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Weightlifting and Kettlebell Training

Choosing a training style? Researchers wanted to determine the difference between some of the most popular and successful training methods, weightlifting and kettlebell training. The purpose of the study was to determine how each of the training styles improved vertical jump, muscle force and body composition.

While there is a good body of research on the benefits of weightlifting, and specifically on the snatch and clean and jerk, there is little on the effects of kettlebell training. Kettlebell training has been around for centuries, but has only recently been used as a method in strength and conditioning. It has been proposed that the benefits of kettlebell training are similar to that of weightlifting, but there only one other known study on it, examining the consumption and training.

Researchers at the Department of Kinesiology, California State University completed a 6 week long study using 30 male participants. Each of the participants were randomly assigned to either train in weightlifting or Kettlebell. The participants averaged 23 years, and were measured at baseline and after completing the 6 week trial. Each participant trained 2 times per week and increased volume of training at the same times.

Hight and weight were measured, as well as body composition using the skinfolds test. Additionally, the participants completed a 1 RM (1 repetition maximum) for squats to measure strength, and 1 RM power clean and vertical jump to measure power.

The importance of this study helps researchers, coaches and trainers to fully understand the effect that each type of training has on different objectives in sport and athletics. This study and others proves that different methods of training may lead to the same outcome, though some are far more efficient than others.

The results of the study showed that weightlifting and kettlebell training were both effective in the short term at improving strength and power. The gains made in strength were greater in the group which trained in weightlifting compared to kettlebell training. Neither of the two training methods lead to any changes in weight or body composition.

Based on the results of this study, weightlifting and kettlebell training help to improve a wide variety of goals which other athletes may want to improve upon. Further studies would be helpful to determine the long term effects of training using weightlifting versus kettlebell training to fully understand how each of the methods may improve performance in the long-run.


William H. Otto, III, Jared W. Coburn, Lee E. Brown, Barry A. Spiering. 2012. "Effects of Weightlifting Vs. Kettlebell Training on Vertical Jump, Strength, and Body Composition" Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25(6)1199-1202.

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