So today I was interviewed by Swimmer Magazine-to be more specific, a Staff Writer for the magazine. Anyway, she was interested in discussing and learning more about kettlebells and how they might be helpful to a swimmer in their strength and conditioning program. Having had some experience with kettlebells, I was more than happy to assist her and answer all of her questions. We talked about how it looked like a tea kettle with a handle and perhaps that’s how it got it’s name. On a more serious note, I explained the difference between traditional dumbbells and kettlebells-how the kettlebell’s center of mass extends beyond the hand and therefore makes it a lot easier to perform power (ballistic) and swinging movements and how these movements enhance cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training.
I also explained that the kettlebell teaches the body to move as one unit and doesn’t isolate muscles the way traditional handweights do. I also touched upon the concept of muscle integration vs. muscle isolation – since nearly every kettlebell move recruits many muscle groups to work togther, as one. Another thing the kettlebell does is help to strengthen the posterior chain muscles (glutes, hamstrings, calves) as well as the nervous system of the athlete who works with them since most moves require speed. Most importantly, however, I advised that kettlebell training should not be undertaken solo by a beginner. The moves need to be taught by someone well-versed in their use and someone new to this type of training should have well-trained connective tissue in order to withstand the shock of the power movements.
Hopefully I was able to answer most of her questions and more to the point, how it could benefit swimmers-I reminded her how freestyle swimming requires a lot of inner shoulder rotation which could be counterbalanced by some kettlebell moves that incorporate outer shoulder rotation. I also explained how I have my athletes work kettlebell and plyometrics together in the same workout-the result being perhaps faster starts off the blocks and faster turns at the wall. It was a good half hour and hopefully she will be able to disseminate some of this information. Happy Friday everyone-eat clean, train dirty and have a great weekend!