Forget Circuit Training: Try KettleBell Training to Rev Up your Metabolism
Kettlebells have been around for many years and are native to Russia. They are routinely used by the Russian military Special Forces to build muscle, increase strength, and improve cardiorespiratory endurance. In the past decade, kettlebell training has gained popularity and become a viable option for strength training and conditioning. Kettlebells and kettlebell training as a research topic are still a novel idea. Literature regarding kettlebell training is scarce. In one of the few studies on the subject of Kettlebell training, Farrar and colleagues (2010) found that performing 12 min of continuous kettlebell swings provided a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity (87 % of heart rate max and 65% of VO2max) to increase VO2 max more than traditional circuit weight training. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a kettlebell training program on aerobic capacity. Seventeen female NCAA Division I collegiate soccer players completed a graded exercise test to determine maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Participants were placed into a kettlebell intervention (KB) group or a circuit weight training control (CWT) group.
Participants in the KB group completed a kettlebell snatch test to determine individual snatch repetitions. Both groups trained 3 days per week for 4 weeks in addition to their off-season strength and conditioning program. Participants in the KB group performed the 15:15 MVO2 kettlebell snatch protocol with 15 s work and rest intervals using a 12 kg kettlebell. For every 15 s work interval, participants performed their individual snatch cadences that were calculated on the second day of testing. The female athletes were instructed to perform their snatches as fast as possible. Each 15 s work interval was followed by a 15 s rest interval. Participants were instructed to begin with their dominant arm and switch arms with each 15 s work interval. This was repeated for 20 min, although the total work time was 10 min. The KB group was supervised and encouraged by the main investigator to work as hard as possible. The CWT group performed multiple free weight and dynamic body weight exercises as part of a continuous circuit program for 20 min. The 15:15 MVO2 protocol significantly increased VO2 max in the kettlebell group. The average increase was approximately a 6% gain in cardiorespiratory activity in the kettlebell group, however, there was no significant change in VO2 max in the circuit weight training control group. Thus, the 4-week 15:15 MVO 2 kettlebell protocol, using high intensity kettlebell snatches, significantly improved aerobic capacity in female intercollegiate soccer players, whereas circuit weight training had no effect. Incorporating high intensity kettlebell training into a females training routine can improve aerobic capacity.
Effects of kettlebell training on aerobic capacity, by Falatic, Plato, Holder, Finch, Han, and Caesar, in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research
Farrar RE, Mayhew JL, Koch AJ. Oxygen cost of kettlebell swings. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1034-6.