Improving strength, speed and power with kettlebell training is on the rise. Find out what researchers think of it.
As the kettlebell has gained more popularity again over the last couple of decades, it has a long history in strength and conditioning in Eastern Europe. Kettlebell researchers, Lake and Lauder, at the University of Chichester in the UK put together a study comparing the effects of kettlebell training versus jump squat power training. The measures used to quantify the two methods was the 1 repetition maximum of the half squat and vertical jump height.
It is already general accepted that jump squat power training improves both jump height and half squat performance. Twenty-one healthy men between 18 and 27 years of age, weighing an average of 76 kg, and who were proficient at performing a half squat were recruited to the study. They were randomly separated into two groups; the KB (Kettltebell) training group or the JS (jump squat) group.
Tests were administered before and after the experimental period to measure half squat 1RM and vertical jump height. Over the course of 6 weeks, the KB group performed a 12 minute bout of training twice per week and the JS group performed 4 sets of 3 jump squats with a load. Accommodations were made in the load to both groups based on their body weight and pre test scores.
The post test results showed a 9.8% increase in maximum strength by the end of the training period, and no significant difference in improvements were found between the two groups.
Explosive strength improved by nearly 20% in both groups, showing no significant differences between the KB and JS groups.
Researchers concluded that both methods of training to improve strength and explosiveness are effective and should be a part of regular strength and conditioning programs.
Lake, JP, and Lauder, MA. 2012. "Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 26(8): 2228-2233.