How Are Kettlebells Effective? Looking at metabolism…

No matter what time of year it is, whether you are trying to look good for the beach this summer, or trying to keep a New Year’s Resolution, or simply to look and feel good, most people are always thinking of ways to get leaner and look better with the time constraints that they have.

Your muscles use three energy systems:

1. The creatine phosphate system- for movements that last ten seconds or less

2. The glycolytic system- from ten seconds to approximately 2-3 minutes

3. The aerobic system- for movements lasting more than three minutes continuously

Kettlebell swings are a continuous, ballistic motion that can be done continuously to address all three energy systems. Research has shown that training even the first two energy systems in a high intensity, low volume style, despite being anaerobic, can and do improve your VO2max in the same way that much longer, steady states of aerobic training can.  For example, doing 15 seconds of swings cycled with 15 seconds of rest for a certain number of rounds, with a kettlebell weight that provides sufficient challenge, can improve your VO2max in a similar fashion as, say, a Tabata protocol. The excessive post oxygen consumption, what some people refer to as “afterburn”, is what happens when your body is recovering from a bout of exercise with your systems undergoing remodeling from the stimulation you just gave it with the training session. This can enable your body to burn calories at a higher rate long after you are done with the training session.

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