When I first started training in the gym 30 years ago, the male-female ratio was definitely skewed to the male side. Now, that ratio is swinging in the other direction, with women consuming more fitness based products and services than ever before. Perhaps the growth of women’s fitness participation is what has contributed to their fascination with kettlebells. I’ve noticed over the course of the last decade of coaching and doing Kettlebell Partner Passing (KPP) workshops that women have an innate sense of rhythm, finesse, and cooperation that causes them to excel at kettlebells.
3 Reasons Why Women Excel at Kettlebells
Rhythm and timing. Rhythm and timing are two subtle components of kettlebell training that are important for success — and many women happen to have excellent rhythm and timing. Have you ever been to a party where they’re trying to get the dance floor going? It’s usually the women who get out there first, enthusiastically shaking their hips to the beat, while the guys stand on the side until someone literally pulls them onto the dance floor. Women tend to have a good sense of rhythm and timing, particularly in the hips. While this comes in handy on the dance floor, it’s relevant to kettlebell training, which is hip driven and rhythmic in nature. When it comes to Kettlebell Partner Passing, tuning into your partner and the rhythm of the kettlebell causes passing to become in many ways like a dance. Ideally both partners have rhythm, but even just one partner being in tune with the flow of the movement can improve the cadence and quality of passing.
Finesse and form. Since women have good rhythm and timing, they are more inclined to use rhythmic and well-timed lower body movement to lift the kettlebell — rather than the brute force that an upper-body dominant individual might use. Many women have a stronger lower body proportional to their upper body, which means they don’t muscle the bell with their arms, and therefore their hip drive is more efficient.
Connection and cooperation. Perhaps the most important reason that women excel at kettlebells is that building intimacy and connection speaks to them, which is what Kettlebell Partner Passing is all about. Women communicate to fulfill their desire for intimacy, while men communicate to share information, according to Georgetown linguistics professor Debra Tannen. Since socializing and nurturing are instinctive for many women, they enjoy connecting deeply with their kettlebell passing partner and are focused on sending them good passes. I’ve found that women tend to understand and appreciate the importance of the three count protocol for getting on the same page as their partner without having it spelled out for them. All of this is to say that when women realize passing kettlebells is more about connection than exercise, they get even more into it and get more out of it.
The way women innately know how to move their bodies and connect intimately with others are benefits to training with kettlebells and especially passing kettlebells. Because they are able to use abilities that come naturally to them, many women excel at kettlebells and greatly enjoy the benefits of the practice — it enhances their ability to tune into their bodies, empowers them by building physical strength, and improves their relational and communicative skills.