March 30, 2009By By Rett Larson, Velocity Sports Performance

Invented by the Russians over 300 years ago, the kettlebell is enjoying a surge in popularity these days – and for good reason.  Kettlebell training has been shown to build strength, increase cardiovascular conditioning, and improve body composition.  And unlike other fitness trends that have come and gone, kettlebells appear to have some staying-power within the sports performance community.  Advocates like the kettlebell and its most basic exercise, The Swing, because it so closely mimics sport movements.  The bottom position of the swing is similar in joint angles to the pre-load of a jump, and the triple extension required to swing the bell back up to shoulder height closely resembles the extension necessary in acceleration. 
On top of that, exercise physiologists like the way a kettlebell swing trains “pulsing” core stiffness.  Each swing requires both a full contraction followed immediately by relaxation, much like the intermittent stiffness necessary in sprinting.  And, unlike plyometrics or Olympic lifts, kettlebell exercises keep your feet on the ground the whole time, saving joints from unnecessary volumes of impact.

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