“Kettlebells are a fad.”
… Quipped the naysayers.
Some are still quipping.
Except some of my clients, customers, and I have been using them almost 20 years.
Since January 2002.
When programmed properly, the kettlebell delivers serious transformational results.
That’s the key:
Properly designed kettlebell programs are exceptional for men over 35 to use. (And a select group of women.*)
They can help you:
[+] Get Stronger
[+] Build Muscle
[+] Improve Heart & Lung Health
[+] Feel young(er) again
Mileage & Shape.
REASON #1: Mileage.
We older dudes over 35 tend to have “mileage.”
Some of us have “higher mileage” than others.
Injuries and “issues” collected from athletics, sports, and traditional “meathead” gym workouts…
Or deployments to remote desert places with “-stan” in their names…
Or protecting and serving – repeatedly putting bodies between victims and bad and ugly situations…
Mileage damages joints, ruptures muscles, yanks tendons from bones, and steals life from our years.
Mileage makes it difficult, challenging, and in some cases, downright impossible to enjoy our kids, grand kids, and our once active lives.
This is where the kettlebell shines…
REASON #2: Shape.
The shape of the kettlebell is unique.
Almost 20 years ago when they were hardly mainstream, people would ask me, “What’s that cannonball-with-a-handle looking thing for?”
They’re found in pretty much every gym in the Western World (the ones re-opened from the Pandemic), online sporting goods stores, and even Wal-Mart.
The offset handle offers multiple advantages not found in traditional weight training equipment like barbells, dumbbells, and of course, the Pec Deck.
These include but are not limited to the following:
[+] Increased muscle activation in the upper body while holding it so that your shoulders, arms, and upper back get stronger and bigger, faster…
[+] Stronger hand, finger, wrist and grip strength…
[+] Increased muscle activation in the lower body when doing swings, cleans, and snatches (due to the pendular motion which places a bigger stretch on the hips and legs), for more explosive power and strength…
[+] Improved joint mobility and muscle flexibility so that you get rid of joint stiffness and sore, achey muscles…
[+] Improved core strength and lower back endurance (from the anti-rotation and anti-flexion demands of the single kettlebell lifts) so that you don’t hurt your back lifting or doing every day activities like shoveling snow or bending over to tie your shoes…
[+] Challenged heart and lung function without pounding on the joints common to running and traditional cardio, so that you can stave off heart disease, diabetes, and the side effects associated with them (like amputation, erectile dysfunction, and death)…
[+] Rehabbed shoulders and lower backs, so you can put your arms over your head again or pick stuff up off the floor without getting the shooting pain of sciatica down your leg(s)…
[+] Increased sense of “resilience” so you don’t feel 62 at 42, 72 at 52, and end up flinging poop across the room at your grown children while the nurse changes your diaper in a nursing home…
Considerations For The Over 35 Man*
In their book, Biomarkers: The 10 Keys to Prolonging Vitality, Drs. Evans and Rosenberg say stopping muscle loss (sarcopenia) is the #1 priority for those of us who wish to brake or reverse the aging process.
Here are their Top 10:
- Lean body (muscle) mass
- Basal metabolic rate
- Body fat percentage
- Aerobic capacity
- Blood pressure
- Insulin sensitivity
- Cholesterol/HDL ratio
- Bone density
- Body temperature regulation
It’s interesting to note that according to research, men over 30 lose 10% of their lean body mass each decade.
That means, with no intervention, by the age of 70, left unchecked, you will lose 40% of your muscle.
And that negatively affects Biomarkers 2 through 10.
And that also explains why you see most men over 60 who are suffering from “Furniture Disease” –
Where their chest falls into their drawers.
… and why so many end up in skilled nursing facilities having their diapers changed.
Proper Scientific Kettlebell Programming
Many people think the kettlebell is an “endurance” tool just for “conditioning.”
They’re not wrong, per se.
But they’re also not right.
Effective kettlebell training is more than just MetCon –
A bunch of junk reps done with a light kettlebell for time.
Much, much more…
Imagine for a moment how “strong”… how “powerful”… how “muscular” you’d be if you could lift a pair of 48kg (106lb) kettlebells to your shoulders and press them overhead… 10 times.
96kg or 212lbs for 10 reps of the Clean & Press.
Yeah, you’d be “pretty strong.”
You’d also have a fair amount of muscle on your frame – and in all the “right” places –
Hips, upper and lower back, shoulders, arms, forearms…
And look –
According to Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, the “Father” of Plyometrics –
“Simply” cleaning a pair of 32kg kettlebells ten times kept the heart rates of elite Olympic lifters elevated for 10 minutes.
So that covers the “conditioning” base.
Finally, I dare say you’d have a fair amount of personal confidence as a result.
A Strong Foundation
Strength – or “maximum strength,” – is the “Mother Quality,” according to Soviet Sports Scientist, Dr. Leonid Matveyev. That means all other qualities are “birthed” from being strong, or focusing on strength.
A stronger muscle has the potential to become a bigger muscle.
And vice versa.
Alternate between strength getting and muscle building.
Yes, the barbell is, in some cases, the superior tool to achieving maximum strength.
However, the downside is threefold:
Yeah, back to that again.
The barbell is a cruel mistress.
It finds and punishes your “issues.”
The kettlebell on the other hand allows you to work around those issues.
It fortifies weak links, reduces strain on the affected area(s), and in many cases, virtually erases said issues.
This is why there is tons of anecdotal evidence about kettlebell Swings fixing bad lower backs…
… And Turkish Get Ups fixing busted shoulders.
Think “strength you can use.”
Many grapplers have found kettlebell training allows them to express or apply their strength. For many, including grapplers I have trained, the barbell does not.
Training with a barbell is like having money in a bank account you can’t touch.
This isn’t a bad thing unless you need it – like to buy groceries, or call a restoration service after a pipe burst in your basement.
The kettlebell by contrast, is like having a specialized investment account.
In it, you keep adding to the principal and living off a consistent 10% interest.
Kettlebell training builds “functional” strength – strength you can use in everyday situations.
Ever try to load a 7 foot barbell into the trunk of your car along with 400 pounds of plates into the backseat?
Not an easy task.
The kettlebell by contrast can be buckled into the backseat and taken to the park.
Or you can haul it upstairs from the basement to the backyard to enjoy multiple sets of Swings and the Spring sunshine and get in some Vitamin D.
And which is why, when the stuff hit the fan with the COVID Pandemic, kettlebell suppliers suddenly found themselves sold out.
So proper kettlebell programming addresses the following:
[+] Building lean muscle mass
[+] Flexibility / Mobility
… Sometimes in phases, sometimes grouped together into one program.
Which brings us to –
Chasing Strength Kettlebell Programs
Generally speaking, Chasing Strength kettlebell programming is based upon the following:
 Olympic Weightlifting methodology,
 Soviet weightlifting program design, and
 Power and strength-endurance training needed for the sport of wrestling…
… Proven in the trenches since 1996.
When combined, there’s literally nothing you cannot do.
This hybrid methodology is based on my 29+ years of training people from all walks of life, my experience as a state champion and national caliber Olympic lifter, a wrestler, and a Division 1 Strength & Conditioning coach who trained, among others, college wrestlers.
So you’ll experience a blend of training that focuses on building muscle, maximum strength, power, and specific conditioning, which makes you –
[+] More muscular
[+] Better conditioned
So that you can do more of the things you enjoy with the people you love most, without physical limitation.
It’s quite possible that you will feel practically unstoppable.
What People Say About Chasing Strength
Programming & Methodology
*NOTE: About training “select women”…
I have always trained women. Including my wife’s volleyball team at Rutgers University. And I still have female clients today. I just don’t go out of my way to “market” to them. I just don’t want to deal with “firming,” “toning,” “tightening,” “shaping,” “sculpting,” or any other stupid pejorative advertising term and have to explain that those things simply do not exist. For women, like my wife, and my current female clients, who actually want to use “science” to “get in shape,” then my programming works like gangbusters.