No matter how many times I cover it, there will always be people that simply can’t agree with the fact that 96kg is 96kg, whether that 96kg is on a bar or a handle. Let’s settle this once and for all. I’ll change my opinion on this matter if anyone can provide sensible answers with scientific evidence, not bro science.
Can you use kettlebells for hypertrophy and is the barbell superior? Can the kettlebell cause hypertrophy?
Josh Dunn could not leave the topic alone and had to call me out to rally his buddies, who then go through your profile pictures and judge you on whatever they can pick on. You know how it goes. Then they all have a party, talking smack, even though they only know half the story. It’s ok, let’s see if they can put that mouth to good use and help provide some answers to the following.
- Kettlebell group
- Newbie to training
- He just posted he felt comfortable lifting 20lb
- Wants to know about gaining muscle with the kettlebell (hypertrophy)
If you’re part of an online discussion group you’ll probably see these type of discussions all the time and like me, also know where it leads to. I wanted to nip the butt in the head, but things escalated anyway, so, here is my contribution to the debate that was insisted upon. Open for anyone to post their scientific evidence below or on Quora.
Let us forget the OP (original poster) which led to this debate for a moment and first get into the following, and feel free to provide answers.
Yes, you can load a barbell with more weight.
1) Does that make the barbells more superior if the person in question could only ever get up to 96kg lifts in total or if that was all he ever needed for hypertrophy?
Yes, the barbell is easier when it comes to stability and learning curve.
2) Does that make the barbell more superior or does instability actually provide benefits?
Yes, the barbell is used by the majority of bodybuilders.
3) Is that because of barbells always having been available everywhere; because the kb has a higher learning curve; and/or because kettlebells are not widely available especially in good increments?
Yes, you see people with bigger muscles using barbells rather than kettlebells.
4) Is that because those people that do use the kettlebell simply have other priorities or are they following the same program but just fail because the barbell is superior? Or is it because the kettlebell is generally more popular for cardio? And if so, would that make it automatically not suitable for hypertrophy, even though a weight is a weight!?
Yes, the barbell is cheaper due to the loading capability.
5) Does that make it more superior or make the kb less capable of producing hypertrophy?
Is 96kg not 96kg and if you know how to use it, it will provide hypertrophy?
6) If you take 96kg in kettlebell weight and 96kg in barbell weight. You take a person who follows the same program, the same diet, everything exactly the same. Is one going to be more superior over the other?
Yes, I also use barbells in my training and for that of other people.
7) Does that make the barbell superior or the kettlebell incapable of inducing hypertrophy?
If you’d make a list with benefits for both, which side would have the most ticks? And would the side with the most ticks make it superior, or does it all depend on the case at hand?
Let’s also point out that 96kg on the kb feels heavier due to the stabilization that is required. Forget the good ol “but you can load the barbell with more weight”, yes you can, but before you get to that point you’d already be yoked up. Hence, hypertrophy with the kettlebell was effective.
(FYI kettlebells are also unilateral)
“On average, most people are able to lift roughly 20% more with a barbell, compared to the combined weight of 2 dumbbells, on the same basic exercise. This is because you are using fewer stabilizer muscles on barbell exercises, which allows you to lift more weight.” Chris Muir
Can stabilization training help increase muscle size?
While stabilization training itself won’t do much to increase lean muscle mass it will properly prepare your body to get the most out of hypertrophy training that does increase lean muscle mass.
To get the most out of your hypertrophy training you need to have proper stabilization of the joints and connective tissues to be able to handle the loads necessary to bring about increases in lean muscle mass.
Stabilization training is a good preparation phase to use before hypertrophy training and should also be periodically revisited to help you recover from extended periods of hypertrophy training. Remember that it is important to periodize and change up your program in order to keep progressing and avoid overtraining.
Is unilateral better than bilateral lifting?
Unilateral lifting has three main advantages over bilateral:
- It recruits more muscle fibers and fatigues more motor unit pools with each rep. This simply means that it makes each lift more effective.
- It allows you to concentrate and focus more on one specific muscle. This can help you maintain good form which leads to an increase in performance and a decrease in injuries.
- It helps to repair strength imbalances between your right and left sides. This is through a phenomenon called Contralateral Effect, and we’ll get into that in a moment.
Even though bodybuilders have been doing single limb lifts for a long time now, science has recently revealed the reason behind these benefits. Even findings in the field of neurophysiology indicate that single limb work is more beneficial than bilateral work when looking at recruitment of higher threshold motor units. Taken from https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/exercise/heres-why-training-one-limb-at-a-time-builds-more-muscle
Yes, there can/will be a time that the kettlebell is not heavy enough anymore because it can’t be loaded with additional weight. How big can you get till that happens? How long is a piece of string? Will there be people that outgrow the kb weight? Yes. Many? No. Does that make the barbell superior? I guess it will depend on whom you ask. In my opinion, the safety and other qualities far outweigh those of the barbell. Now, I used 2 x 48kg as an example but there are actually 80kg kettlebells, and 2 x 80 equals 160kg, you have to be Hulk to lift that weight in kbs.
I won’t even go into the unilateral qualities and shoulder safety here, done that enough, let’s focus on the above and provide your concrete and scientific answers below or here. I won’t cover biceps curls, done that enough, they can also be done and just as effective when done properly.
For those who are unsure of what I’m saying. I’m saying that neither is superior in my books and asking questions that should be answered. But most of all, I’m saying that kettlebells do cause hypertrophy, and seriously, anyone that suggests they’re not capable of inducing hypertrophy really should get a check-up.
Getting back to the debate that started this. If a person that uses kettlebells asks about hypertrophy in a kettlebell group and is at the stage of just comfortably lifting 20lb at the moment, then the logical response would be to provide advice on how to progress from there and not be putting kettlebells down with random statements.
“The precise mechanisms which induce muscular hypertrophy are not clearly understood, with currently accepted hypotheses regarding some combination of mechanical tension, metabolic fatigue, and muscular damage as relevant factors.” Wikipedia
To make it even more interesting, who cares, use whatever works for you, but don’t be putting something else down without first providing answers to the above. Crap, why are we having this conversation again? Oh yeah, cause someone was butthurt I shut the door on them in a house I own.
All things aside, the real reason I kicked this guy out is that after running a group for such a long time you get to know what people are like, the crap they’ll stir in the group, and how they’ll be putting others down. The above just proofs that I was correct and my gut was right about what kind of person he really is. Very childish behavior, I would class it in the same type of stupid statement as me saying “See, I didn’t even bring up the fact that I can easily choke this guy out or break his arm”. He then went on with him knowing lots of kettlebell personalities and tagging them. I would never dream about tagging the ‘kettlebell personalities’ I know to drag them into crap that’s none of their business, I would never allow people I know to slag someone else off on my timeline, I would not dare to lower myself like that. The great thing about all this is, I can see who is in the same league as him and get rid of them too on my timeline, because, to me, Facebook in a way is about creating the circle of motivation that you want to see every day, a group of people you’re aligned with no matter how far apart.
For those wanting to join the biggest and most popular group on Facebook, here it is https://www.facebook.com/groups/KettlebellTraining/ and yes, the moderators and admins run a very tight ship, hence the reason it’s such a great group.
More context as to what this post is about, it’s about who can pee the furthest, for one person anyway. For those interested in debating, provide answers to the questions. For those interested in whether kettlebells can provide hypertrophy, read the above and make up your own mind. For those who think pissing contests are pathetic, I’m with you on that one, I usually don’t give in to them, but I was in a mood to start with, and then it escalated because of a group of kids got together and whined about their buddy being removed from a group. LOL