Go Ballistic


Don’t get the wrong idea! I’m not telling you to be angry or to make a scene. When I say Go Ballistic I mean do ballistic exercises, such as those which can be done with kettlebells. It can be ok to “go crazy”, but save the craze for your workouts.

Dynamic Training

Ballistic training, often called “dynamic training” or the “Fast lifts”, is a kind of strength training exercise that is fast, explosive and uses full-body motions to generate speed and power.

The word Ballistra comes from the Old Greek language meaning “to throw”, and so the ballistic lifts can be described as throws. With kettlebells, for every throw there is a corresponding catch. During your working sets, this catch-and-release process repeats for each rep throughout the entire set. Therefore, kettlebell training is commonly described as high-repetition ballistic exercise. Within this training approach is found a special quality of kettlebells that you do not often find with other single pieces of exercise equipment. Kettlebell combines strength (the load) with power (ballistic/fast movement) and endurance (repetitions) all at the same time, in a single workout, in a single set. Put those multiple qualities all together and you have an extremely time-efficient and well-rounded fitness program, that simultaneously develops fitness AND athleticism (improved movement quality).


Ballistic kettlebell lifting allows you to practice a controlled fury that encourages maximum expression of your body within acceptable mechanical guidelines. A ballistic lift is not a wild flailing of body parts with no clear aim. That is a path to ruin (injuries).

Rather, the ballistic kettlebell exercises follow precise patterns of movement and aim to maximize body leverage to achieve maximal power and movement efficiency.

Like any skill, it takes consistent practice over time before you can do high repetition ballistic lifts with heavy weights. But nothing burns calories faster than some high-repetition kettlebell exercise with a light to moderate load.

Examples of Ballistic Kettlebell Exercises

Most common are Swings, Cleans, Snatch, Jerk and Clean and Jerk, all movements that use dynamic, multi-joint exercises that work many muscles throughout a large range of motion and require a high demand from the heart and lungs. Other popular ballistic kettlebell lifts include Push Press and Jump Squats. Many of these ballistic movements can also be performed with a barbell, although the barbell variations are more technical and take longer to master. What makes the kettlebell unique is that its handle allows almost any exercise to become a ballistic exercise by releasing and catching the kettlebell by the handle. These dynamic catch and release movements have the added benefit of creating a very strong grip over time.

There is even an entire specialty form of ballistic kettlebell training called Juggling or Power Juggling, during which the performer swings, spins, flips, throws and catches the kettlebell from assorted angles. 

Consider adding a few ballistic kettlebell lifts into your exercise program for an effective way to develop power while also increasing fitness.

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