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Effects of Weightlifting vs. Kettlebell Training on Vertical Jump, Strength, and Body Composition

Otto, William H. III; Coburn, Jared W.; Brown, Lee E.; Spiering, Barry A.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 1199–1202
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31824f233e
Original Research

Abstract: Otto, III, WH, Coburn, JW, Brown, LE, and Spiering, BA. Effects of weightlifting vs. kettlebell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition. J Strength Cond Res 26(5): 1199–1202, 2012—The present study compared the effects of 6 weeks of weightlifting plus traditional heavy resistance training exercises vs. kettlebell training on strength, power, and anthropometric measures. Thirty healthy men were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (a) weightlifting (n = 13; mean ± SD: age, 22.92 ± 1.98 years; body mass, 80.57 ± 12.99 kg; height, 174.56 ± 5.80 cm) or (b) kettlebell (n = 17; mean ± SD: age, 22.76 ± 1.86 years; body mass, 78.99 ± 10.68 kg; height, 176.79 ± 5.08 cm) and trained 2 times a week for 6 weeks. A linear periodization model was used for training; at weeks 1–3 volume was 3 × 6 (kettlebell swings or high pull), 4 × 4 (accelerated swings or power clean), and 4 × 6 (goblet squats or back squats), respectively, and the volume increased during weeks 4–6 to 4 × 6, 6 × 4, and 4 × 6, respectively. Participants were assessed for height (in centimeters), body mass (in kilograms), and body composition (skinfolds). Strength was assessed by the back squat 1 repetition maximum (1RM), whereas power was assessed by the vertical jump and power clean 1RM. The results of this study indicated that short-term weightlifting and kettlebell training were effective in increasing strength and power. However, the gain in strength using weightlifting movements was greater than that during kettlebell training. Neither method of training led to significant changes in any of the anthropometric measures. In conclusion, 6 weeks of weightlifting induced significantly greater improvements in strength compared with kettlebell training. No between-group differences existed for the vertical jump or body composition.

Exercise Physiology Laboratory and Center for Sport Performance, Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California

Address correspondence to Jared W. Coburn, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association