Kettlebell and powerlifting: at last some evidence!

At first everyone was skeptic about my heterodox hybrid training methods, which included kettlebells. Why kettlebells? After all, its manipulating a little load, a lot of times, when you actually need to improve your ability to manipulate a lot of weight, just one time.

All my claims on transfer, functional transfer (“hey guys, it’s not the lift, it’s the power!”) and stability didn’t do the trick.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, here’s a nice, well published, peer reviewed paper on the matter. Does it mean I was right and this is the truth? No! But it sure helps build my case, doesn’t it? Be honest: now you take the claim seriously. You might even read the paper and consider incorporating the damn cannon balls to your training.

This semester was too chaotic for me to do any systematic, serious kettlebell training. I did, though, seriously cross-train with Olympic weightlifting.

One thing at a time.

Kettlebells are on my menu for the preparation towards the Worlds, in November-December.

Watch me.


J Strength Cond Res. 2012 May 3. [Epub ahead of print]


Manocchia PSpierer DKLufkin AKMinichiello JCastro J.


1Human Performance Laboratory, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn New York. 2LaPalestra Center for Preventative Medicine, New York, New York.


ABSTRACT:: Kettlebells are a popular implement in many strength and conditioning programs and, their benefits are touted in popular literature, books and videos. However, clinical data on their efficacy is limited. The purpose of this study was to examine whether kettlebell training transfers strength and power to weightlifting and powerlifting exercises and improves muscular endurance. Thirty-seven subjects were assigned to an experimental (EXP n=23; mean age = 40.9 ± 12.9) or a control group (CON; n=14; mean age = 39.6 ± 15.8 years), range 18-72 years. Participants were required to perform assessments including a barbell clean and jerk, barbell bench press, maximal vertical jump, and 450 back extensions to volitional fatigue before and after a 10-week kettlebell training program. Training was structured in a group setting for 2 days per week for 10 weeks. A repeated measures ANOVA was conducted to determine group x time interactions and main effects. Post hoc pairwise comparisons were conducted when appropriate. Bench press revealed a time x group interaction and a main effect (p < 0.05). Clean and jerk and back extension demonstrated a trend toward a time x group interaction, but it did not reach significance (p = 0.053). However, clean and jerk did reveal a main effect for time (p < 0.05). No significant findings were reported for maximal vertical jump. Results demonstrate a transfer of power and strength in response to 10 weeks of training with kettlebells. Traditional training methods may not be convenient or accessible for strength and conditioning specialists, athletes, coaches and recreational exercisers. The current data suggest that kettlebells may be an effective alternative tool to improve performance in weightlifting and powerlifting.


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