Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Forget Cardio, Do Kettlebells?

Forget Cardio, Do Kettlebells?

One of the questions that comes up often, is whether one still has to ‘do cardio’ when training with kettlebells.

Are kettlebells as effective as running, sprinting, jogging and other cardio activities when it comes to developing cardiovascular capacity?

The short answer is “kettlebells are on par with running”, long answer is… well, keep on reading for the long answer :-)

Kettlebells are great for improving cardiovascular capacity. It works, there is no argument.

I would even recommend kettlebells over any other cardio activity like running, jogging or aerobics class (I apologize to all the aerobic class enthusiasts - you’ll have to give your stretchy pants a rest…)


Kettlebells are much safer on joints than any other kind of activity.


It’s true.

The exercise that (in my opinion, anyway) is one of the best exercises for improving strength and cardiovascular endurance and capacity is kettlebell swings.

[Why swings and not snatches or jerks or cleans?]

  • While swinging kettlebells there is no resting point, the bell is always moving, demanding attention and cardiovascular output
  • Kettlebell swings is a foundational movement that is simple. Everyone, including beginners, can benefit from it
  • All major joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders) are moving and engaged through proper planes of motion
  • Back muscles are engaged (usually a major weak point in most people) and strengthened

For an average person, should swings replace running?


Keep in mind that an average person is a dis-functional person containing many muscular imbalances and suffering from numerous postural deviations.

Now take this off-balance, mis-aligned body and make it run. What do you think will happen? Compensations leading to pain and injury are inevitable.

Kettlebell swings, on the other hand, will move all joints in proper planes through proper range of movements and help muscles find the much desired balance.

Does that mean that you should never run? Nonsense!

Humans are made for movement, running and walking and not sitting (shocking!). So if you are consistent in your kettlebell training you can attempt running but be careful and listen to what your body tells you afterward. If you experience any pain (soreness does not count as pain) you may want to put running on a shelve until your body is more ‘connected’.

This came from www.workoutIQ.com But it didn't give the author's name.

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