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Effects of Kettlebell Training on Aerobic Capacity

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of a kettlebell training program on aerobic capacity. Seventeen female NCAA Division I collegiate soccer players (age 19.7 +/- 1.0 years, height 166.1 +/- 6.4 cm, body mass 64.2 +/- 8.2 kg) completed a graded exercise test to determine maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Participants were placed into a kettlebell intervention (KB) group (n = 9) or a circuit weight training control (CWT) group (n = 8). Participants in the KB group completed a kettlebell snatch test to determine individual snatch repetitions. Both groups trained 3 days a week for 4 weeks in addition to their off-season strength and conditioning program. The KB group performed the 15:15 MVO2 protocol (20 min of kettlebell snatching with 15 s work and rest intervals). The CWT group performed multiple free weight and dynamic body weight exercises as part of a continuous circuit program for 20 min. The 15:15 MVO2 protocol significantly increased VO2max in the KB group. The average increase was 2.3 ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1, or approximately a 6% gain. There was no significant change in VO2max in the CWT control group. Thus, the 4-week 15:15 MVO2 kettlebell protocol, using high intensity kettlebell snatches, significantly improved aerobic capacity in female intercollegiate soccer players and could be used as an alternative mode to maintain or improve cardiovascular conditioning. Copyright (C) 2015 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.
EFFECTS OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING ON
AEROBIC CAPACITY
J. ASHER FALATIC,
1
PEGGY A. PLATO,
1
CHRISTOPHER HOLDER,
2
DARYL FINCH,
3
KYUNGMO HAN,
1
AND CRAIG J. CISAR
1
1
Department of Kinesiology, San Jose´State University, San Jose´, California;
2
Intercollegiate Athletics, Cal Poly, San Luis
Obispo, California; and
3
Department of Athletics, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho
ABSTRACT
Falatic, JA, Plato, PA, Holder, C, Finch, D, Han, K, and Cisar, CJ.
Effects of kettlebell training on aerobic capacity. J Strength Cond
Res 29(7): 1943–1947, 2015—This study examined the effects of
a kettlebell training program on aerobic capacity. Seventeen
female National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I colle-
giate soccer players (age: 19.7 61.0 years, height: 166.1 6
6.4 cm, weight: 64.2 68.2 kg) completed a graded exercise test
to determine maximal oxygen consumption (V
_
O
2
max). Participants
were assigned to a kettlebell intervention group (KB) (n=9)or
a circuit weight-training (CWT) control group (n= 8). Participants
in the KB group completed a kettlebell snatch test to determine
individual snatch repetitions. Both groups trained 3 days a week
for 4 weeks in addition to their off-season strength and condition-
ing program. The KB group performed the 15:15 MVO
2
protocol
(20 minutes of kettlebell snatching with 15 seconds of work and
rest intervals). The CWT group performed multiple free-weight
and dynamic body-weight exercises as part of a continuous circuit
program for 20 minutes. The 15:15 MVO
2
protocol significantly
increased V
_
O
2
max in the KB group. The average increase was 2.3
ml$kg
21
$min
21
, or approximately a 6% gain. There was no sig-
nificant change in V
_
O
2
max in the CWT control group. Thus, the 4-
week 15:15 MVO
2
kettlebell protocol, using high-intensity kettle-
bell snatches, significantly improved aerobic capacity in female
intercollegiate soccer players and could be used as an alternative
mode to maintain or improve cardiovascular conditioning.
KEY WORDS aerobic conditioning, interval training, V
_
O
2
INTRODUCTION
In the past decade, kettlebell (KB) training has gained
popularity in the United States and become a viable
option for strength training and conditioning. Kettle-
bells are an ideal tool for ballistic full-body exercises
using high muscle forces, making them potentially useful for
improving muscular strength and cardiorespiratory fitness
(11). Studies have examined the cardiovascular and meta-
bolic effects of a kettlebell workout (1,2,5,10,13,16). Specifics
of the workout routines have varied (i.e., kettlebell weight,
exercises, sets, repetitions, duration, and rest); however, most
results indicate that the intensity is sufficient to improve
cardiorespiratory fitness. Performing 12 minutes of continu-
ous kettlebell swings provided a metabolic challenge of suf-
ficient intensity, 87% of maximal heart rate (HR
max
) and 65%
of maximal oxygen consumption (V
_
O
2
max), to increase
aerobic capacity (4), with gains greater than that seen with
traditional circuit weight training (CWT). Similar results
have been reported with interval kettlebell training. Using
the kettlebell snatch, clean to press, and swing, heart rates
averaged 88% of age-predicted HR
max
and 90% of V
_
O
2
max
during three 6-min cycles of 30 seconds of work and rest
intervals (5). During the workout, perceived exertion was
rated as hard (15 on the Borg’s 6-20 scale). Using multiple
5- to 7-minute cycles of 9 kettlebell exercises performed at
a self-selected pace, V
_
O
2
and HR were comparable with
commonly used modes of aerobic exercise, such as incline
walking, stationary cycling, and running (2). Jay (11) devel-
oped a conditioning protocol designed to improve aerobic
capacity that uses high-intensity kettlebell snatch intervals.
Dubbed the 15:15 MVO
2
protocol, it involves multiple sets
of 15 seconds of kettlebell snatching alternating with 15
seconds of rest. Average heart rate was 93% of HR
max
and
oxygen consumption was 78% of V
_
O
2
max when performing
the 15:15 MVO
2
protocol for 20 minutes (16–17). According
to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise inten-
sities between 77 and 90% of HR
max
or above 40–50% of
oxygen uptake reserve are sufficient to improve cardiorespi-
ratory fitness (20). Thus, the 15:15 MVO
2
protocol should
improve aerobic fitness and increase V
_
O
2
max.
Higher exercise intensities have been shown to elicit
greater improvements in V
_
O
2
max than lower exercise inten-
sities (6). High-intensity interval training (HIIT) requires
working at or near maximal intensity for shorter periods.
Interval running at 90–95% of HR
max
improved V
_
O
2
max in
untrained and moderately trained individuals more than
training at 70–80% of HR
max
(9,19). Similarly, performing
HIIT programs on a cycle ergometer at supramaximal
Address correspondence to Jonathan A. Falatic, jafalatic@gmail.com.
29(7)/1943–1947
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Ó2015 National Strength and Conditioning Association
VOLUME 29 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2015 | 1943
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Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
intensities (120–170% V
_
O
2
max) increased aerobic capacity
more than low-intensity continuous work (7,18). Enhancing
aerobic capacity through HIIT can also lead to improvements
in athletic performance. After 4 weeks of HIIT, well-trained
rowers significantly improved their 2,000 m times, (3) whereas
cyclists improved their 40-km time trials (14). Additionally,
HIIT increased the aerobic capacity of soccer players and
enhanced multiple variables of soccer performance (8).
Although many kettlebell workouts incorporate work and
rest cycles consistent with HIIT and intensities sufficient to
improve aerobic capacity, to our knowledge, only 1 study
has measured changes in aerobic capacity resulting from
a kettlebell training program. Jay et al. (12) measured aerobic
training effects in relatively inactive individuals with neck
and low back pain. Participants performed 10 repetitions of
kettlebell swings and deadlifts with 30–60 seconds of rest
between sets, 3 days a week for 8 weeks. Kettlebell weight
or repetitions were progressively increased. There were
significant reductions in neck, shoulder, and low back pain
compared with an inactive control group; however, there
was no change in V
_
O
2
max, measured using A
˚strand’s sub-
maximal cycling test.
Although Schnettler et al. (17) reported that the 15:15
MVO
2
protocol elicits intensities sufficient to improve
V
_
O
2
max, no studies have examined the effects of this training
protocol on aerobic capacity. The kettlebell snatch is
a common exercise used by those who regularly train with
kettlebells and has considerable carryover to physical activ-
ities such as running and jumping (21). Thus, this form of
training may be appropriate for athletes and provide an alter-
native mode of exercise to enhance aerobic capacity. During
the snatch, the kettlebell travels from between an individual’s
legs to a lockout position above the head. This motion is
reversed and repeated at a rapid pace, increasing the velocity
that the kettlebell travels. As velocity increases, power out-
put increases, resulting in a higher caloric expenditure and
oxygen consumption (11). The purpose of this study was to
examine the effects of a high-intensity 4-week kettlebell
training program on aerobic capacity in collegiate female
soccer athletes. It was hypothesized that the kettlebell train-
ing program would increase aerobic capacity, with gains
greater than that observed in a CWT control group.
METHODS
Experimental Approach to the Problem
To evaluate the effects of the kettlebell training program on
aerobic capacity, athletes were assigned to a KB training
group or a CWT control group. Aerobic capacity was
measured during a maximal graded exercise test (GXT) on
a bicycle ergometer before and after the 4-week training
program. Eighteen female collegiate soccer players were
recruited as participants and assigned to either the KB or
CWT group. Athletes in the KB group implemented a kettle-
bell protocol as part of an off-season workout, whereas
athletes in the CWT group followed a typical strength and
conditioning program. Kettlebell training was conducted 3
days per week for 4 weeks.
Subjects
All subjects were on the roster of a National Collegiate
Athletic Association Division I collegiate women’s soccer
team; 21 athletes were eligible to participate. Approval was
obtained from the University’s Institutional Review Board for
Human Subjects, and all athletes provided written consent and
an updated medical history before testing. Within the year, all
athletes had undergone a medical examination and were
cleared for athletic participation. Two athletes had injuries that
prevented pretesting; a third athlete sustained an injury after
completing the pretesting. Thus, 18 athletes were assigned to
a training group. Those assigned to the KB group (n=10)
demonstrated safe and efficient technique when performing
the kettlebell snatch. This was assessed by a Russian Kettlebell
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (RKC/CSCS).
Athletes not selected for the KB group were assigned to the
CWTgroup (n= 8). All athletes frequently trained with kettle-
bells as part of their seasonal strength and conditioning
program, although the kettlebell snatch was not an exercise
routinely implemented. One athlete in the KB group com-
pleted the training sessions but sustained an injury before the
posttest. She was cleared to participate, but during the posttest,
she reported symptoms, and the GXT was stopped before she
reached maximal effort. Because of this, her data were
excluded from the analyses. Thus, data are reported for 17
participants, 9 in the KB group and 8 in the CWT group.
Procedures
Test Session 1. During the first test session, weight and height
were measured using a platform scale and stadiometer,
respectively. Aerobic capacity was measured during a max-
imal GXT using an Ultima metabolic cart (Medical Graphics
Corp., St. Paul, MN, USA) and a Lode Excalibur electronic
cycle ergometer. Heart rate and rhythm were monitored
from a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). Seat height was
adjusted parallel to the participants’ greater trochanter while
standing next to the cycle ergometer. Resting blood pressure
and ECG were recorded while seated on the ergometer.
Athletes were connected to the metabolic cart by an air-
tight facemask fitted with a pneumotach and sampling line.
Ventilation and oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations in
the expired air were measured with each breath. Subjects
selected a comfortable pedaling rate and were encouraged
to maintain that cadence throughout the test. After a 2-
minute unloaded warm-up, resistance increased by 25 W
each minute until the athlete could not continue. Blood
pressure was manually measured every 2 minutes during
the GXT, and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were ob-
tained each minute using Borg’s 6-20 scale. Athletes were
considered to have achieved a maximal effort if 2 of the
following criteria were met: (a) a heart rate within
12 b$min
21
of age-predicted maximal heart rate, calculated
as 207 2(0.7 3age in years); (b) a respiratory exchange
Effects of Kettlebell Training
1944
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
the
TM
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Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
ratio .1.10 or an RPE $17 (20). To evaluate aerobic training
effects, the same GXT protocol was repeated after the
4-week training period.
Test Session 2. During the second test session, individual
kettlebell snatch repetitions were determined for athletes in
the KB group. A continuous 5-minute kettlebell snatch
procedure was used, with the snatch cadence increasing
each minute. Athletes used a 12-kg Russian Kettlebell to
perform their snatches after a 5-minute warm-up, performing
kettlebell swings at their own intensity. During each minute
of the test, athletes switched arms, with the dominant arm
starting the test. During the first minute, athletes performed
10 snatches or 1 snatch every 6.0 seconds. Snatch cadence
increased each successive minute. During the second, third,
and fourth minute, athletes performed 14, 18, and 22
snatches, respectively. This corresponded to a snatch
cadence of 1 snatch every 4.2, 3.3, and 2.7 seconds,
respectively. The test administrator cued athletes by calling
“swing” in time with the set cadence. During the fifth minute,
athletes performed as many kettlebell snatches as possible,
with this number divided by 4. The resulting number repre-
sented the kettlebell repetitions performed during each
15-second work interval of the kettlebell training interven-
tion. A Gymboss interval timer (Gymboss; St. Clair, Monta-
na) was used to maintain work and rest intervals (15 seconds
each). The number of kettlebell snatches performed during
each work interval ranged between 7 and 9 repetitions; 6
athletes performed 9 snatches, 2 performed 8 snatches, and
1 performed 7 snatches during each 15-second work interval.
Training. After completing all pretesting, athletes continued
their off-season strength and conditioning program under the
supervision of the RKC/CSCS. At the time of the study,
athletes had already completed 4 weeks of the hypertrophy
phase of their periodized strength program. Much of the
program was focused on the hips and legs, with standard
linear periodization progressions for traditional resistance
training. All volumes and load assignments fell under
hypertrophy-specific adaptations. Each resistance session
lasted approximately 1 hour. After each resistance session,
the soccer team finished each training session with aerobic/
anaerobic cardiovascular training. The training week con-
sisted of 4 days of on-the-field work. Mondays were heavy
aerobic days that repeated each week. Tuesdays consisted of
a mix of aerobic and anaerobic soccer-specific skill drills.
Thursdays were a speed day involving very high anaerobic
sprint bouts. Fridays were programmed for game play. To
keep their soccer skills refined, athletes were divided into 2
teams for scrimmages. Independent of the KB and CWT
interventions, training was rigorous, and players were inten-
tionally placed under significant amounts of fatiguing work.
Both the KB and CWT groups followed the same
resistance training routine. The 20-minute KB or CWT
protocols were performed between strength training and on-
the-field training sessions. The KB group performed the
kettlebell snatch protocol, whereas the CWT group per-
formed a circuit workout consisting of multiple free-weight
and body-weight exercises. Athletes performed the KB or
CWT intervention on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in
weeks 1, 2, and 4. In week 3, the intervention sessions were
on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday because of a schedule
change. Athletes in the KB group performed the 15:15
MVO
2
kettlebell snatch protocol with 15-second work and
rest intervals using a 12-kg kettlebell. For every 15-second
work interval, athletes performed their individual snatch ca-
dences that were calculated at test session 2. They were
instructed to perform their snatches as fast as possible. The
first work interval was performed with the dominant arm,
with arms switched for each subsequent 15-second work
interval. This was repeated for 20 minutes, although the total
work time was 10 minutes.
The CWT group performed different free-weight and
dynamic body-weight exercises as part of a circuit during the
20-minute training sessions. The circuit incorporated multi-
ple muscle groups and was developed by the RKC/CSCS.
Athletes completed 5 exercises
in succession (1 set), and a total
of 5 sets, for a work time of
10 minutes. The 5 exercises
included 20 ball squats, 20 sit
ups, 10 windmills, 10 jump
squats, and a 400-m sprint/
run. Each set of 5 exercises
was completed in 2 minutes,
with a 2-minute rest period
between sets. Athletes per-
formed ball squats and jump
squats by deep squatting to
a medicine ball, using body
weight only. During jump
squats, athletes jumped explo-
sively out of the deep squat
TABLE 1. Demographics and aerobic capacity.*
KB group (n= 9) CWT group (n=8)
Age (yrs) 19.9 (1.1) 19.5 (1.1)
Height (cm) 170.1 (4.3)161.7 (5.5)
Weight, before (kg) 68.1 (9.4)59.9 (3.4)
Weight, after (kg) 67.2 (8.9)59.9 (3.4)
V
_
O
2
max, pre (ml$kg
21
$min
21
) 36.2 (3.2) 37.8 (3.1)
V
_
O
2
max, post (ml$kg
21
$min
21
) 38.5 (3.9)z38.1 (2.5)
Change, pre to post (ml$kg
21
$min
21
) 2.3 (2.0) 0.3 (2.9)
*Values are presented as mean (SD).
p#0.05 compared with CWT group.
zp= 0.008 compared with pre-V
_
O
2
max.
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position. Windmills were performed by side bending while
stabilizing a 12-kg kettlebell overhead. Because this exercise
did not involve ballistic movements with the kettlebell, it was
not classified as kettlebell training in this study. Both groups
were supervised and encouraged to work as hard as possible.
All athletes completed at least 75% of the training sessions.
Statistical Analyses
Descriptive statistics (mean and SD) were calculated for age,
height, weight, and pre-V
_
O
2
max and post-V
_
O
2
max values. A
two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA)
was planned to evaluate differences in V
_
O
2
max between the
KB and CWT groups over time, with the alpha level set at
p#0.05. However, the normality assumption for the 2-way
repeated-measures ANOVA was not met; thus, t-tests were
used to examine differences in the pre-V
_
O
2
max and post-
V
_
O
2
max values for the KB and CWT groups. With alpha
set at p#0.05, statistical power was 0.84 and 0.05 for the
KB and CWT groups, respectively.
RESULTS
Demographic and V
_
O
2
max data are reported in Table 1. In
general, athletes in the KB group were taller and heavier than
those in the CWT group. There was no significant difference
in aerobic capacity between the KB and CWT groups before
the intervention (t
[15]
=1.027,p= 0.321) or after the inter-
vention (t
[15]
=20.299, p= 0.769). The 4-week intervention
did not significantly increase aerobic capacity in the CWT
group (t
[7]
=20.253, p= 0.808); however, there was a signif-
icant increase in the KB group (t
[8]
=23.482, p= 0.008). The
average increase was 2.3 ml$kg
21
$min
21
, or approximately
a 6% gain. Additionally, the change in aerobic capacity was
compared between the KB and CWT groups. The data did
not meet the normality assumption for a t-test; thus, the
difference in median values between the groups was exam-
ined using a Mann-Whitney rank-sum test. The median
change for the KB and CWT groups was 2.1 and 0.15
ml$kg
21
$min
21
, respectively (Mann-Whitney Ustatistic =
58.0, p= 0.038); the increase in aerobic capacity in the KB
group was significantly greater than the increase in the CWT
group. Thus, kettlebells can be used as a training modality
within a high-intensity interval training program to improve
aerobic capacity in female collegiate soccer players.
DISCUSSION
This is one of the first studies to investigate the effects of
kettlebell training on aerobic capacity. Previous studies have
measured HR and V
_
O
2
responses during a single kettlebell
exercise session, with results indicating that the intensity is
sufficient to improve aerobic capacity (4,17). However, Jay
et al. (12) found no gain in aerobic capacity after an 8-week
progressive kettlebell program. Participants in the study by
Jay et al. were relatively inactive and had no previous kettle-
bell experience. The kettlebell exercises included swings and
deadlifts, which are appropriate exercises for beginners. In
contrast, participants in this study were intercollegiate ath-
letes who regularly trained with kettlebells, and the training
protocol used high-intensity kettlebell snatches. Although
this study used a 4-week training program compared with
the 8-week program used by Jay et al. (12), the exercise
intensity was likely much greater. The 15:15 MVO
2
protocol
is a high-intensity workout with 15-second work and rest
intervals. Athletes in this study performed this protocol for
20 minutes (10 minutes exercise and 10 minutes rest), 3 days
a week. In contrast, Jay et al. (12) used a progressive kettle-
bell program with 3 sets of 10 repetitions, and a 30- to
60-second rest between sets. Additionally, Jay et al. used
a submaximal test to estimate aerobic capacity, whereas this
study measured oxygen consumption during a maximal
GXT. Results from this study are consistent with research
showing that high-exercise intensities elicit improvements in
V
_
O
2
max (6,9). Additionally, Helgerud et al. (8) found that
improving V
_
O
2
max in soccer players enhanced their on-
field performance by increasing total distance covered,
number of sprints, and number of involvements with the ball.
Athletes in the CWT group served as an exercising control
group. The CWT was chosen because of its potential to
enhance aerobic capacity (15). To equate training time, par-
ticipants in the CWT group performed a circuit workout
consisting of sprints, free-weight, and body-weight exercises
for the same exercise duration. In contrast to the 0.3
ml$kg
21
$min
21
increase in V
_
O
2
max in the CWT group,
the KB group gained 2.3 ml$kg
21
$min
21
, or a 6.4% increase
in maximal aerobic capacity. When expressed relative to
body weight, gains in V
_
O
2
max may result from an increase
in muscle oxidative capacity or a loss of body weight. There
was no change in body weight for the CWT group over the
4-week intervention; however, the KB group lost an average
of 0.9 kg. The average gain in absolute V
_
O
2
max for the KB
group was 0.115 L$min
21
, which represents a 4.7% increase.
Thus, the increase in maximal aerobic capacity in the KB
group was primarily because of an increase in muscle oxida-
tive capacity, rather than a loss of body weight during the 4-
week intervention. The results support the hypothesis that
the KB intervention would result in a significant gain in
aerobic capacity. Training with kettlebells is becoming
increasingly popular; understanding the acute responses
and long-term physiological adaptations to this type of train-
ing is crucial. Specifically, additional research is needed to
evaluate the effects of kettlebell training on aerobic and
anaerobic metabolism, strength and power development,
and sport performance. The 12-kg kettlebells used in this
study were approximately 18% of the average body mass
of athletes in the KB training group. To stress the aerobic
system, Fung and Shore (5) recommended using a kettlebell
weight #13% of body mass. Metabolic data were not col-
lected during the kettlebell training workouts; however, the
15-second work and rest intervals required short bursts of
high-intensity exercise. This type of exercise activates anaer-
obic energy systems; however, continuing the workout for
Effects of Kettlebell Training
1946
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
the
TM
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
20 minutes resulted in an aerobic training adaptation evi-
denced by the increase in V
_
O
2
max.
Because this study used the kettlebell snatch, a dynamic and
advanced kettlebell exercise, these findings should only be
generalized to individuals who are trained and have experience
using kettlebells. Additionally, to reduce the risk of injury,
athletes were not randomly assigned to the KB and CWT
groups; those who exhibited proper technique for the kettle-
bell snatch were assigned to the KB group. The CWT group
performed a CWT program for the same duration as the KB
group. In contrast to the KB group, the CWT group did not
show a significant gain in aerobic capacity. This could be due
to a difference in exercise intensity and total work, as both of
these variables were not directly calculated or compared.
Because the KB and CWT interventions were included in the
off-season strength and conditioning program, controlling
athletes’ total work and exercise intensity was not possible.
Athletes performed a resistance session for approximately 1
hour, then the 20-minute KB or CWT intervention (10 minutes
of exercise and 10 minutes of rest), followed by aerobic/anaer-
obic cardiovascular training. The only difference in the training
program between groups was the KB or CWT intervention.
Thus, the gain in aerobic capacity in the KB group, with no
change seen in the CWT group, can be attributed to the rel-
atively brief KB intervention (10 minutes of exercise, 3 days
a week). Although the KB group increased aerobic capacity,
the training duration was only 4 weeks. A longer training
program may result in greater aerobic adaptations.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Kettlebells are a unique and practical tool for training and
conditioning. Athletes who use a high-intensity intermittent
training program, such as the 15:15 MVO
2
kettlebell pro-
tocol, may increase aerobic capacity in a short amount of
time. This protocol may also be used during injury rehabil-
itation. Athletes who have sustained a lower extremity injury
that warrants little to no impact can perform this protocol as
an alternative to maintain aerobic conditioning. The kettle-
bell snatch is a low-impact dynamic exercise that provides
sufficient resistance for muscle strengthening, in addition to
enhancing aerobic capacity.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Results of this study do not constitute endorsement of the
product by the authors or the National Strength and
Conditioning Association.
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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
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VOLUME 29 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2015 | 1947
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Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
... Kettlebell exercise can be used to improve and maintain aerobic capacity and power and maximal and explosive strength and mental health (15,21,22,25). A typical kettlebell session can involve 15-60 seconds of physical exercise using a dynamic total-body kettlebell exercise, followed by 15-60 seconds of rest, repeated for 10-20 minutes (9,11,15,21,22), and can be performed 2-3 times a week. With these characteristics, the kettlebell might be an exercise tool of interest to the field of public health (as an inexpensive and low-cost alternative). ...
... It is important to maintain good movement execution and respect the suggested training plan ( Figure 2). The physical training plan and protocol could be divided into 4 phases: adaptation (2 weeks); specific phase 1 (2 weeks); specific phase 2 (4 weeks); and specific phase 3 (4 weeks) (9,11,15,21,22). ...
Article
The coronavirus pandemic and the adopted social isolation to contain the virus spread led to several negative consequences including the decrease in the population's physical activity levels and increased physical inactivity and sedentary behavior. Home-based physical exercise assumes fundamental importance to maintain physical activity and fitness levels. Among the various exercise possibilities of home-based exercise, the kettlebell exercise can be a useful and low-cost tool. The kettlebell is a round-shaped steel or cast-iron weight, commonly described as resembling a cannonball with a handle whose dimensions increase with weight that varies from 2 to 92 kg. Kettlebell exercise offers an opportunity to train multiple muscles through functional exercises that could be performed at home to improve and maintain health-related physical fitness (e.g., cardiorespiratory capacity, muscle strength, and body composition) and mental health. In addition, kettlebell exercise (with a progressive increase in training overload) could be an alternative of home-based exercise program for the general population during pandemic outbreaks.
... A more recent trend that has become popular in rehabilitation and general weight training is the utilization of kettlebells (KBs) for resistance. [8][9][10][11][12][13] Several studies have examined the efficacy of KB exercise with regard to global strength training [14][15][16][17] and aerobic capacity 18 ; however, there is a paucity in the literature on specific muscle activity during these exercises. ...
... As the popularity of the KB as a resistance training implement increases, [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] rehabilitation professionals should be aware of the kinematic consequences during the performance of these exercises. The KBs are a method of "unstable load training," which have been shown to alter the effects of certain exercises and activities. ...
Article
Full-text available
Context: Shoulder rehabilitation can be a difficult task due to the dynamic nature of the joint complex. Various weight training implements, including kettlebells (KB), have been utilized for therapeutic exercise in the rehabilitation setting to improve shoulder girdle strength and motor control. The KBs are unique in that they provide an unstable load and have been purported to promote greater muscle activation versus standard dumbbells. Recent literature has examined the efficacy of KB exercises for global strengthening and aerobic capacity; however, electromyographic data for shoulder-specific activities are lacking. Objective: To examine muscle activation patterns about the rotator cuff and scapular musculature during 5 commonly-utilized KB exercises. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of a single group. Setting: Clinical biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Ten participants performed all exercises in a randomized order. Main Outcome Measures: Mean electromyographic values for each subject were compared between exercises for each target muscle. Results: Significant differences (P < .05) between exercises were observed for all target muscles except for the infraspinatus. Conclusions: The data in this study indicates that certain KB exercises may elicit activation of the shoulder girdle at different capacities. Physical therapy practitioners, athletic trainers, and other clinical professionals who intend to optimize localized strengthening responses may elect to prescribe certain exercises over others due to the inherent difference in muscular utilization. Ultimately, this data may serve to guide or prioritize exercise selection to achieve higher levels of efficacy for shoulder strength and stability gains.
... Hardstyle kettlebell training, which promotes a unique combination of tension and relaxation in its techniques and was popularised by Pavel Tsatsouline throughout the 2000s, claims to improve measures of health-related physical fitness [5]. Trials with younger participants report improvements in upper limb endurance [6], dynamic balance and vertical jump [7], leg strength and trunk endurance [8], standing long jump and grip strength [9], VO 2 [10], and 1RM barbell deadlift [11]. A profile of the kettlebell swing in novice older adults shows peak net ground reaction force is higher during a swing with an 8 kg kettlebell than a deadlift with 32 kg [12], highlighting the potential utility of the swing in exercise prescription. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Ballistic Exercise of the Lower Limb (BELL) trial examined the efficacy and safety of a pragmatic hardstyle kettlebell training program in older adults. Insufficiently active men and women aged 59–79 years, were recruited to a 6-month repeated measures study, involving 3-months usual activity and 3-months progressive hardstyle kettlebell training. Health-related physical fitness outcomes included: grip strength [GS], 6-min walk distance [6MWD], resting heart rate [HR], stair-climb [SC], leg extensor strength [LES], hip extensor strength [HES], Sit-To-Stand [STS], vertical jump [CMVJ], five-times floor transfer [5xFT], 1RM deadlift, body composition (DXA), attendance, and adverse events. Sixteen males (68.8 ± 4.6 yrs, 176.2 ± 7.8 cm, 90.7 ± 11.0 kg, 29.2 ± 2.6 kg/m²) and sixteen females (68.6 ± 4.7 yrs, 163.9 ± 5.4 cm, 70.4 ± 12.7 kg, 26.3 ± 4.9 kg/m²) were recruited. Compliance with the supervised exercise program was very high (91.5%). Kettlebell training increased GS (R: MD = 7.1 kg 95% CI [4.9, 9.3], L: MD = 6.3 kg 95% CI [4.1, 8.4]), 6MWD (41.7 m, 95% CI [17.9, 65.5]), 1RM (16.2 kg, 95% CI [2.4, 30.0]), 30 s STS (3.3 reps, 95% CI [0.9, 5.7]), LES (R: MD = 61.6 N, 95% CI [4.4, 118.8]), HES (L: MD = 21.0 N,95% CI [4.2,37.8]), appendicular skeletal lean mass (MD = 0.65 kg, 95% CI [0.08, 1.22]), self-reported health change (17.1%, 95% CI [4.4, 29.8]) and decreased SC time (2.7 s, 95% CI [0.2, 5.2]), 5xFT time (6.0 s, 95% CI [2.2, 9.8]) and resting HR (7.4 bpm, 95% CI [0.7, 14.1]). There were four non-serious adverse events. Mean individual training load for group training sessions during the trial was 100,977 ± 9,050 kg. High-intensity hardstyle kettlebell training was well tolerated and improved grip strength and measures of health-related physical fitness in insufficiently active older adults. Trial registration: Prospectively registered: 20/08/2019, Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12619001177145).
... The more traditional HIIT methodology depicts a temporal efficiency in the improvement of several health markers and aerobic/anaerobic performance, but lowered impact strength, muscle strength, and power. New protocols that also include resistance exercises induce a greater number of beneficial adaptations in adults (Asher Falatic et al., 2015;Buckley et al., 2015;McRae et al., 2012;Murawska-Cialowicz et al., 2020;Paoli et al., 2012;Schaun & Alberton, 2020;Schaun, Pinto, Silva, Dolinski, & Alberton, 2018;Williams & Kraemer, 2015) or even older people (Ballesta-Garcia, Martinez-Gonzalez-Moro, Rubio-Arias, & Carrasco-Poyatos, 2019;Garcia-Pinillos, Laredo-Aguilera, Munoz-Jimenez, & Latorre-Roman, 2019;Jiménez-García et al., 2019). In adolescents, Lee et al. (2012) found that there were differences in how much they enjoyed the exercise intervention, as participants in the aerobic group found the exercise to be boring, whereas those in the resistance group were much more enthusiastic and seemingly enjoyed the exercise intervention. ...
Article
Purpose: This review aimed to evaluate the utility of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs integrated into physical education classes. Method: Searches of electronic databases from January 2008 to March 2020. Inclusion criteria: Applied to adolescents aged 10–19 years; applied in school settings; reported results on physical fitness, physical activity (PA), and motivation; at least for 4 weeks; and randomized controlled trials. Studies with adolescents with physical or intellectual limitations were excluded, as well as other interventions parallel to HIIT. Results: Fourteen studies were included. All works present significant improvements in physical fitness and PA. Improvements in body composition recorded, at most, a moderate effect size. HIIT is presented as a powerful stimulus on cardiorespiratory fitness. Improvements in PA registered, a least, a moderate effect size. Conclusions: HIIT in the school context has great potential in improving physical fitness and PA in adolescents. HIIT efficiency (about 10 min) reflects the wide applicability that these protocols can have in physical education classes and great adaptation to the facilities
... Hardstyle kettlebell training claims to improve measures of health-related physical fitness (4) . Trials with younger participants report improvements in upper limb endurance (5) , dynamic balance and vertical jump (6) , leg strength and trunk endurance (7) , standing long jump and grip strength (8) , VO2 (9) , and 1RM barbell deadlift (10) . A profile of the kettlebell swing in novice older adults shows peak net ground reaction force is higher during a swing with an 8 kg kettlebell than a deadlift with 32 kg (11) , highlighting the potential utility of the swing in exercise prescription. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Ballistic Exercise of the Lower Limb (BELL) trial examined efficacy and safety of a pragmatic hardstyle kettlebell training program in older adults. Insufficiently active men and women aged 59-79 years, were recruited to a 6-month repeated measures study, involving 3-months usual activity and 3-months progressive hardstyle kettlebell training. Health-related physical fitness outcomes included: grip strength [GS], 6-min walk distance [6MWD], resting heart rate [HR], stair-climb [SC], leg extensor strength [LES], hip extensor strength [HES], Sit-To-Stand [STS], vertical jump [CMVJ], five-times floor transfer [5xFT], 1RM deadlift, body composition (DXA), attendance, and adverse events. Sixteen males (68.8 ± 4.6 yrs, 176.2 ± 7.8 cm, 90.7 ± 11.0 kg, 29.2 ± 2.6 kg/m ² ) and sixteen females (68.6 ± 4.7 yrs, 163.9 ± 5.4 cm, 70.4 ± 12.7 kg, 26.3 ± 4.9 kg/m ² ) were recruited. Compliance to the supervised exercise program was very high (91.5%). Kettlebell training increased GS (R: MD = 7.1 kg 95% CI [4.9, 9.3], p < 0.001, L: MD = 6.3 kg 95% CI [4.1, 8.4], p < 0.001), 6MWD (41.7 m, 95% CI [17.9, 65.5], p < .001), 1RM (16.2 kg, 95% CI [2.4, 30.0], p = 0.013), 30s STS (3.3 reps, 95% CI [0.9, 5.7], p = 0.003), LES (R: MD = 61.6 N, 95% CI [4.4, 118.8], p = 0.028), HES (L: MD = 21.0 N, 95% CI [4.2, 37.8], p = 0.007), appendicular skeletal lean mass (MD = 0.65 kg, 95% CI [0.08, 1.22], p = 0.016), self-reported health change (17.1%, 95% CI [4.4, 29.8], p = 0.002) and decreased SC time (2.7 sec, 95% CI [0.2, 5.2], p = 0.025), 5xFT time (6.0 sec, 95% CI [2.2, 9.8], p < 0.001) and resting HR (7.4 bpm, 95% CI [0.7, 14.1], p = 0.032). There were four non-serious adverse events. Mean individual training load for group training sessions during the trial was 100,977 ± 9,050 kg. High-intensity hardstyle kettlebell training was well tolerated and improved grip strength and measures of health-related physical fitness in insufficiently active older adults.
... Previous research has found that the single arm kettlebell snatch significantly increased aerobic capacity over a 4-week period when used during high intensity intervals [4]. Promisingly, the kettlebell swing has shown to produce a vigorous cardiovascular response acceptable for increasing aerobic capacity when studied during a single bout of high intensity intervals [5,8,10], yet the only pre-post randomized control trial examining the effects of the kettlebell swing on aerobic capacity failed to see significant differences after eight weeks of kettlebell swing training [11]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of kettlebell mass and swing cadence on heart rate, blood lactate, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during an interval kettlebell swing protocol in experienced female kettlebell users. Eighteen female participants completed three 5-minute rounds of a 15-second on, 15-second off interval kettlebell swing protocol using an 8, 12 and 16 kg kettlebell during three separate testing sessions. Each testing session used a cadence of 8, 10 or 12 swings per 15 second interval (SPI 15). Mean values for heart rate, blood lactate, and RPE were measured for each 5-minute round of each testing session. The results of the repeated measures analysis of variance revealed no significant interaction effects were found between kettlebell mass and swing cadence for heart rate or RPE, but a significant interaction effect was found for blood lactate (F (4, 68) = 6.621, p < 0.001). Significant main effects were found for both kettlebell mass and swing cadence for heart rate (F (2, 34) = 97.302, p < 0.05), blood lactate (F (2, 34) = 33.273, p < 0.05), and RPE (F (2, 34) = 118.300, p < 0.05). The results revealed that the kettlebell swing, regardless of kettlebell mass or swing cadence, provided a level of intensity that was sufficient to increase aerobic capacity. The results suggest that various combinations of kettlebell masses and swing cadences can be utilized and implemented into a strength and conditioning program.
... Não só adaptações agudas como também adaptações crônicas ao treinamento com kettlebell parecem vantajosas. Quatro semanas de treinamento intervalado com kettlebell (20 minutos de treino com intervalos de 15 segundos realizando Snatches e 15 segundos de descanso) são suficientes para melhorar a capacidade aeróbica de atletas em 6% (FALATIC et al., 2015). Falando em alto-rendimento, esse ganho é bem expressivo. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
No universo do kettlebell a palavra chave é simplicidade. Ele é compacto, não é caro, virtualmente indestrutível e pode ser usado em qualquer lugar. Seu formato lembra uma bola de canhão com uma alça e é feito de ferro fundido, na maioria das vezes. Essa estrutura o torna um equipamento único, possuindo total flexibilidade e liberdade de movimentos.
Article
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The aim of the present study was to examine the combined training effects of battle rope and kettlebell training on selected physiological variables among basketball players. To achieve the purpose of the study twenty four college level male basketball players were selected randomly as subjects from Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India and their age were ranged from 18 to 25 years. The basketball players were assigned at random into two groups of each twelve player (N=12). Group-I underwent combined training group and Group-II acted as control group who did not attended any special training other than their daily college schedule curriculum. The duration of the training period was restricted to eight week for three alternative days per week. The pre and post data were collected before and immediately after the training period. The selected variables such as forced vital capacity, total lung capacity and vital capacity were measured by Spiro meters test. The collected data from the two groups prior to and after the experimental treatments on forced vital capacity, total lung capacity and vital capacity were statistically analyzed by using the statistical technique of dependent-'t' test and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). In all the cases 0.05 level of confidence was fixed as a level of confidence. The result of the study indicated that combined training group had shown significantly improved on forced vital capacity, total lung capacity and vital capacity among basketball players. However the control group had not shown any significant improvement on any of the selected variables such as forced vital capacity, total lung capacity and vital capacity.
Article
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Öz Bu çalışmada, kadın futbolcularda 12 haftalık kettlebell antrenmanlarının bazı fiziksel ve fizyolojik parametrelerinin zamana bağlı süreçteki etkilerinin incelenmesi amaçlanmıştır. Araştırmaya, düzenli antrenmanlara ve müsabakalara katılan 17-25 yaş arasında, denek grubu (n=15), kontrol grubu (n=15) olan 30 lisanslı kadın futbolcu gönüllü olarak katılmıştır. Denek ve kontrol gruplarının; sağ/sol el pençe kuvveti, bacak ve sırt kuvveti, esneklik, dikey sıçrama, vücut ağırlıkları, vücut yağ ve kas miktarı, VKİ, VO2maks, çeviklik ve sürat değerleri ön test ve son test olarak analiz edilmiştir. Çalışmadan elde edilen verilerin analizi için SPSS 25.0 istatistik paket programı kullanılmıştır. Deney ve kontrol gruplarının kendi içlerindeki karşılaştırılmalarında Eşleştirilmiş Örneklem t-Testi (Paired Sample t-Test), iki grubun karşılaştırılmasında ise Bağımsız Örneklem t-Testi (Independent Sample T-Test) yapılmıştır. Katılımcıların tanımlayıcı verileri minimum, maksimum, ortalama ve standart sapma değerleri gösterilmiştir. Anlamlılık değeri istatistiksel olarak p<0,05 olarak kabul edilmiştir. Denek grubun demografik bilgileri Yaş: 21,00 ± 2,00 yıl, Boy: 1,65 ± 0,03 cm ve Spor yaşı: 11,87 ±2,00 yıl, kontrol grubunun demografik bilgileri Yaş: 20,00 ± 2,25 yıl, Boy: 1,63 ± 0,04 cm ve Spor yaşı: 10,47 ±1,60 yıl olarak tespit edilmiştir. Her iki grubunda karşılaştırma sonuçları incelendiğinde 12 haftalık kettlebell antrenman programının sonunda sırt ve bacak kuvveti, sağ/sol el kavrama kuvveti, dikey sıçrama, VO2maks, çeviklik, sürat, vücut ağırlıkları ve VKİ değerlerinde istatistiksel olarak (p<0,05) düzeyinde anlamlı farklılıklar meydana gelmiştir. Katılımcılara 12 haftada, haftada 3 gün düzenli olarak yaptırılan kettlebell antrenman programının sağ/sol el kavrama kuvveti, sırt ve bacak kuvveti, dikey sıçrama, vücut ağırlıkları, VO2maks, çeviklik ve sürat değerleri üzerinde istatistiksel açıdan anlamlı bir etkinin olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Anahtar kelimeler: Kettlebell, Kettlebell antrenmanları, Kadın futbolu, Kuvvet, VO2maks.
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The aim of this trial was to investigate the effectiveness of a worksite intervention using kettlebell training to improve musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health. This single-blind randomized controlled trial involved 40 adults from occupations with a high prevalence of reported musculoskeletal pain symptoms (mean age 44 years, body mass index 23 kg/m², 85% women, with pain intensity of the neck/shoulders 3.5 and of the low back 2.8 on a scale of 0-10). A blinded assessor took measures at baseline and follow-up. Participants were randomly assigned to training--consisting of ballistic full-body kettlebell exercise 3 times per week for 8 weeks--or a control group. The main outcome measures were pain intensity of the neck/shoulders and low back, isometric muscle strength, and aerobic fitness. Compared with the control group, pain intensity of the neck/shoulders decreased 2.1 points [95% confidence interval (95% CI) -3.7- -0.4] and pain intensity of the low back decreased 1.4 points (95% CI -2.7- -0.02) in the training group. Compared with the control group, the training group increased muscle strength of the trunk extensors (P<0.001), but not of the trunk flexors and shoulders. Aerobic fitness remained unchanged. Worksite intervention using kettlebell training reduces pain in the neck/shoulders and low back and improves muscle strength of the low back among adults from occupations with a high prevalence of reported musculoskeletal pain symptoms. This type of training does not appear to improve aerobic fitness.
Article
This study was designed to evaluate the exercise intensity and energy expenditure of a typical kettlebell workout. Ten subjects (8 males, 2 females) completed treadmill VO2 max test to determine their aerobic capacity. Subjects then performed a 5-minute kettlebell VO2max snatch test. Heart rate (HR) and oxygen consumption (V02) were measured and a HR/VO2 regression equation was determined. Subjects performed a 20-minute intermittent kettlebell snatch workout that consisted of 15 seconds of kettlebell snatch followed by 15 seconds of rest. Only HR was measured. There was a significant difference (p < .05) for VO2max values between the treadmill VO2max test and the kettlebell VO2max snatch test (49.7x6.6 vs. 40.3x2.2, respectively). No significant difference was found for maximal HR values between the two tests (180x8.5 vs. 176x12.5 bpm). Average HR for the kettlebell snatch workout was 164x14.7 bpm (93x4.5% of kettlebell VO2max snatch test HRmax) and average VO2 was 31.6x3.71 ml/kg/min (78x8.0% of VO2max) as determined by the HR/VO2 regression equation, Average caloric expenditure was 13.6x3.08 kcal/min. The results show that the kettlebell snatch workout meets ACSM guidelines for exercise intensity and duration. Energy expenditure was likely underestimated due to the inability to accurately calculate anaerobic energy expenditure.
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The purpose of this study was to compare metabolic demand of a kettlebell (KB) swing routine with treadmill (TM) running at equivalent rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Thirteen subjects (11 male, 2 female, age = 21.4 ± 2.1 years, weight = 73.0 ± 9.2 kg) completed a 10-minute KB swing routine consisting of 35-second swing intervals followed by 25-second rest intervals. Men used a 16-kg KB, and women used an 8-kg KB. After 48 hours of rest, the subjects completed a 10-minute TM run at equivalent RPEs as measured during the swing workout. Metabolic data were monitored each minute during each exercise using an automated cart, with the final 7 minutes used for analysis. The RPE and heart rate (HR) recorded at minutes 5, 7, 9, and 10 increased by 2-3 and 7-9%, respectively, for each exercise, producing a significantly increasing pattern but no significant difference between exercises. Average HR and RPE were not significantly different between KB and TM and averaged 90 and 89%, respectively, of age-predicted HRmax. Oxygen consumption, METS, pulmonary ventilation, and calorie expenditure were significantly higher for TM (25-39%) than for KB. Respiratory exchange ratio (TM = 0.94 ± 0.04, KB = 0.95 ± 0.05) and respiratory rate (TM = 38 ± 7, KB = 36 ± 4 b·min) were not significantly different between the exercises at any time point. During TM and KB exercises matched for RPE, the subjects are likely to have higher oxygen consumption, work at a higher MET level, and burn more kilocalories per minute during TM running than during KB swings. However, according to the American College of Sports Medicine standards, this KB drill could provide sufficient exercise stress to produce gains in aerobic capacity.
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In recent years, kettlebells have re-emerged as a popular training modality for the conditioning of athletes. We sought to quantify the aerobic challenge of one popularly recommended kettlebell workout. Ten college-aged men (age = 20.8 +/- 1.1 years, height = 179 +/- 3 cm, body mass = 77.3 +/- 7.7 kg, Vo2max = 52.78 +/- 6.22 ml.kg.min) completed a graded exercise test to exhaustion for the determination of Vo2max. Two to 7 days later, subjects completed a kettlebell exercise routine consisting of as many 2-handed swings as could be completed in 12 minutes using a 16-kg kettlebell. During this exercise bout, subjects' expired gases were collected and analyzed for the determination of Vo2, and heart rate (HR) was continuously measured. Percent HRmax and Vo2max achieved during the kettlebell exercise were compared with each other using a paired t-test. Subjects completed 265 +/- 68 swings during the 12 minutes and achieved an average Vo2 of 34.31 +/- 5.67 ml.kg.min and an average HR of 165 +/- 13 b.min. The average %HRmax (86.8 +/- 6.0%) during kettlebell exercise was significantly higher (p < 0.001) than the average Vo2max (65.3 +/- 9.8%) that was achieved. Continuous kettlebell swings can impart a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase Vo2max. Heart rate was substantially higher than Vo2 during kettlebell swings. Kettlebells provide a useful tool with which coaches may improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of their athletes. However, HRs achieved during continuous kettlebell exercise are significantly higher than actual Vo2.