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Kettlebell Training for Endurance Athletes


A lot of endurance athletes tend to think that any time spent training away from their chosen sport is exercise time wasted. After all, in order to improve in a sport you should focus solely on the sport itself, right?


Nothing could be further from the truth. Its true that if you run marathons, the majority of your training time should be spent running. If you swim, you should spend most of your time swimming. But you can greatly improve your performance by including strength training, such as kettlebell exercises, into your training programs.


Many endurance athletes make the mistake of avoiding cross training, or training outside of their main sport. Even if they do cross train they tend to simply do a different form of endurance training. For example, if a runner wants to cross-train, they hop on their bike or go for a swim. They tend to avoid strength training. But strength training can do wonders for endurance athletes.


If you’re an endurance athlete you might shy away from strength training because you believe it will make you bulk up. And you believe extra bulk will slow you down. While its true extra bulk will slow you down, strength training will help you run, bike, and swim more efficiently. And believe it or not, you can strength train without adding bulk to your body.


This is especially true if you strength train with kettlebells.


Kettlebells for injury prevention

The main reason endurance athletes should strength train is to prevent injury. Running, biking, or swimming for hours on end takes a toll on your muscles and joints. Your body can only take so much before it gives out. When you push your body over the edge, you get injured. Strength training can increase the beating your muscles and joints can take.


The problem with most strength training programs is they don’t work your cardiovascular system. Time spent strength training is time you could be increasing your endurance. Here’s where kettlebells can help the endurance athlete out.


Kettlebell exercises both strengthen your muscles and work your cardiovascular system. And as an endurance athlete, the more you can work your cardiovascular system the better. When you weight train with barbells and dumbells, you’re getting stronger and helping to prevent injury, but you’re wasting valuable time you could be improving your endurance.


Kettlebell exercises are aerobically intense. They improve your cardiovascular system while strengthening your muscles, helping you to prevent injury. And the cardiovascular workout you get with kettlebells directly helps your endurance. The amount of payoff an endurance athlete gets from kettlebell training is incredible.


Kettlebell exercises for improved cardiovascular efficiency

Kettlebell exercises, like the kettlebell swing, strengthen your entire body, not just a specific muscle group, and teach your body to move with more power and balance. Kettlebell exercises help make your body move with more efficiency. When you move efficiently less energy is wasted in unnecessary movement. This efficiency will help you conserve energy and move faster during long, hard events.


Endurance athletes can really benefit from kettlebell training. It would be foolish to avoid kettlebell training because you’re afraid it will add too much muscle mass to your body or because you think all your time should be spent running, biking, or swimming.


Add kettlebell training to improve your race times and to avoid injury.
Guy Noble
senior Faculty instructor.
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