Try Adding Kettlebells to Your Running Workout

What are kettlebells? You may see these iron cannonball-shaped weights at your local gym. While they appear revolutionary—something more glamorous than your standard dumbbell—they are far from it. Since the 1700s, kettlebells were used by Russians to demonstrate strength by lifting and swinging them. Times evolved and now kettlebells are used by daily gym enthusiasts and endurance athletes to build necessary muscle.

Feeling a bit skeptical on this new lifting technique? This study may help sway you. The American Council of Exercise conducted a study with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Thirty healthy, fit male and female volunteers were used to conduct the study—all were aged from 19 to 25 and all had previous strength training backgrounds. These 30 volunteers were divided into two groups: 18 were in the experimental group and 12 were in the control group.

First, researchers measured assessments in strength, cardio and balance. Then, twice a week for eight weeks, the experimental group took an hour-long kettlebell class with certified trainers. Results were measured at the end of eight weeks.

Results proved significant improvements in aerobic capacity, leg press strength, core strength, among other fitness gains. Aerobic function improved an average of a 13.8 percent increase. The greatest increase was in abdominal core strength—this increased 70 percent.

Runners need that strong core to keep their balance. Many runners just focus on their ability to run long distances or sprint at high speeds. In actuality, you must add strength training to your workout to maximize your body’s potential.

With kettlebell training, you receive greater results with the same amount of work as traditional strength training. Because you want to focus more of your energy running, this could be the perfect addition to your workouts.