This month I wanted to change the focus of information. We are talking fitness training and the many options that are hanging around on the gym floor (because someone decided not to put it back on the rack).
For those of you who know what a treadmill, barbell and kettlebell are, GREAT! For those of you who don’t…no worries! The good people at The Treadmill Factory will familiarize you with these standard pieces of equipment and below I will provide you with a comparison of the kettlebell, a piece of equipment that made an appearance in the fitness world just a few years ago, versus the good old barbell and treadmill!
First the barbell. An ancient tool said to increase strength and result in lean muscle mass when used properly. The barbell is used to perform such exercises as a deadlift, squat, chest press, and the list goes on. It’s main purpose is to improve STRENGTH. And NO! I don’t hope that everyone becomes Hulk and can enter the next bodybuilding competition but I do hope we can all shovel our driveways without feeling broken the next day. Or carry groceries from the car to the house without pulling a muscle. Strength and lean mass are important for basic daily functioning especially as we age! The kettlebell came onto the scene and was the latest and greatest piece of equipment. Many people were replacing the standard barbell with kettlebell movements because the “experts” had decided this was the better route to take. Researchers at California State University decided to put this theory to the test. Which piece of equipment did they find to be more beneficial for strength and power? The results showed that the explosiveness of the kettlebell movements was great for power but barbells held up to their new competition and were equally beneficial. The differences came when measuring strength. Due to the movements done with kettlebells, it is common for lighter weights to be used compared to barbells.
This resulted in greater strength gains with the barbell, however, the kettlebells still appeared to improve a person’s strength to a bit of a lesser degree. The key, incorporate the quick, explosive kettlebell movements into your traditional, heavy training done with barbells. I love the XTREME MONKEY kettlebell I picked up at The Treadmill Factory! Check them out 🙂
Next, the treadmill came under attack. The repetitive movements of the kettlebell and the elevated heart rate had treadmill go getters questioning their normal fitness routines. Experts at Truman State University wanted to put this to the test and discovered that, once again, neither was significantly superior to the other. Treadmills showed a higher rate of calorie burning, however, kettlebells maintained a heart rate above 85% of max throughout the routine. In order for the treadmill to show the same increased heart rate the speed on the machine needed to continuously increase throughout the duration of the workout. All in all, cardiovascular benefits were similar and the piece of equipment chosen can be based on personal preference. When choosing treadmills, however, it is important to educate yourself on what makes one treadmill superior to another, especially when the plan involves increased speeds. When choosing my treadmill I let the experts at The Treadmill Factory help me make an informed decision!
Alex Hutchinson of The Globe and Mail said it perfectly, “It’s not the fitness equipment that matters; it’s what you do with it.”