kettlebell personal training

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Killin’ the Kettlebell: Personal training with a focus on kettlebell lifting

Back in the early 2000’s I heard about kettlebell lifting from Pavel Tsatsouline, in Muscle Media magazine. Intrigued, I set off to Belgium to buy a set from the only supplier in western Europe. I tried them out, and was thoroughly impressed by their versatility. In order to get a better understanding of the training, I spent a month in Latvia with Vasily Ginko, 7 time world kettlebell champion. Mr Ginko was kind enough to put me through 2 gruelling kettlebell tuition sessions each day. After a month I was glad to go home. Learning in that much depth though, from a legend of the art was extremely useful however and worth the pain.

When i was doing my Strength and Conditioning MSc, I chose kettlebell lifting as the topic for my thesis. I investigated it’s effectiveness as a cardiorespiratory development tool. when used in the ways I had designed it was proven to be extremely effective.

They are an extremely useful tool for me when giving personal training sessions for my clients. They give me plenty of options to develop people’s fitness in all sorts of ways.

Killin’ the kettlebell is my personal training system using kettlebells

What does kettlebell training involve?

Kettlebells come in various weights, like barbells and dumbbells and can be used for all manner of ‘attribute targeting’. Pretty much all standard strength training exercises can be performed as well, or in some cases better, than with barbells and dumbbells.

There are also a very wide variety of ‘ballistic’ exercises that can and should be used when training with kettlebells. In my personal training sessions I use as many full blooded, compound training exercises, especially with kettlebells, as these target more muscle mass in one go and also create a unified and athletic way of moving and issuing strength.

In addition to the strength exercises and more ballistic, whole body power style movements, there are also juggling exercises that I teach in my PT sessions. These develop peoples coordination and athleticism to even greater levels. They also give me the opportunity to help my clients develop some incredible levels of power and reactive power similar to the way plyometrics can.

A 30 minute kettlebell juggling session will also challenge your focus and concentration – getting you into a hyper focussed ‘flow state’.

What benefits can i expect from focussing my training on kettlebell lifting?

Kettlebells can be used in so many ways and can essentially target most fitness attributes.

Muscle Mass: Kettlebells can be used creatively and strategically in personal training sessions to help you build muscle and develop and desired body parts.

Strength: Muscle mass and strength are connected, though there are special ways professionals use to more specifically target raw strength. Kettlebells can build very high levels of whole body strength.

Calorie burning/fat loss: Personal training sessions using kettlebells can help you massively increase your calorific expenditure. Used in certain ways, kettlebell exercises can impose a very strong metabolic demand on the body and be very ‘energy demanding’ – meaning you burn a lot of calories.

Increasing metabolism: Linked to the above point, using the kettlebells in specific ways can elevate your resting metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories outside of sessions.

Power: Power training can be made very sport specific (for some sports) by using kettlebells. In my personal training sessions for those who want it, we can focus on building extremely high levels of real world, functional power.

‘Cardio’: As mentioned in the introI carried out a scientific investigation into the effectiveness of kettlebells as a tool for cardiovascular development and it showed that used the right way it was excellent.

What does a typical session look like?

Kettlebells sessions vary immensely depending on your level of fitness and the types of benefits you want.

For a lot of clients I use kettlebells within sessions that also target flexibility, balance and other key physical skills. Others want to concentrate specifically on strength and conditioning work using the kettlebells. It really comes down to what you want to develop.

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