- StrongFirst Girya, Level 1 (SFG1), continuously certified since 2013
- StrongFirst Lifter (SFL) since 2018
- Kettlebell Training Academy (KBTA) Trainer, Level 1, certified 2011
- DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) Weightlifting Level 1 course, 2018
- Competitive powerlifter, Master’s II, 57 kg (without wearing a supportive belt, as most lifters do)
Kettlebells and barbells are both great tools, and they each have their own place in the strength training continuum.
Kettlebells are about functional strength, power, and endurance, so they’re a great way to lean up — especially since they can get your heart pumping like crazy. Oh, you want that backed up? The American Council of Exercise has issued a statement that “kettlebells provide a much higher-intensity workout than standard weight-training routines and offer superior results in a short amount of time.”
Their other huge advantage speaks to those who have little time to work out. A solid warmup, a “hit it hard” 15 or 20-minute workout, and ta-dah, you’ve managed to blend postural, core, and cardio work all in one, ready to face the rest of your day.
Kettlebells in particular should be approached with respect to keep your lower back and shoulders safe. They warrant investing in specialized training before using them on your own — and please check the trainer’s certifications!
In contrast, the majority of barbell training is done at a more controlled pace than the kettlebell swing and related ballistic movements, so while a good coach is still important, it can feel less intimidating to learn the movements safely. Additionally, smaller weight increases between each plate means that gains are more easy to make incrementally.
Finally, those looking to pack on more muscle mass are able to spend significantly more time under tension in the hypertrophy (muscle-building) rep range.
(Kettlebell photo credits: Train on Main, Vancouver)