Women are constantly inundated with misinformation regarding exercise and conditioning.
Products and programs are marketed to women with the promise to burn, sculpt, tone, lengthen, target, etc. While these terms sound attractive, they do not have any practical or scientific validity.
When constructing exercise programs for women it is essential to address what women ultimately want from their training as well as delivering programs that address proper hormonal balance, structural health, and injury prevention. Kettlebells are an excellent way for women to achieve their fitness goals for the following reasons.
Kettlebells work energy systems that are essential for fat loss.
A key component of kettlebell training is conditioning. This means the ability to tolerate high-volume, intensive bouts of exercise with short periods of rest. The primary energy system at work in most kettlebell conditioning programs is the glycolitic energy system.
This energy system bridges the gap between power-based exercise and aerobic exercise and has some very specific benefits. For one, the glycolitic system allows for activation of muscles that build strength and endurance.
It also allows for a high output of GH (growth hormone) due to the metabolic bi-product lactate (lactic acid) that accumulates during activities involving high intensity intervals with low rest periods. This is often felt as the “burning” sensation in the muscle as well as becoming out of breath.
Finally, this system provides a mild aerobic benefit as well as an extended increase in metabolism post training as compared to traditional aerobic endurance training. This is beneficial as it allows the body to burn more fat for fuel while at rest due to an increased resting metabolic rate.
Kettlebells help with injury prevention among women.
Because of genetic factors, women tend to be at an increased risk for knee injuries. This has been identified through various studies of young female athletes (who have the highest incidence of ACL injuries) and has been linked to muscular imbalances between the quads and hamstring muscle groups as well as weak lateral stabilizers in the hips (glutes).
This combination puts the knees at an increased risk for instability and injury.
Kettlebell movements focus heavily on the “posterior chain,” meaning the muscles on the back side of the body. So when performed correctly, kettlebell movements are excellent at strengthening the hamstrings, glutes, spinal stabilizers, and muscles responsible for proper posture.
This works as a two-fold benefit as it will strengthen muscles that are traditionally weak in women, as well as serve as a healthy way to cross train for women that do perform consistent aerobic conditioning within their program.
Kettlebells improve bone density and health.
A growing concern for women as they get older is maintaining optimal bone density and warding off osteopenia and osteoporosis.
One of the best ways for women to maintain optimal bone health is through an intensive strength-training program. Kettlebells are a very effective tool for this purpose as evidence shows that when improving bone health, exercise that directly load the spine and hips should be priority.
Most kettlebell movements including swings, cleans, snatches, and presses directly load the spine and hips and therefore can have a substantial impact on improving bone density and health.
These are some of the most notable benefits that can be realized by women who engage in kettlebell training for strength and conditioning. For more information about getting started in a safe and effective strength training program that includes kettlebell training and various other functional methods, visit www.bt-fit.com