We’re obsessed with kettlebell training at Physiofitness.

Last weekend, physical therapist Shawn Monahan and trainers Dariusz Stankiewicz and Taylor Huang became certified as StrongFirst Level I Kettlebell Instructors. The intensive three-day process is something they consider one of the greatest physical challenges they’ve faced, but worth it.

The certification involved strength testing based on the U.S. Marine Corps’ own strength test, a kettlebell snatch test during which contenders had to reach 100 reps within 5 minutes, a skills test to show mastery of several kettlebell exercises, and a written test to demonstrate an understanding of the techniques, drills, and concepts of kettlebell training.

Despite the course’s 30% fail rate, the Physiofitness team passed with flying colors and we’re excited for you to reap the benefits. We made kettlebell training a key component of our corrective exercise programs after we noticed that it was doing more than just building strength – the programs we use changed how our clients felt from head to toe. Here’s how.

1. Kettlebells build strength quickly

Kettlebells were developed in 18th century Russia as a means to weigh crops, but farmers who used them often noticed an additional benefit almost immediately – they were in the best physical condition of their lives. At the turn of the 20th century, Russian weightlifters began kettlebell strength training and conditioning regimens to prepare for competition, something the Soviets later adopted when training their armies.

As trainer Ludvig Chaplinsky wrote in 1913, “not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,” which is exactly why we have adopted kettlebells into our exercise philosophy at Physiofitness.

2. Kettlebells build stability

Unlike dumbbells – which have symmetrical mass on each side of the weight – kettlebells have an off-center mass below their handle, challenging your coordination and motor control and working the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion to help develop joint stability and build mobility. Kettlebell exercises reveal and fix misalignments, compensations, asymmetries, and weaknesses in the body, relieving you of muscle stiffness and joint pain.

3. Kettlebells give your entire body a workout

Kettlebell training combines strength training with a high-intensity cardio workout, giving you an overall full-body workout in only about twenty minutes a day. You’re building muscle, increasing power endurance, and getting lean all at once. By bridging the gap between cardio and strength training, your overall physical fitness levels will skyrocket, getting you to the best shape of your life.

4. Kettlebells restore movement to help decrease pain

If you have chronic pain – whether it’s your shoulder, low back, hip, knee, or ankle – kettlebell exercises help retrain your body to get you moving correctly. The kettlebell handle design mirrors objects we use in everyday life – door handles, backpacks, shopping carts…pretty much anything you lift, pull, or push repetitively affects your body in motion, resulting in pain if you’re not moving right. Training with a kettlebell carries over to these objects used in daily function, making it an ideal mode of exercise for restoring body mechanics and function.

Later this month, physical therapist Shawn Monahan and trainer Dariusz Stankiewicz will spend a weekend earning their SFG Kettlebell Instructor Level I Certification with StrongFirst master Jon Engum. So expect to see even more new and improved ways we incorporate kettlebell training into your recovery program.