Nowadays, most runners and cyclists understand the importance of strength training.
When it comes to kettlebells though, many people avoid them because they don’t understand how to use them.
But put that to one side, because kettlebell workouts are the best training for endurance running and cycling, not just for the huge benefits it brings to your performance, but for the fact that it saves SO much time.
Girls Run The World share their insights…
How it works…
In brief, a swing involves holding the kettlebell by its handle with the arms fully extended.
Initially, you keep your back straight and hinge at the hips, allowing the bell to rest between the legs. The swing begins as you explosively drive the hips forward, generating horizontal momentum, causing the kettlebell to travel in an arc from the thighs to eye level.
The muscles of the shoulder and upper back must then contract to decelerate the bell’s travel and resist gravity as the kettlebell returns to the starting position.
NP This dynamic movement involves multiple joints and large muscle groups simultaneously. The core musculature (abdominals and lower, middle, and upper back) are used to both accelerate and decelerate the kettlebell, so it works the entire body.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s three scientifically backed reasons why investing and using a kettlebell is so useful if you’re training for endurance.
1. Two benefits for the price of one
Kettlebells don’t just give you strength, but work you cardiovascularly too. An eight week study by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science, showed a 13% increase in aerobic capacity after training for eight weeks with a kettlebell.
This makes it perfect for those who can’t always get out to run. Use a kettlebell and you get an aerobic workout AND a strength workout.
2. Core Conditioning
The above study, also showed an increase of 70% in abdominal core strength, after just eight weeks of training three times per week with kettlebells. As regular readers of Girl’s Run The World’s blog will know, core strength is essential for stability and performance gains in running and cycling.
Research by the University of Saskatchewan in 2015, who studied the benefits of kettlebells in HiiT training, particularly for women, revealed an increase in anaerobic fitness (speed and power). Just as importantly, or more so for the endurance athletes amongst us, improved anaerobic pathways means a quicker recovery time.
See how to perform a kettlebell swing with Girl’s Run The World’s Rachael Woolston here.
Learn more from the Girls Run the World online Kettlebells for Speed Performance four week programme here.
Article brought to you by the Official Training Partner for Brighton Marathon Weekend, Girls Run The World