It is all too common for endurance athletes to lack muscular strength. Off-season strength training is confined to isolated strength training machines, while in-season strength training is frequently overlooked. As a result, endurance athletes develop overuse injuries and muscular imbalances that could be prevented through functional strength training. Instead of wasting your time at the gym with remedial strength machines and circuits, consider adding kettlebell training into your workout routine.

Kettlebell training encompasses elements of strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, core strengthening, and dynamic flexibility into one workout. When using a kettlebell, the asymmetrical construction of the weight requires you to recruit more muscles as you perform different exercises through varied movement patterns. Training in this manner will result in gains of overall strength and cardiovascular stamina, but the benefits exceed these baseline improvements. Kettlebell training will enhance your range of movement through forward, backwards and lateral pathways. You will improve your balance as you build unilateral strength and learn to move your body’s center of gravity. Improvements in core strength allow the body to move more efficiently, helping you perform athletic movements with ease.

Improvements in core strength and explosive hip drive will translate directly to improvements in an athlete’s ability to train harder, longer. For example, a triathlete can expect to experience improved running posture, increased power output on the bike, and an ability to generate greater propulsion through the water during the swim. There will be a decrease in the likelihood of injury as you strength your lower back, knees, core and posterior chain. Additionally, you can expect to experience significant improvements in your VO2 Max, or your body’s ability to use oxygen during exercise, as your heart rate sky rockets during a 20-minute workout that challenges your cardiovascular capacity.

As a triathlete, kettlebell instructor, and someone who uses kettlebells in my workouts, trust me when I tell you that you will not find another method as efficient at increasing muscular strength and cardiovascular capacity simultaneously as kettlebell training. Stop neglecting strength training and start using kettlebells for a fast and effective total body workout.

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