Working or Training


I was talking to a swim coach theother day and he made the following comment: “I saw something on a website on Kettlebell training and it looks really hard. I think I willput it in my program.” I took a deep breath and admonished him to takea step back and think about what he was trying to achieve. It is hard,but is it beneficial training in the context in which he wants to useit? Kettlebells until you puke may make you tired but will it make youbetter? Before all of you over react and think I am bagging Kettlebellwork read the rest of this post.

Kettlebellwork is a viable training method. It is not new and it was not inventedto train the Russian Special Forces. In fact there was Kettlebelltraining before there were Russian Special Forces. I do not see it as afocal point or a cornerstone of a training program. It is one piece ofthe training puzzle. In my estimation there are many things that must be done to prepare and lead up to Kettlebell work.

Inmy system it is a mode to achieve the following: Total body work -Pulling movements, Upper Body – Pushing movements and Core – Swingingand chopping. As a mode of training it must fit the system – not theother way around. If you do not approach it that way, then the tail iswagging the dog.


Thereare secondary adaptations (I want to credit Carl Valle for this term)that occur with Kettlebell training aside form the strength gains:

1) Increased proprioceptive demand

2) Greater recruitment of synergistic and stabilizing muscles

3) Greater metabolic coast? (Jury is out on this one)

Usethe mode in a system as part of a spectrum strength training approach.One caution is that you can develop some nagging wrist and elbowtendonitis if you do not use proper grip and learn proper technique.

Discuss entry

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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