Thursday, June 16, 2016

Kettlebells - The Punk Rock of Strength Training!

“Dude, kettlebell lifters are the punk rockers of the strength sport community!”
Competing with my fellow "punk rockers" at the 2009 Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival.
This was the comment my good friend, and guitarist from my old band, Erik made when he came to watch me compete in the first Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Kettlebell Sport Championship in Columbus, Ohio back in 2009.

After walking around the Arnold Sport Festival expo and seeing the bodybuilder, strongman, and powerlifter types the kettlebell sport lifters offered an interesting dynamic, wiry strength with insane work capacity. I think the kettlebell lifters combined had the most tattoos as well!

Even though kettlebells have been around for many years, they have had a big impact in the strength and fitness world over the last decade. At the highest level is kettlebell sport, a brutal feat of power endurance where athletes compete to see who can perform the most repetitions in the biathlon (jerk and snatch events) or long cycle (clean and jerk event) in a 10 minute time frame.

Outside of the kettlebell sport world strength and fitness enthusiasts are seeing the benefits from lifting kettlebells. They can be used as general physical preparation and conditioning for sport and strength athletes and a stand alone full body fitness system for health and fitness enthusiasts.

Erik was right, there is a definite parallel between punk rock and kettlebell lifting. The do it yourself, no time for bullshit attitude in the world of punk and hardcore is very similar to the bare-bones simplicity of kettlebell training, maybe that’s why my friend Jeremy, guitarist and founding member of Comeback Kid, texted me from a recent tour asking where he could find some kettlebells on the road.

Comeback Kid at the Masquerade Atlanta.
The benefits of kettlebell training are numerous: strength, endurance, active range of motion, building a strong and healthy back, strengthening connective tissue and keeping the joints healthy, and much more. All these things can benefit the touring musician. Ever been cramped up in a van with a band and gear? While a ton of fun, the life of a touring musician can be exhausting. Taking a couple kettlebells on the road to do a 15-30 minute daily workout can combat this easily! I remember an article from a fitness magazine about a tour bus driver (Metallica’s driver at the time if I remember correctly) who kept a set of kettlebells on the bus. When they got to the venue and the band would unload, he’d drag the kettlebells out into the parking lot and train!

When Comeback Kid came through Atlanta they stopped by my gym for a kettlebell training session, followed by some killer vegan food before heading up to Ohio for the next stop of the tour. After we went over the basic technique of the lifts, I took them through a short full body training sessions to demonstrate how with a kettlebell, a little bit of time, and a lot of effort you can kick your own ass pretty quick!
Lifting kettlebells with Comeback Kid at Extreme Performance Training Systems.
Comeback Kid’s Kettlebell Circuit

Notes: Do not rest between exercises, rest for up to a minute or so between circuits and repeat 3-5 times, this will give you 15-25 minutes of work. Use a moderately heavy kettlebell and focus on good technique and clean repetitions.

  1. Front Squat x 60 seconds
  2. Clean & Press x 30 seconds each arm
  3. Clean x 30 seconds each arm
  4. Snatch x 30 seconds each arm
  5. 1-arm swing x 30 seconds each arm

Kettlebells are a great option for strength and fitness. They can easily be incorporated into your current strength training program, and if you need to keep things at a low drag, bare-bones level like a touring punk rock band, they do very well as a stand alone training option. However, I strongly recommend you add Comeback Kid to your training playlist!

Stay Strong AND Healthy!



  1. That Erik guy sure is wise...or maybe a wiseguy! ;)

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