Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Low budget strength training

The benefits of strength training are numerous.  To name just a few:

  1. strengthening bones (especially important for women who are more at risk of osteoporosis)
  2. decreasing body fat
  3. improving appearance (which in turn helps to improve self confidence)
  4. for the men, weight bearing exercises also aid in increasing testosterone levels.  

My personalised weekly coaching plan includes several strength training sessions.  I usually do  one or two CrossFit lessons and a one to one Pilates lesson.  I won't lie to you though, this combo does not come cheap.

So what if you are on a very limited budget and still want to get the benefits of strength training?  What gives you the most bang for your buck?  Having tried many different forms of strength training from yoga and Pilates to free weights, gym, CrossFit and kettlebells, one of these for me stands out the most.  It is very cheap to do (requiring a one off purchase), exercises the whole body at once in a very functional way, and can be done in as little as 15 minutes.

Have you guessed it yet?  I am talking about kettlebells.

Kettlebells are nothing new.  The Russians have been using since the 1700s.  They differ from traditional dumbbells in that the kettlebell's centre of mass is extended beyond the hand, which facilitates swinging movements.  It requires power and strength from the core and immense stability from large muscle groups to control the movement.  According to Wikipedia

By their nature, typical kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength.[1][4][3] The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once,[3] and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling or farm work.[1][4][2]

I want to introduce Anny to the power of kettlebells so I am going to go out and buy a small kettlebell in the next few days.  When she gets back from her business trip I will show her one of the easiest but most effective kettlebell exercises, the kettlebell swing.  She will have a super strong core and back in no time at all.  This will also benefit her running form.

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