Kettlebells vs Barbells

Kettlebells vs Barbells: Pro’s and Con’s Discussion

kettlebellsBy Jack Woodrup,

I have been wrong. And not just a little bit wrong, but apparently, a lot wrong. You see I have until recently felt that kettlebells have been wildly overrated as far as athletic development, or more specifically, strength development goes. Outside of kettlebell swings (which for the record I have always loved), I have for the most part thought that any exercise you could do with a kettlebell you could do just as well, if not better with a dumbbell or a barbell.

However, recent experiences have taught me that this just isn’t the case. Let me explain. It all started with my love hate relationship to squats. I loved doing them, and have achieved some pretty good relative squat strength based results, but the fact is that I have never really been a great squatter. Every improvement in squat strength has taken a lot of dedicated effort and persistence and the most I have ever squatted without using chains or bands is 355lb (160kg @ 74kg, good for 2.16X BW. Also coincided with when I was jumping my highest).

So last year when I moved to Nashville, between the stress of the move, the displacement from my previously fully equipped gym to a cramped and only moderately well equipped gym in my basement, and my body just feeling being beat up all the time, I decided to stop squatting for a few months. Those few months pretty quickly turned into a year.

So what got me back into squatting? Well a number of things happened. Firstly I read an interesting article on T-Nation that stated:

“With kettlebells, you can decrease the training load by up to 75% and still make significant progress in strength, power, and body composition goals. While some may argue that kettlebells put you at a mechanical disadvantage (which is what forces you to use less weight), it really all boils down to tension.

The Central Nervous System (CNS) doesn’t know the difference between 300 pounds on your shoulders and 120-pound kettlebells in hand. The CNS does understand tension though, and if kettlebell training offers any benefit, it’s learning how to develop and use full-body tension.”

For the complete article, visit here.

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