When you’re looking to condition your body for enduring strength, look no further than the Russian kettlebell. “You can seamlessly add load to your body using a kettlebell, while performing powerful exercises in a lower impact way,” says Lauren Brooks, a personal trainer and StrongFirst kettlebell instructor team leader and owner of On the Edge Fitness in San Diego. “It becomes fluid extension of your body, allowing the opportunity for increased stamina and mental toughness to persevere.”
But just because your aim is conditioning, you should never consider a kettlebell workout a long, slow slog like you would with, say, a steady-state cardio session. Kettlebells are meant to be moved with intention. “Through ballistic kettlebell movements, you're able to produce much higher muscular forces with less weight, increasing muscular capacity for force production across all activities, including endurance events,” says NYC-based Samantha Carmean, CSCS, a StrongFirst certified kettlebell instructor and founder of MindfulMeathead.com.
When doing these workouts, designed by Carmean and Brooks, there are two rules to follow. First, keep the kettlebell movements explosive, never plodding. And second, stop once you notice the quality of your reps is waning. “Always leave a few good reps in the tank,” says Carmean. “Neural fatigue is a great predictor of injury, so don't let your ego get in the way.”