Background. Kettlebell lifting has gained increased popularity as both a form of resistance training and as a sport, despite the paucity of literature validating its use as a training tool. Kettlebell sport requires participants to complete the kettlebell snatch continuously over prolonged periods of time. Kettlebell sport and weightlifting involve similar exercises, however their traditional uses suggest they are better suited to training different fitness qualities. This study examined the three dimensional ground reaction force (GRF) and force applied to the kettlebell over a six minute kettlebell snatch set in 12 kettlebell trained males.
Methods. During this set, VICON was used to record the kettlebell trajectory with nine infrared cameras while the GRF of each leg was recorded with a separate AMTI force plate. Over the course of the set, an average of 13.9 ± 3.3 repetitions per minute were performed with a 24 kg kettlebell. Significance was evaluated with a two-way ANOVA and paired t-tests, whilst Cohen’s F (ESF) and Cohen’s D (ESD) were used to determine the magnitude.
Results. The applied force at the point of maximum acceleration was 814 ± 75 N and 885 ± 86 N for the downwards and upwards phases, respectively. The absolute peak resultant bilateral GRF was 1746 ± 217 N and 1768 ± 242 N for the downwards and upwards phases, respectively. Bilateral GRF of the first and last 14 repetitions was found to be similar, however there was a significant difference in the peak applied force (F (1.11) = 7.42, p = 0.02, ESF = 0.45). Unilateral GRF was found have a significant difference for the absolute anterior-posterior (F (1.11) = 885.15 p < 0.0001, ESF = 7.00) and medio-lateral force vectors (F (1.11) = 5.31, p = 0.042, ESF = 0.67).
Discussion. Over the course of a single repetition there were significant differences in the GRF and applied force at multiple points of the kettlebells trajectory. The kettlebell snatch loads each leg differently throughout a repetition and performing the kettlebell snatch for six minutes will result in a reduction in peak applied force.