In the last few years, the ‘gym bro’ has become an anachronism. Old ideas about strength training are falling by the wayside and more and more, we are experimenting with alternative techniques that ultimately present greater benefits in and out of the gym.
So what is a gym bro? What are these old approaches that have fallen out of favour?
The Problem With Old Fashioned Training Ideas
Chief among the ideas that are moving aside is the focus on the ‘mirror muscles’. Your typical gym rat in the 00’s was obsessed with the idea of building bigger biceps, bigger pecs and toned abs and had little regard for smaller supportive muscles that helped to develop true ‘functional strength’ that translated to actual performance improvements and better health. If you train only some muscles at the expense of others, then you will develop an uneven physique that places uneven pressure on your body and ultimately leads to injury.
This is why multi-joint exercises and exercises that force you to move your body through a more dynamic range of motion are now preferred by physical therapists and personal trainers.
And the kettlebell is the perfect example of more adaptive training methodology…
Why Kettlebell Training is the Solution
When you train with a kettlebell, you are using a weight that is unevenly distributed. That is to say that the center of gravity can move as you move the weight, thereby altering the angle of the resistance and adding new elements like balance and resistance.
This forces you to brace your body and balance yourself in ways you wouldn’t have to with something like a bicep curl and that is what allows you to bring in the involvement of your smaller supporting muscles found throughout your body.
So what supporting muscles are you training in particular?
Here are some examples:
The obliques are the muscles that run down either side of the abs and are used for bending from side to side and also twisting the torso (applying toque). They are very useful for a range of different movements and are great for aesthetics too – actually making the abs look considerably more impressive.
These muscles are found on the sides of the pecs and are used for extending the arm forward when straight. Again, they can create a more ripped physique and actually provide considerable extra force when engaging in pushing movements.
One of the most important muscle groups trained by the kettlebell swing and other movements is the forearms. These include your forearm flexors and extensors which allow you to grip and release things. By improving your grip, you gain a firmer hold on any weight or tool you’re training with and thereby greatly improve your performance.
These are two muscles trained by the deadlift as well as many other movements. Their job is to help you stand up straight and keep the spine erect. They can help to combat back problems as well as giving you considerably more lifting power!