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Kettlebells – Their application in sport – part II


In the last article I briefly explained that if you where training to improve power for your chosen sport and you trained in the traditional bodybuilding method you would get bigger, stronger and probably less powerful. In this article I will explain why that is the case.


Don’t try and train hard and heavy to exhaustion all the time.

Periodize your weight training to match your competitive season. If your season is a long one you should have reached maximum power just before it starts and then try to maintain that power throughout the season. There are some excellent books on designing periodization programs. One author that springs to mind is Tudor O. Bompa. Just apply the principles to KettleBell training.



Don’t try and do marathon training sessions.

Excessive workouts with lots of sets, reps, forced reps, drop sets, training to failure all build muscle mass but do little to improve athletic performance. The maximum amount of time that should be spent in the gym is about 60 mins. After that all the anabolic hormones start to decline rapidly. So get in the gym, do your session and get out again, no mucking about.



Don’t try and train through injury.

I see and hear this a lot especially from lads training their egos and not their muscles. Remember you are training with weights to improve your performance, not hinder it.


Always use excellent technique.

This one relates to the one above somewhat, i.e. use good technique and reduce the chances of injury in the first place. If you have an injury, get it sorted out by a trained therapist, someone who is involved in sport themselves. I know because when I was young and foolish I trained through injury hoping it would go away and all that generally happens is that it goes from an acute injury that might have taken a few weeks to heal to a chronic one that if your lucky lasts months and if unlucky resurfaces for a few years.

Using poor technique and too much weight teaches your body to recruit muscles with incorrect firing sequences, muscles become tight and facilitated, and developing severe tenderness areas called trigger points. When that happens the body does not function properly and when you ask it to perform optimally on the playing field it can’t.


Train for speed.

If you train using techniques I have highlighted above you will become bigger and stronger but it will not produce a functionally more powerful athlete. Speed is what you want and to do that you need to work on producing the maximum amount of contractile force per pound of muscle mass. I.e. as much force in relation to your muscle size.

To do that you need to use large compound exercises, keep the reps relatively low and have rest periods between 305 minutes. Ideal exercises would be squats, KettleBell front squats, dead lifts, Kettlebell snatches, cleans and clean and jerks.

Under no circumstances should you jump straight into these exercises at near maximal weights unless you have experience, correct core function and good postural alignment. If you don’t, find someone to show you the exercises and assess both your core function and posture

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Guy Noble.
Senior Faculty Trainer
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