If you walk into any gym, you might find people in the corner working out with a metal ball among those using dumbbells and barbells. This metal ball is called a kettlebell, and it has gained popularity among fitness enthusiasts around the world in recent years.
Kettlebells offer a different dimension to many training programs. Its unique size and shape forces users to use large amounts of force to control weight through a wide range of motion. This helps users build strength and coordination.
For runners, kettlebells also provide certain benefits, especially for building strength around the core, a muscle group that is very important for runners to maintain proper running form and endurance.
Here we have compiled several exercises with kettlebells that will help you as a runner to improve your performance and prevent injuries:
The kettlebell swing is the most common kettlebell exercise. Build and develop power and strength through the hips, especially the hamstrings and glutes. Runners, who constantly pound the pavement with each step, need to do this exercise to improve performance and prevent injury. The explosive nature of the swing also adds a unique dimension to your strength training regiment.
The force needed to do this exercise should come from your hips, not from bending your knees. You should maintain a slight bend but focus on moving your hips to swing the kettlebell. You should not pull the weight with your arms. Your elbows should remain locked throughout the movement and use your upper body to hold onto the swinging kettlebell.
Kettlebell Push Press
As with the swing, the kettleball push press is aimed at building strength and explosiveness. The focus of this exercise is on the upper body. Many runners tend to ignore upper body strength development. They prefer to spend most of their time developing their lower half. Actually, the upper body is very important in maintaining proper running form and breathing, two key factors for optimal performance.
The push press is very special because it channels power from the lower body to the upper body and develops coordination in the process. Do not use your upper body to lift the kettlebell. After slightly bending your hips and knees, you should explode and lift the kettlebell overhead for maximum benefit.
Kettlebell floor to rack
Running may seem like it’s just going in a straight line, but there’s actually a turn that occurs during the run. Therefore, twisting or rotating movements are very important for runners. The Floor to Shelf exercise builds upper body strength with a special focus on the midsection. This exercise also requires eccentric strength, a unique type of movement that requires the obliques to slow down the rotational movement at the sweet spot of the exercise to prevent injury. This eccentric force allows you to avoid excessive rotation during your runs and keeps you in proper running form.
The lower body has a crucial role to play in this exercise. As you twist, you need to focus on turning your feet and hips to complete the movement. This will emphasize rotation while keeping your ankles and knees safe from injury.
Turkish lifting with kettlebells
This is perhaps the most unique kettlebell exercise you’ll see in the gym. This exercise turns something as simple as getting up off the ground into one of the most difficult tasks you’ll perform during your training days. Begin by lying on the floor with your kettlebell, then move to a standing position. This exercise requires a complex series of movements including twists, lunges, and crunches. This basically strengthens your entire body in one movement.
Don’t force yourself to complete the series too quickly. Each part of this exercise will develop a different muscle group in your body. You should focus on moving slowly and pausing temporarily during the more challenging parts of this exercise so that you can build balance and strength.