Kettlebells have gained popularity in recent years, quickly becoming a favorite piece of equipment for people of all fitness levels, including runners. This popularity isn’t unfounded. After all, kettlebells have been around for more than 200 years and have built their reputation for being high fat-burning and efficient workout tools.
So, why are kettlebells good for runners? According to Anne Jelinek, founder of PULSE Kettlebells & Yoga, kettlebell exercises can help to strengthen key muscles that are often ignored by runners. “Kettlebell swings and goblet squats are ideal exercises for runners because they strengthen trunk and posterior chain muscles (i.e., glutes, hamstrings, abs and latismus dorsi). Kettlebell swings are the perfect way to train both aerobic and anaerobic systems.”
Before you jump on the kettlebell workout train, here are five tips to get the most effective workout:
- Results plan. The first thing you should determine when considering kettlebell workouts is what you want to get out of it. Do you want to build up muscles to increase your efficiency when running? Or, are you looking to build other muscles that aren’t used as much in running, such as your arms and shoulders? This will determine what kettlebell weight works best for you, as well as what training program you should follow.
Weight. Kettlebells come in a variety of weights. If you use one that’s too light or even too heavy, your workouts won’t be as effective. “Starting weight is determined by current levels of strength and conditioning, and should be something challenging yet safe to work with,” advises Jelinek.
Instruction. If you are novice at kettlebells and strength training, look to a certified kettlebell instructor. A certified kettlebell instructor can help you establish a starting level and determine appropriate exercises for your body and overall fitness level. The International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation (IKFF) is a good place to start to find an instructor in your area.
Training. Whether you are training with an instructor or on your own, finding the right workouts are important to ensure you are successful. Top recommended workouts for runners include goblet squats, kettlebell swings and Turkish Get-Up. Workout length is determined by fitness level.
- Time. Juggling several workouts can be challenging, and often, our true passion – running – is what we dedicate any time we have for workout out. However, to truly be effective, kettlebell workouts should be done on a regular basis.