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Kettlebell Articles

This page contains links to articles related to kettlebells, strength, fitness, and Tae Kwon Do, and Z-Health that have been posted over the years.

All articles were written by Jay Armstrong who retains the rights to all materials therein.

The Most Important Exercise - If you are interested in improving your health and athleticism then we should take a look at the most important exercise you can do to help you achieve this. The most important exercise is probably thye pushup, the squat, the pullup, the deadlift, or some other nifty gymnastic maneuver. Right?

Sorry, but the answer is not that glamorous. The most important exercise you do is walking. Let's take a look at why this is the case....

It Is The Chair - We have all heard about the bad things that happen to our bodies as a result of sitting in a chair – slumped shoulders, collapsed ribcages, tight hip flexors, weak abs, etc. Yet, if you want to improve your flexibility, I recommend you sit down. However, instead of sitting on your soft, comfy couch with a remote in one hand...

Kettlebell Correctives - Most people treat exercise like it is a bad tasting prescription from the doctor.  They HAVE TO do it because someone told them to do it.  And what exactly are they supposed to do?  Well, of course they need to get into shape, because if they get into shape they will reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer and premature death.  At all costs we must avoid death.  Bad news happy campers and kiddie troupers.  It ain't gonna happen....

The "Core" Issue - Why are you exercising? One of the reasons I often hear is "I want to strengthen my core." To do this many people are doing exercises (or thrashing about) while standing on an unstable surface such as a wobble board or a Bosu Ball.

Another popular technique for developing a strong core is the plank. Now, I am a big fan of the blank since it demonstrates the principles of connection, linkage, tension, lengthening, etc. However, spending lots and lots of time practicing the plank will make you REALLY good at doing the plank. This will be particularly useful should you fall down in a dirty place with spiders and snakes on the floor and you need to hold that position (about 8 inches above the ground) and be very still for an extended period of time.)

A strong core that is only strong while you are stationare is pretty much uselss. You need a core that can be strong while your are in motion. This requires two things:

  1. a core that is resistant to loading in a variety of directions, and
  2. the ability to use your arms and legs while your core is stabilized.

Enter the Turkish Getup....

Martial Arts and The Kettlebell Swing - When I encountered the kettlebell, it was love at first swing. I knew immediately that this was a tool that would complement (rather than interfere with) my martial arts training. Traditional efforts in the gym trying to develop BIG muscles made me strong, sore, and SLOW. Swinging a kettlebell is clearly not traditional weight training. It will help your martial arts training if...

Learning Circle - Do you want to be better tomorrow than you are today? Of course you do! Well then, how do you achieve this miracle? It is quite simple really. You must continue to learn. Our brain, the spongy thing that sits inside of really thick bone on top of our body, is the key ...

How the Foot Adapts - Every step we take puts an incredible amount of force through our feet and upward through our body. The stress on our body increases if our feet are not mobile. For example, imagine if your entire foot was in a cast. Now, imagine ...

Continuum -The human body is not just a collection of parts but rather a system.  This system is controlled, almost exclusively, by the brain.  This system is amazing in so very many ways but let’s talk about communication between the brain and YOU. When we need food somehow magically we “know” it is time ...

What is a Nerve Glide? -Have you ever thought about how extraordinary your nervous system is?  The complexity of the brain is virtually incomprehensible with its 100 billion neurons.  Each of these neurons has an average of 1000 to 7000 connections to other neurons.  The capacity of the human brain is ...

What is Z-Health? - I am often asked this question because it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a concise answer. And no, I didn't promise this would be a really short answer! Z-Health is a neurology-based system for creating pain-free, exceptional athleticism. Wow! That is a mouthful. What does that mean? ...

About Water - Yes, we must drink water in order to survive.  And, I am a big proponent of staying well hydrated.  Proper hydration is an excellent way to flush toxins from the the body and reduce stress on the system.  Drink lots of pure water each day.  Typical recommendations range from 1 to 3 liters....

Pain Myths - Much of what we believe of about pain is often incorrect. Pain myths vary from family to family and from culture to culture. Understanding the truth about pain can help us develop a healthy, pain-free, athletic body.

Myth #1 - If it hurts a lot, it must really be broken.  Wrong.  Have you ever been working in a garden and cut yourself ...

The Barbell Deadlift -- The barbell deadlift is a safe and effective exercise for nearly everyone; however you must use proper form!

Standard vs. Sumo -- The standard setup for a barbell deadlift has the feet about shoulder width apart or a bit more narrow. This is the position that you would take if you were about to perform a vertical leap. As a result of this placement of the feet, the knees will be over the bar at the beginning of the lift. The athlete may scrape the shins....

Kettlebell Swing -One Hand Slap -- Swinging a kettlebell is a terrific, total-body workout. Do a couple hundred swings with a moderate weight and you will quickly discover that your forearms, shoulders, back, and legs are all involved in the exercise.

Get your abs involved in the kettlebell swing to help protect your back. As the kettlebell athlete becomes fatigued there is a tendency to drive the hips forward and lean back slightly. This is because the signals from the brain instructing the body to tighten the glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles override all other instructions. This can also put stress on the lower back. ...

What is a Bent Press? -- The Bent Press is a means of elevating a weight from the shoulder to the locked-out, overhead position using one arm.  Contrasted with the strict military press, the knees and hips are involved in this lift as the athlete bends and rotates himself under the weight.  Although the kettlebell is moved overhead with one arm, it does not involve “lifting” the weight...

Don't Forget the SLOW Speed -- What are the key elements of a successful exercise program? I credit John Wood for one of the best enumerations of these elements:

  • Expect to push yourself – effort must be a part of the program
  • Begin training at a manageable level and build up from there
  • Always train in a safe and productive manner
  • Keep reminding yourself of the overall goals
  • Make adjustments as necessary
  • And, most importantly, NEVER give up!

You must continue to do the work in order to make progress.

Now, what is missing in this workout recipe? SPEED.

Wanna be a Kid Again? -- One of the obvious differences between adults and children is their movement. They move more and they move in a wider variety of ways. If you want to look and feel young -- start moving like a kid.

Level 1 "Counter-Actives" -- The daily activities of sitting for extended periods of time and wear tight, rigid shoes lead to the development of physical movement dysfunctions. A few corrective exercise practiced throughout the day can make a huge difference in maintaining function movement and good posture.

Pack the Shoulder for Strength and Safety -- Strength is a skill. Much of this skill is about proper alignment of the bone structure during the strength movement. Overhead presses with a kettlebell require proper orientation of the shoulder for maximal effectiveness.

Powerful Instep Kicks -- Developing powerful kicks is very important in many martial arts and especially in Tae Kwon Do.  Perhaps the most important kicking technique in Tae Kwon Do is the “instep kick” (similar to a “roundhouse kick”). 

Physical Dysfunction in 2010 -- Why can't you make significant progress toward a strong, mobile, and healthy body by exercising 3 hours per week? We are creating a generation of hunched over, rounded shoulder, upward looking, mouse-holding computer users!

Centurion Workout #1 -- This is an adaptable workout template that you can tailer to your goals of either strength or cardio. And, you can modify it to fit the available time. This is a workout I did at 54 years old with a 35lb kettlebell.




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