Style And Substance

Why Fitness Equipment Should Be More Than Just Functional

Do you want to know one of the things I like best about kettlebells? What I like is that you’re far more likely to find kettlebells that don’t look the same as everyone else’s.

You see, kettlebell makers–especially smaller operations–are willing to look at the kettlebell a little differently. They’re willing to take a look at the implement and think, “How can I make this bad boy even cooler.”

This weekend, the Arnold Fitness Festival is taking place in Columbus, Ohio, and earlier today the strongman competition athletes went toe-to-toe with a piece of equipment that is both style and substance, and it made me wonder why we don’t see more of that kind of thing.

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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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Picking Up The Kettlebell Again

When it comes to fitness, I’m far from monogamous. In my lifetime, I’ve had a lot of different training modalities throughout the years. I used to run way back when. I’ve lifted weights. I’ve even tried various video workout systems.

One thing that’s always intrigued me is kettlebells.

Perhaps that’s what I turned back to them on Monday when I was going to start full-body training?

Let me explain.

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How To Get Fit On Any Budget

I was talking to someone last night about yesterday’s post. This is a longtime friend of mine, so he read the post and came to me directly to talk about it. His issue was that he didn’t really even know where to start. He’s back in college full-time and his wife is the only one working. Since he’s going to an online school, there’s not really a campus gym available to him, and with money tight, he was curious what he could do.

Yeah, I threw out a few suggestions in that post, but I also thought it might be time for a post I was toying with for a while, and that’s breaking down options based on cost.

Now, bear in mind, this will be a long one and some things may show up in several places, but there will be reasons. This will also not necessarily be an all-inclusive list, so I welcome folks to add to this list.

Without further ado, here we go, from the least expensive to the most expensive.

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Back In The (Kettlebell) Swing Of Things

Last week, I didn’t get much working out down for a number of reasons. One of which was feeling like crap. Another was having workmen in our home to do a number of things. I hate working out with an audience, after all, and when I feel like crap…well.

No excuse, though.

There can’t be any excuses. Not anymore. I’m trying to stay alive in a world where there are a large number of people who want me dead. Yes, some include people who want me dead personally, most likely. Others just want me dead because I didn’t vote for the right candidate or I support the wrong policy. Still others want me dead because I live in the U.S. and am happy to live here.

They won’t delay because I didn’t feel good one week.

That meant it was back into training. No, I didn’t do any DDP Yoga. Not yet, anyway. I’ll probably do some tomorrow for stretching purposes, but I didn’t do it today because I love lifting stuff. Period.

So that put a kettlebell back into my hands. Continue reading “Back In The (Kettlebell) Swing Of Things”

Bringing In The Kettlebell

I’ve had kind of a crappy week this week. Yes, it’s because of what happened in Las Vegas. Yes, I will talk about it here at a future date, but not right now.

For what it’s worth, as a gun writer in my daily life, I’ve been writing a lot about what happened, and it’s impossible to cover a topic like that and an event like that and it not take a bit of a toll on you. Nothing like what those who were there experienced, mind you, but a toll none the less.

And the thing I noticed is that the one thing that really got me stoked was thinking about my kettlebells. Continue reading “Bringing In The Kettlebell”