Tools of the Trade: Kettlebells

If you’ve read our Mountain Fitness column with any regularity, it will come as no surprise that we are big fans of the kettlebell (KB). There are few training tools available that can be used so effectively to train strength, endurance, power and mountain transferable “fitness”. With just a few kettlebells in varying weights you can easily put together one hell of a mountain hunting training program that will have you primed and ready for the fall like never before.

If we had to pick one training tool and one only to use for the remainder of our lives it would be the KB.

As Pavel Tsatsouline, founder and Chairman of StrongFirst and the man credited with introducing the kettlebell to North America likes to say, “the kettlebell is an ancient Russian weapon against weakness”.

But unlike the typical machines and free weights you’d encounter at your average gym, kettlebells take some training and coaching to use safely and effectively. The dynamic load and stress placed on the body (one of the keys to a kettlebell’s effectiveness) can be a challenge even for someone with a long history of training with more static loads using barbells and free weights.

And if you’re going to truly reap the rewards of using a kettlebell, an intro course or one-on-one coaching session with a trainer well versed in the intricacies of KB technique is worth every dollar. When it comes to kettlebell swings and the get-up, two of the most powerful exercises available to the KB user, proper technique will turn you into a lean mean, mountain hunting machine whereas poor technique will have you wishing you’d never picked up one of these cannonballs with a handle.

If you want to learn about KB technique and training methods the people at StrongFirst are hands down the world’s authorities on the safe and effective use of the kettlebell.

They have a global network of rigorously tested and certified trainers and coaches that you can turn to for one-on-one coaching if available in your city or area or you can attend one of their SFG Courses, an incredibly thorough and immersive single day course covering correct and safe techniques and training methods.

As the most established, experienced, and meticulous kettlebell instruction organization in history, StrongFirst has identified the most important elements for you to learn in a single day, and the most efficient ways of teaching them. If you want to maximize dollar for time spent, and really hit the ground running with your training program this year, the SFG Course is hard to beat.

We’ll be releasing some workouts and training programs in the coming months and the KB will be prominent in all of our programming whether we’re focusing on strength, power, durability or endurance. And since we can’t be there in person to show you how to use a kettlebell properly, the well distributed StrongFirst network is without question your best resource for kettlebell instruction.

In our opinion, before implementing any of the KB exercises or methods we propose, it is truly essential to familiarize yourself with the correct and safe techniques of KB training.

If you live in the Rocky Mountain West or west of the Continental Divide, StrongFirst has upcoming courses in the following cities this spring and summer:

Seattle, WA: June 7th
Beaverton, OR: June 7th
Denver, CO: June 27th
Spokane, WA: August 22nd

Posted by JOMH Editor