Beginning October 1st, 2020 the U.S. Army has transitioned from the previous Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Since 1980, the APFT was used to grade and score soldiers’ endurance and strength with 3 simple events; 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Now, 40 years later, the ACFT expands this fitness test to 6 more complex events. Surprisingly, kettlebells are used in one of the new events while also recommended as a training tool for several others.
Nearly a year ago, I wrote an article that discussed rehabbing injuries with kettlebell exercises. It was a topic that fascinated me at the time and one that I still find very intriguing. Apparently, I’m not the only person as it’s one of the more popular posts on this site. The research I did for the article concluded that not only can kettlebells help with injuries but pain management as well. This information wasn’t opinion-based or speculative but actually came from studies by doctors and physical therapists.
2020 is off to a great start as far as getting some big-time exposure of kettlebells from popular Hollywood actors and comedians. It was just last week when I wrote about Jimmy Fallon and John Cena’s hilarious kettlebell super bowl commercial. Now, as part of his Jablinksi Games Youtube series, Jack Black is looking to get ripped by using kettlebells. Celebrity trainer Mark Wildman teaches him several exercises as well as discussing their benefits.
Super Bowl LIV, featured some crazy commercials which shouldn’t come as surprise. However, this is the first time I can recall that kettlebells have been giving such large exposure. I thought to myself, This is great!. Unfortunately, the end segment of this commercial has a comical yet unflattering finish. Give it a watch below and you’ll see what I mean.
Kettlebell juggler extraordinaire Michael Lisichkin has created one hell of a compilation video. Featuring his favorite tricks of 2019, his ability to blend exercising with entertainment is quite astonishing. This video showcases over a dozen moves that still have me in disbelief. There’s swinging, flipping, balancing and other acrobatic kettlebell tricks all crammed into a brief minute and a half video.
It’s not enough that I participate in physical activities or events. Now that kettlebells are such a big part of my life, I’m always up for carrying them with me for an additional challenge. In September, I took my 25 lb. kettlebell on a hike up a mountain. It took every ounce of energy I had but I successfully ascended and descended the mountain clocking in around 3 hours total time and nearly 4 miles of distance. I figured walking a 5K with a kettlebell would be a breeze. Therefore, it made sense to up the stakes by bringing a heavier kettlebell for this flat terrain walk. However, after some consideration, I stuck with my 25 lb. kettlebell.
This isn’t an idea that I came up with all on my own. Rather, I owe thanks to Taco Fleur who has taken his kettlebells on all sorts of adventures. Seeing photos of him with his kettlebells atop mountains with breathtaking views made me think, “I could give this a shot!”. Obviously, I’m not the first person to hike with a kettlebell. However, hiking up Mt. Major with a kettlebell? Maybe. The first documented kettlebell hike up Mt. Major. Most likely yes!
Despite the many benefits and muscles worked when exercising with kettlebells, very few NFL athletes are taking advantage of this fitness tool. Of course, the training necessary to compete at such a high level most likely demands a variety of equipment. Still, it is a little surprising that the kettlebell hasn’t become more integrated into NFL players’ workouts.
Organizer and coach Ste Gordon helped create the North-East Open, a competition that saw dozens of lifters participate in various kettlebell events this past Saturday. Held at Darlington College, such events included Jerks, Snatches, Longcycle, and even a relay. While there was a decent turnout of men and women competitors, it was the more than 10 juniors participating that really made an impression.
In my short time with kettlebells, I’ve discovered many inspirational people that have helped me stay motivated towards my goal of losing weight. Some of them directly while others through their enthusiasm and dedication to kettlebells via their Instagram feed. Of course, weight loss is just one benefit but there are many more that can be gained from working out with kettlebells. Strength building, flexibility & mobility, and feats of sheer awesomeness to name a few.
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