Becoming Kettlebell Strong

by Premier Personal Trainer, Damon Marable, and Sasha Reddy

“Strength has a greater purpose” -Pavel Tsatsouline.

Any activity you may do for personal fitness should be done with a purpose. As I have said in many classes and to many clients, “the how is more important than the what.” To put it differently, how you perform an exercise is what makes that exercise effective. Heavyweight and high reps don’t inherently make you stronger. Without proper movement execution, it is likely going to hurt you.

Redefining Strength

So how do you achieve strength effectively? Strength is earned through movement that puts focus on proper form, force production, mobility, stability, and attention to detail (because again, how you perform an exercise is what makes an exercise effective). It’s a skill that must be developed over time by analyzing the way your body moves and deliberately taking the time to perfect those movements, not by adding weight.

When you prioritize quantity at the expense of quality, it can lead to muscular compensation. Muscular compensation occurs when one part of the body jumps in to do the work of another. For example, when performing a squat, the knees are responsible for stability throughout the movement. When the knees are positioned too far forward in relation to the toes, this puts unnecessary pressure on the knees and prevents the hip extensors (glutes) from activating, destabilizing the movement. This can put you at risk for injury of the knees and lower back. Performing improper squats once won’t have a lasting impact, but when poor form becomes a habit, the risk for injury increases. So ask yourself: are you willing to put your body at risk or will you improve your quality of movement to really improve your strength?

The Tool That Will Get You Further

The kettlebell is a tool that can help you to improve form as you increase your strength. It is often referred to as a “hardstyle extreme handheld gym”, and is a powerful and versatile piece of equipment that can be used for both total-body-strength work or explosive HIIT training. Its versatility lends itself to be useful when you are working to strengthen stabilizing muscles.

Hardstyle Kettlebell Training focuses on achieving power with purpose through kettlebell-based workouts. These workouts require immense strength achieved when each rep, swing, and movement is performed with higher awareness, attention to detail, and explosive intent.

Participating in Hardstyle Kettlebell Training can train your body to have proper form while increasing all 7 types of strength.

The seven types of strength are:

  • Agile Strength: the ability to control and generate muscle force in a multiplanar environment
  • Strength Endurance: the ability to maintain muscle contractions for an extended time
  • Explosive Strength: produce a max amount of force in a short amount of time
  • Maximum Strength: the Highest level of muscle force that can be produced
  • Relative Strength: Force generated per unit of bodyweight
  • Speed Strength: Max force that can be produced in a fast movement
  • Starting Strength: Force you can produce from a stationary position

The combination of all these types of strength from one type of training is beneficial for a stronger self across the board. 

The Kettlebell Strong Philosophy

In order to have power, you must have strength. And in order to have strength, you must have control of your movement patterns and performance; that means reaching the point where no muscle group or body part compensates for another. But once you’ve developed strength, it will transfer into other areas in your fitness life, too. Your goal may be to achieve a curvy physique, increase performance, become better conditioned with less body fat, etc. No matter the goal, strong, intentional movement patterns are the key to achieving it. The more movement control you have, the better you can correctly produce force within that movement, and hardstyle kettlebell training can help you get the improvements that you seek. Learning how to control your movements will improve your strength, teach you how to best use it, and thus improve the overall quality of your performance. Kettlebell Strong will get you there.

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