4 More Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do Kettlebells

Old School

Last year I wrote an article entitled 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do Kettlebells that received a lot of attention. At the time, I had only been swinging the bells for a month or so and was very much a kettlebell-rookie. But ten months later, and a couple thousand “snatches”,”lunges”,”get-ups” and “oh-my-goodness-these-are-hard-ups” under my belt, I still stand by my original statement. So here are four more reasons why kettlebells might not be for you…

1. Kettlebells are Open-Source

Lets face it – “old” fitness is dead. We’re in Web 2.0 and World 2.0. People are talking and sharing like never before, and finding out what real fitness is all about. What works spreads like a virus and what doesn’t work dies off in a few mouse clicks. And that is why Kettlebells, CrossFit and mixed-martial-arts (MMA) are thriving. Now “success” isn’t determined by how big your muscles are or how many hours you log in the gym every week. Now, fitness is about something real. Real strength. Real endurance. Real skill. Even the real ability to beat a live opponent senseless. To me, Kettlebells, CrossFit and MMA are indicators of the larger trend in our ever flattening world. And in this world the user is king and what works rules…

And so, if you’re happy with the status quo, then perhaps you shouldn’t do Kettlebells. Rather just stick with what you know and stay exactly the same – “Monday is Leg Day. Wednesday is Chest. Friday is…” 

2. Kettlebells are Unpredictable

If you like to know exactly what you’re in for at every workout, then you are definitely going to want to give Kettlebells a skip. Every workout is original and fresh. The basic principles and some of the core exercises may be the same, but the combinations are always changing, and there is always something new and challenging at every turn (or every swing I should say). If “variety is the spice of life” then Kettlebells is helluva spicy indeed, and you may be one of those people who would rather go for the “mild” option.

3. Anyone Can Swing Kettlebells

As I said in my previous article, Kettlebells are all about classes, and at Flux Motion (the gym where I train) the classes are always accessible to persons of every level of fitness. It’s simple: if you’re struggling, go down a weight, and if  you’re finding the class too easy, just grab a heavier bell. Very, very shortly (I can promise) you’ll be maxing out your heart rate and begging for mercy!

So… if you’re into exclusive VIP clubs and secret handshakes, well then Kettlebells just might be too “mainstream” for you.

4. Kettlebells Are Great For All Other Sports

Kettlebells may simply be big iron balls with a handle on top, but the thing that makes them so effective is their ability to challenge your entire body, giving you a serious overall body workout. Not only does it pack an ass-kicking aerobic component, but it has also been proven to increase flexibility, balance, agility, and joint strength. I have found that since starting ketllebells, my running and surfing strength and stamina has increased dramatically, and I’m loving it!

Of course, not everyone is as excited about this as me, because I now get more waves than the other guys in the water. So, if you’re not into sports – and getting better at them – then don’t do kettlebells!

Are kettlebells the magic fitness bullet? No! They are simply a tool. Your attitude and your willingness to put in the time and effort is what makes you fitter and stronger at the end of the day. But let me just say this – we all know the fitness industry is teeming with training gimmicks – Kettlebells isn’t one of them.

Tom Basson is a qualified Physiotherapist, and an ex-professional gymnast. He is currently involved in running Body Weight Training Workshops at Flux Motion. For more information please contact Flux here.
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88 Comments on “4 More Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do Kettlebells

  1. Hello,

    I just started a site called TheBroCave (thebrocave.com). I’m not sure if you’d be interested, but the idea behind the site is to allow guys to share anything cool (cars, sports, gear, tech, humor, movies, etc) they find online with other guys. Would you like to post some of your stuff there? Under source, you can link back to your own site as well if you’d like. Let me know if you would be interested. Thanks.

  2. I’ve done one kettle bell workout and have wanted to get one ever since. I think I will after reading this.

    • 🙂 hahahaha. I know what you mean. But seriously, if you are keen to try them out – i suggest going to classes. It’s the only way I can stay motivated and the bells don’t just become dusty garage accessories.

  3. Congrats on the Fresh-Press, and I love the sarcasm! My 15lb kettlebell has helped me in so many ways.

  4. I like your comments about the “open source” side of fitness nowadays. It is very interesting to see how the internet has affected fitness ideas and culture.

  5. Now how about some real reasons that people with limitations (like the vast majority of the general fitness population) poor posture, injury, and poor concept of muscular tension and control should NOT do kettlebells.

    • I would have to disagree that KB training is not for people with limitations. I deal with rehab and preventative training all the time. I think all of the above conditions can be dealt with via KB training. The secret though is to use a highly qualified practitioner and the assistance of a Bio/Chiro/physio. I would also agree with Tom that KBs are not the wonder tool. I utilize bodyweight, KB, Band and BB training dependant on situation and properly educated trainers. Attitude is everything.

      • Thanks Sean! Ah at last some reasonable conversation instead of RAH RAH! I would say that education is everything. For those lacking the resources to train with one such as yourself can you name any contraindications for the use of kettlebells by the average fitness enthusiast? Perhaps a beginner who would like to imitate what he/she sees in the gym and join the cool kettlebell crowd? Here I’ll start…

        I am imagining kyphotic posture with a collapsed rib cage, scapular winging, and little core strength. (which I saw numerous examples of this very evening in my local gym) maybe swinging a kettlebell NOT a good place to start?

      • Thanks for your comments Josh. I guess I would echo Sean’s sentiments that KBs are appropriate for those with limitations and/or poor physical conditioning, provided they are used correctly. Of course, any sport/exercise/fitness regime can be dangerous if done incorrectly or if the client is uneducated in correct techniques, but having said that I still believe, from a physiotherapy point of view, that KB can be extremely effective in the rehab process for the VAST MAJORITY. Of course, every person is different, and would require a holistic program that incorporated more than just KBs, but if I look at the scenario you paint above (kyphosis, winging scapula, poor core strength etc) I would not hesitate to prescribe KBs as part of the fitness process. A person such as this is in fact more likely to injure themselves using traditional weights or even exercise machines (in my personal opinion) than using KBs correctly.

      • I agree that anything can be misused, So how do we get more people to do things correctly? You and I could probably train each other with absolutely nothing at all, but the vast majority of people have no education. I have seen so many people get caught up in hype and step into something not knowing their issues and wind up quickly injured. These people are my concern. As you proposed using a combination of mediums to teach posture and stability is best. What type of progression do you suggest someone follow who if they are inclined to use kettlebells?

  6. Haha!! I love the humor of this post. Essentially, keep on doing the same old nonsense, but don’t expect anything different! (Of course, there are those that physically should NOT take on the challenge of using kettlebells, as your previous commenter said.) I’ve taught group exercise and I’m in the gym 4-5x/week, so I like to keep my workouts fresh. No two days are the same! The use of kettlebells definitely adds an invigorating element of challenge to any workout. Now throw in a jump rope (preferably not while holding on to kettlebells), and you’ve got yourself a slamming and fun workout!

  7. Why is it that every single one of my experiences with a kettlebell is a oh-my-goodness-these-are-hard-ups???

    Perhaps I’m doing it wrong? Or is it that I’m doing them right???

    😉

  8. HI. I think you’re a rather good writer. I would not have read an entry about kettleballs all the way through unless you were. So when I caught an error, I thoroughly wished it would be corrected. It’s not “person’s”. That would be possessive, as in, “That person’s kettleball.” In the context of what you wrote, it is “persons”, the plural of “person”. As in, “Persons who have paid their dues may use the kettleballs.” See the difference? Persons is referring to more than one person. Plurals don’t get apostrophes, as a rule. See? Another example of a plural! Apostrophes is plural, so no apostrophe! But something that possesses something else does get an apostrophe, and the apostrophe itself is what signals that possession. Tom Basson’s blog is “Basson’s” because it’s YOUR blog. The Tom Bassons (family) is simply plural, so the apostrophe is unnecessary.

    If you would be so kind as to change person’s to persons, I just might swing by again to read your nicely descriptive take on another subject! Because then I would consider this entry just about perfect!

  9. What a great post! I was intrigued by the title since I pretty much swear by Kettlebells as an extremely useful and important tool in the gym (at at home!) Nice job, and I’ll definitely link up to this in my next “good reads” post.

  10. I wholeheartedly agree about the amazing, unbelievable benefits of kettlebells. I started training with certified instructors at a martial arts academy in Ottawa about 10 months ago. I have previously done years of aerobics, running and weight training, but never, ever have I attained the results that I have seen with kettlebells in such a short period of time. There is simply nothing like it. I love it! It’s extremely challenging and I am totally spent when it’s over, but wow, what results. Wrote about it myself when I first started training on my blog at
    http://listentomethunder.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/kettlebells-fit-body-fit-mind/. It’s not for the light-hearted. We train with the fighters and try to keep up as best we can. What I most enjoy is that it is a total body workout incorporating balistic weight training AND cardiovascular training. I am simply amazed (and addicted). There is nothing more I can say.

  11. I have a friend who pulled a muscle working out one day and declared “See, I told you exercise is bad for your health!”. This reminds me of her. Seriously though, thanks for sharing this info. Always good to learn more.

  12. I’ve been using kettlebells 3 times a week for the last 4 months and I’ve loved them! They are the best fitness investment I’ve made in years.

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  14. Just came from a strength training Session at the Darkside Gym in Sydney… and lets just say… theTZAR likes… not only does it feel old school but it is also something that works every part of your body. Kettle-Bell FTW!

  15. Brilliant blog post 🙂 Even I don’t like these kettlebells, but I like your attitude of old school. I’m an old school cross-country runner and mountainbiker 🙂

  16. Reblogged this on Monique Egelhoff and commented:
    Synchronicity, I was just talking to someone at work about this workout and I was going to look into it. This just makes me want to go to Walmart and get one today. Definitely on my to do list.

  17. I have been doing kb for about 2-3 yrs on and off and the past year reguarly. I have transformed my body in loosing inches and lost 15 lbs. We have an awesome group and an awesome trainer. Some days I can push press double 36s. Great workout.

  18. I LOVE kettlebells. I discovered them in 2010 with a trainer (RKC) who uses them pretty much exclusively. The workout totally fits my personality and strengths. I feel as if I were made to kettlebell!

    • A very well written and interesting post, well done 🙂

      Now going to have to ask my gym if we can have some KBs as thare arn’t any for the moment, and as I go 3 to 4 times a week it would be nice to try them.

      Again well done, now if only I could get my posts on Freshly Pressed…. sighs ….

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  23. Any particular favorite KB workout moves you have? I own a few of my own kettlebells, but I typically just do swings, presses, get-ups, and sumo deadlift high pulls. Always looking for new ideas.

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