Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do Kettlebells Weigh Enough?

As a former engineer who graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), I sat down one day to calculate the forces a person experiences during the kettlebell swing.  After consulting with another engineer, we concluded the average kettlebell swing yields 4-6x the weight of the bell when resisted in full swing. This happens because of the compounding effects of gravitational acceleration added to the angular/centrifugal forces one must resist during a kettlebell swing.

In English: this means that in each swing you do, your body is resisting your own body weight, the weight of the kettlebell, and an additional 4-6x the weight of the bell – all in one repetition!

Imagine grabbing a barbell and putting 4x the weight of your normal kettlebell weight and doing repetitions of squats.  How many do you think you’d get to before dangerous exhaustion?  With kettlebells, you can safely swing hundreds of times in a single workout session due to the physics of ballistic swing. The added benefit is that the swings will be sparing on your joints rather than compressive or shearing (as experienced in traditional gym machines).

This effect is particularly noted among students and clients who struggle with arthritis, herniated lumbar discs, old orthopedic injuries, total joint replacements, fibromyalgia, and other related impairments.

After their first month of Kettlebell Therapy, I consistently hear things like (shared with permission):

“I can’t believe my joints don’t bother me! Gym machines, yoga, and pilates have always made my knees hurt.  Your exercises relieve my pain.”

“The knot that has been in my shoulders for 15 years is gone! No one has been able to get rid of that knot!”

“You’ve made my back and core feel stronger. I can do more activities with better mechanics.”

As you can see, due to the physics of kettlebell exercises, they definitely weigh enough. More importantly, with the scientific and therapeutic approach of Kettlebell Therapy, these exercises can also resolve functional issues of the past and prevent recurrence in the future.

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