There’s a Time and Place For Everything. Kettlebells Included.

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I like to consider myself as an even keeled person who tries to see the comedy in life and not to take things too seriously.

I’m originally from Middle of Nowhere, NY where I grew up in a small town with no traffic lights and no fast food restaurants.  Just to be clear though, yes, we had running water. And the internet for that matter. But barely.  My parents had been using a dial-up connection up until last year, which is considered child abuse in some states.

Love you mom!!!!!

Anyways, life moves a bit differently where I’m from.  Where I’m from people don’t slam on their car horn and go bat shit crazy if you don’t move within one-hundredths of a nanosecond of a red light turning green. Here in the city?  Different story.  Everyone is the most important person in the world, and is apparently in some dire emergency to get somewhere.

Likewise, there aren’t many things that really bother me.  Okay sure, some people can go out of their way to be “kinda douchy” and do something really irritating like talking, going to Maroon 5 concerts, or taking up two parking spots and blocking me in.

Hey dude: this isn’t Dukes of Hazzard, and I don’t drive the General Lee, so I shouldn’t have to do a window stunt just to get into my own car. Capiche?

But those are usually few and far between.

The internet, though:  now THAT’S a whole new ball game, and a place where my pet peeves seem to increase exponentially.

Given the safe domain – not to mention the anonymity – that the internet provides, it’s not surprising how it often brings out the “inner expert” in people.

And why not?  One of the advantages of the internet is the profound profoundness of it all.  Never has information been so easily accessible. And never has there been a time where people can learn everything on anything with just a simple click of a button.

Which is also it’s drawback.

Just yesterday I read an article over on by a buddy of mine who described a brief, albeit effective, metabolic type workout that could easily be followed by the masses and maybe provide a nice change of pace to someone looking to shed a little fat.

As is the case with any “universal” article geared towards the general public, it had to be watered down to the lowest common denominator so that the information could be easily followed. It was a slideshow piece which provided still-frame pictures (and descriptions) of each exercise.

For those interested, go HERE.

Apparently PJ (the author) made the mistake of using dumbbells in his pictures – which makes sense given that the majority of people out there don’t have access to kettlebells.

I thought it was great and provided a solid routine for a lot of people reading.

But wouldn’t you know it, the first comment – as well as a few others that followed – were from the kettlebell nazis, trying to convey to the world that kettlebells are the only form of exercise everyone should be doing.  EVER.

The very first comment:

The swing is a great exercise………when performed CORRECTLY…….WITH A KETTLEBELL! Do not use a dumbell as it is a different and less effective move and more likely to recruit the low back for power production.

The same person, then finished with these great words of wisdom:

nice technique………..NOT!

For starters:  it’s a freakin STILL FRAME picture.  Lets get off our high horse for a second.  How can you judge one’s overall technique by one still frame shot?

Here’s a picture of Jim Wendler squatting:

Using the same logic, we could argue that his squat technique sucks because he’s not hitting at least parallel.  We all know this is bullshit, because this is a STILL FRAME shot of him either descending or coming out of the hole during a max effort attempt.

Going back to the article, I have full confidence that a dude who trains HUNDREDS of people a month, has been published in several reputable magazines, and not to mention has a pretty smart editor at Livetrong who’s job it is to make sure that high quality content makes it to the site – knows how to perform a proper swing.

Relax.  Deep Breaths.  The World Won’t End.

Secondly, while I won’t argue that using a kettlebell over a dumbbell “feels” better when performing a swing, as I noted above, not everyone has access to kettlebells in their gym.  Using a dumbbell is fine.

No, really.  It is.

And since when does a dumbbell recruit more of the lower back?  I have a hard time figuring this one out.  If one is performing a proper swing pattern, snapping their hips, “attacking their groin,” and keeping the weight close to the body, I don’t see how if someone uses a dumbbell that it’s somehow is more detrimental to the back.

Further down the comments section, there are several other readers who state that the same workout is, like, waaaaaaay more effective if done with kettlebells.

Kettlebell squats are better than dumbbell squats.  Kettlebell rows are better than barbell rows. Kettlebell swings cure cancer. Kettlebells make the best salt and pepper shakers!!

Okay, I get it already:  you like kettlebells.

And that’s cool.  I do, too.  I consider coaches like Pavel, Dan John, Mike Mahler, and Gray Cook (all of whom are “kettlebell guys) mentors. Moreover, I have a high respect for people like Neghar Fonooni, Jen Sinkler, Steve Cotter, and Batman (I think) – all of whom utilize kettlebells to a high degree as well.

I use them myself – heck, I’m even contemplating going for my HKC.  I use them with all of my athletes and clients.  But as with anything else, and I think all the peeps I mentioned above would agree – whether we’re talking about  kettlebells, TRX, yoga, deadlifts, or anything else you want to throw into the mix – they’re a tool in the toolbox, and need to be used at the right time, with the right person, for the right job.

People are entitled to their opinion, of course. Everyone shouldn’t have to sing Kumbaya and hold hands on everything, and I think it’s great when people from different view points can have a civil discussion – even if all they do is agree to disagree.

But I just get flabbergasted (yep, that’s right: flabbergasted) when people go on and on and on and on and on*about how kettlebells are the shiznit (and they can be) and have to be used for E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. That’s not necessarily the case.

End rant, exit stage left.

Anyone agree?  Disagree?  Am I off base?


* = and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.  You get the idea.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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