Kettlebells: The (Legal) Soviet-Era Testosterone Booster

Wanna shed fat? Gain power? Use these.

By Brendan Joyce

Why a Soviet-Era Training Idea Is the Best Way to Get Power and Lose Weight
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12 May 2016

Taylor Ramsdell, founder of Chain Fitness, is a man’s man’s man: when LA-based fighters need to amp their fitness from elite to competition level, he’s the trainer who makes them suffer in the gym so they don’t suffer in the ring (or cage).

One of the most merciless weapons in his athletic arsenal is the Kettlebell … and he taught us how to wield it.

I’ve heard about Kettlebells. Why should I swing one instead of just keeping up with my gym routine?

It’s never a good idea to reduce fitness programming to one tool. Plus, if you’re looking to work out at home, you can achieve great results with a single Kettlebell used across a wide range of exercises.

What sort of results?

A typical Kettlebell swing helps to open up our hips, strengthen our core and stabilize the spine, serving to correct many imbalances we develop in our bodies due to the demands of everyday life. You also learn to generate a tremendous amount of power. And for those just looking to shed off some fat, it's one hell of a way to do that as well.

What weight Kettlebell should a beginner purchase to get started?

I suggest starting with a 20-24 kg iron Kettlebell for most men. You can obviously go lighter, but I don't recommend going heavier than 24 kg if you are a beginner. Once you learn how to handle the Kettlebell, you can add to your arsenal.

OK, I’m in my living room, just me and my cast iron. How do I start getting those results?

The first exercise I would recommend learning is the Kettlebell Swing.

The swing should start with the Kettlebell in front of the person, as if they were going to hike the Kettlebell back between their legs ... and that's exactly what they should do to initiate the first swing.

Next, when the swing is in motion, the thrust should come from the hips. The arms should only be taming the arc of the Kettlebell. It is not a shoulder raise. The height of the Kettlebell comes directly from the amount of thrust behind the hips. Stand up straight, and don't lean back.

Then, you can accelerate the Kettlebell downwards between the legs with your arms to generate more force on the return. It should be more of a hip hinge, similar to that of a dead lift.

What’s a common mistake that a beginner would make?

Keep that Kettlebell decline high up in your crotch! I once heard "play chicken with the Kettlebell.” It means don't hinge those hips back until the very last moment. Just make sure you don't lose this game of chicken.

So that’s what it looks like. How should I feel?

Aggressive. Explosive. Powerful. High intensity. A body so strong that it looks like you couldn't knock it over with a truck.

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