One-Arm Or Two-Arm Swings: Which Is Better?

For kettlebell practitioners, there are two types of swings. The two-arm is sort of the entry-level swing while the one-handed is the more advanced move.

However, many people who use a kettlebell never seem to progress beyond the two-handed stage. After all, the one-handed swing is a logical progression if you’re looking to do cleans, snatches, high pulls, or any number of other exercises.

If you’re just looking to get fit, though, is one better than the other?

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The Difficulties Of Evidence-Based Kettlebell Training

When I started down this rabbit hole of looking for evidence backing up kettlebell training, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard. After all, the blasted things have been around for centuries. There are pictures of old-time strongmen like Eugene Sandow hoisting the things.

Anything that old and that linked to historic physical culture should have a lot of research behind it by now, right?

Eh…not so much.

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Do Kettlebells Actually Make You Stronger?

What does science actually say about strength training with kettlebells?

If you’re going to look at any kind of training such as kettlebell training, you need to know if it’ll do what you want it to do. While I do think that your enjoyment should play a factor, as previously noted, I also think you need to understand what will happen if you engage in a given training modality.

With barbells and dumbbells, even with calisthenics, people already generally know what to expect. If you lift weights, you’ll get stronger and can get bigger muscles. Similarly with calisthenics.

But kettlebells are different animals. Despite having been around for centuries, few people really understand what they can really do.

That includes me.

So, as part of this ongoing quest to figure them out, let’s look and see if they can really make you stronger.

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The Number One Reason You Should Pick Any Excercise Modality

I’ve been talking a bit about kettlebells lately. Before that, it was barbells and dumbbells.

However, I’ve never laid out the primary reason you should pick any exercise modality out there. After all, there are plenty. They range from an afternoon walk before you cook supper to Crossfit. There is an insane number of choices.

Yet, with all the discussion about why you should do this or that, we all–myself included–tend to forget the primary reason you should pick any method, modality, or outlet.

Today, I’m going to remind you.

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Unraveling The Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is the fundamental kettlebell movement. It’s the first thing a practitioner learns with a kettlebell in their hands, and for good reason. After all, it’s the movement so many others are built around.

However, it’s not really understood in a lot of ways.

That’s understandable in a lot of ways. It’s a movement that doesn’t quite work to the way many of us learned to train. There’s no simple movement pattern clearly designed to train a couple of muscles at a time. There’s no grinding out a rep to get a max or anything else.

It’s an odd approach to a lot of our minds, but it’s time to start trying to sort this mess out. Bear with me, though, because this will take a while.

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Soreness: The Price We Pay For Slacking Off

Soreness is a punishment for taking it too easy, but it can also be something of a gift.

Right now, I’m fairly sore. In a little while, I’ll venture out to the gym, brave the Black Friday traffic (the gym is near a lot of the places people want to shop) and hit legs.

Then I’ll be sore for the next two days.

At the risk of sounding like a masochist, I actually deserve this. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the price I’m paying for slacking off for a week or so.

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Gymtopia: What The Perfect Training Environment Looks Like

If Utopia is a perfect society, then Gymtopia is the perfect gym. What’s yours?

Utopia is supposed to be the perfect place, a land of absolute bliss where everything is absolutely perfect.

Of course, one person’s Utopia is another person’s dystopia.

As I sit and write this, I’ve just gotten back from a session in the commercial gym, and there were some things there that I truly liked. Things I’d missed by training at home.

It’s enough to make me embark on a bit of an intellectual journey to describe my perfect gym, my gymtopia, if you will.

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Time To Head Back To The Gym

For months now, I’ve been using my home gym exclusively. I’ve enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine while I train. I’ve liked stepping just outside my home to get my training in. I’ve loved how so little has to work around my training schedule.

And, for the time being, it’s over.

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Embrace The Pain

We’ve all heard the phrase, “No pain, no gain.”

It’s currently out of vogue in part because some believe it urges people to train beyond what their body can take, to train injured, things like that, but I still kind of like it. Maybe it’s an artifact of my age, but I do.

Let’s be honest, training is painful in a lot of ways.

The thing is, I find it the lessons I’ve learned through training, through that pain, have applications to the rest of my life. It’s all about how to remove those weaknesses. The pain can almost be purifying, in a way.

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