting Frank Giannantonio, MS, ATC, CSCS from F.O.R.C.E. Peformance Training in Ho-ho-kus, NJ (www.forceperformancetraining.com). Besides kettlebells his training center also offers a wide variety of research based techniques to improve your strength and conditioning.