There is a VERY bad myth that gets perpetrated in fitness all the time now. That is there is NO difference among our training tools. Before I delve into deeper reasons that this is such a misguided myth, let me point out the simple fallacies of such a statement. For example, if we assumed this is correct, then ALL the different strength training tools are simply different “toys” that bored lifters could use that apparently all achieve the same goal? So, the powerlifter could get just as strong from using kettlebells in their squat as they would the barbell? If people want to say such things are true then I MIGHT be okay with it, but all the time I see people argue quite the opposite. They believe the barbell is the centerpiece of every serious lifter. So, that takes us to the second mistaken point.
If people don’t really believe that all tools are equal, which is what any time on social media will tell you is what people believe, then what makes one tool superior to another? Unfortunately, you often won’t get a sophisticated and thoughtful answer to such a question as experience has taught me. Rather, you often get an answer like “the heaviest one is the best one.” That of course leads us back to the barbell, but it actually doesn’t. If the answer is the piece of equipment that allows us to use the most weight, then the answer would be machines. Of course poodle look confused when I point out this obvious contradiction.
How so? Take a simple squat for example, people always can leg press more than they can squat therefore by the logic given above, the leg press machine is a far more valuable tool. Why even bother doing a barbell squat then? After the typical huffing and puffing settles down as I point out this obvious flaw in logic, we can simply appreciate that tools do things differently from one another, that is the simple point of having different tools not just to feed into our need for variety.
We see this in life all the time, a hammer and saw are very different yet they are both tools. Chefs are very particular about the type of knife they use to cut different foods for various preparations. Athletes are crazy about finding just the right shoe even though a dress shoe and cleats are both shoes, but used for very different purposes. In the immortal words of Captain America, “I can do this all day”.
Why do I then love basing my training around kettlebell training and Ultimate Sandbag exercises if everything is just different? For one, we don’t have an infinite amount of energy or time when we are training. I often use the analogy of running a business, you have to choose the most productive means in which to accomplish your goals, not just any old way of manufacturing, sales, etc. The same can be said of training.
A training tool doesn’t have to be “bad” for me not to particularly use it very much. As the old saying goes, “when you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else.” If I say yes to another training tool it has to do something SO much better than what I am doing with Ultimate Sandbags and kettlebell training to get me to choose it (which can happen on occasion). You might be thinking, “is it really that big of a difference though?”
A very popular 2012 study comparing kettlebell training to Olympic weightlifting found the following…
“The principle finding of the present study was that short-term kettlebell training (12 training sessions for more than 6 weeks) significantly increased vertical jump height and that the gain in vertical jump performance (2.17%) was equivalent to that achieved with a combination of weightlifting and traditional heavy resistance training exercises. To our knowledge, this is the first study to document the effectiveness of kettlebell training in improving performance during a lower-body power movement, such as the countermovement vertical jump. It is well known that weightlifting can increase vertical jump performance (3,4,8), but it appears that kettlebell training can be just as effective in improving jumping performance. This might be explained by the similar movements of powerful ankle, knee, and hip extension done as quickly as possible while performing various kettlebell exercises.”
You might think that this actually supports the idea that kettlebells and barbells therefore are really equal so just choose what you want right? Well, if we delve into the research what is so interesting is that the study compared using a 35 pound kettlebell to that of the barbell group. Even though it isn’t said how much weight was actually used by the barbell group, we can assume it was much more! The barbell by itself is already 45 pounds and they used an 80% max weight for many of the barbell lifts. So, we can assume it was significantly more than 35 pounds. This also explains why some of the strength gains in the barbell group were higher.
While I just went on a rant saying we can’t judge things by the heaviest weight, we also have to keep some perspective upon relative weights being used. However, we can see in research that kettlebell training and Ultimate Sandbags improve cardiovascular fitness at very high levels along with strength, explosiveness, insulin sensitivity, V02Max, grip strength, posture, and more!
Yes, the above study was done with the Ultimate Sandbag!
The point being is that there is SO much we can achieve in prioritizing kettlebell training and Ultimate Sandbags. Even between these two tools there are A LOT of differences so combining them seems like the best option in our workouts. How do we do it? Coach Cory Cripe gives some great workout examples below. Each drill is very purposeful and deliberate as we will cover this week on how do we choose if we are going to grab a kettlebell or Ultimate Sandbag.
To me, the most exciting part is this dispels the idea that a gym needs to be massively full of equipment or even at a gym. The true power comes in how we use these tools to create powerful results.
This week you can find out so much more not just how we combine kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbags, but our unique take on kettlebell training after teaching kettlebells for over 20 years. Check out our kettlebell programs 35% off this week with code “save35” HERE and see kettlebell workouts in a whole new way!
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