For the last couple of years, kettle bells have stormed the gym scene. Almost everywhere you look, you see classes with trainers using them. Kettle bells stem from the former Soviet Union where they were widely used amongst the Speznaz elite troops. It is from there that I want to start my criticism. 20 something, highly trained soldiers have different abilities and needs than the average gym goer. Kettle bells are often used in dynamic overhead motions, which present a huge injury risk. Let’s face it: most people can’t even perform a simple body weight squat without leaning forward or their knees buckling inwards. Why on earth would you add another element of instability? Is this person going to play in the NFL or hunt terrorists? No! Most likely, he or she just wants to look good at the beach.

But what about all of the core work? I’m glad you asked! A barbell squat and deadlift will train your core with more weight and less risk of an injury. How’s that for a trade off? I am going to make myself unpopular and say that kettle bells are not needed for the vast majority of gym goers. In my opinion, they are just used by bad trainers to make up a “new and exciting” routine. The truth is that for the goals of most people, dumbbells and barbells are sufficient. And did I mention that building a physique is 80% diet? Stay with the dumbbells, it worked for Arnold!

Train hard,
Maik Wiedenbach