7 Reasons Kettlebells are awesome for divers

By Coach Izzy

An excerpt from the upcoming book “Kettlebells for a Fit Diver”

Let me tell you how I got to love kettlebells for scuba diving. Many years ago after heeding the beckoning of the underwater world, I was getting ready for my open water diver certification. My concern was how not having done any extensive swimming in many years would affect my performance in the testing portion. At that point, my training program was kettlebell lifting almost exclusively.

My worries dissipated when I finished WELL ahead of everyone without a hint of exertion and plenty of stamina left. These kettlebells were certainly something and now they merited a closer look. Without hesitation, I purchased a complete set of my own that day.

I knew there was something unique and beneficial about this awkward hunk of iron and time justified my hunch. Many exercise gadgets came and vanished during that period but kettlebells went from obscurity to must haves. What was the key to their growth and success? Simple, they force you to pay attention and get results!

Who has the time, space, or money to afford a gym membership, or expensive equipment, or fancy gadgets that promise a lot but deliver little? That was a problem until kettlebells made their triumphant comeback! Here are a few good reasons why kettlebells are so awesome for us.

1.) Convenience  Let’s face it, the last thing a diver needs is real state taken away by a big piece of equipment. Diving gear takes priority, right? Kettlebells take very little room and are easy to put away. You can do hundreds, if not thousands, of exercises and/or combinations with minimal space and equipment requirements. Keep a bell or two at your home gym or any other convenient place. Keep a bell in your car and discover the fun of outdoor kettlebell work. The only limitation is your imagination.

2.) Affordability  Although a pair of kettlebells may seem more expensive than a pair of dumbbells, or a medicine ball, or a jump rope, you have to look at the big picture. Do not forget we are investing long term. Considering the amount of abuse a good pair of kettlebells can take, how long they can last, and the endless combinations you can perform, you’ll realize it is a small investment which will pay off for many years and never get boring.

3.) Simplicity  A cannon ball with a handle. No fancy alloys, no moving parts subject to wear and tear, no gears to switch, no pins to pull. One exercise can turn into a completely different one by simply repositioning the bell. Pressing a weight overhead in the regular position, versus holding it by the handle, or resting it at the bottom are all very different exercise experiences. And the repertoire only increases with your skill.

4.) Movement awareness  The beautiful thing about lifting kettlebells is they involve highly integrated but easy to learn movement skills. Even in the beginning stages you pay attention to your exercises. You learn to time the bell with your movements and to recognize when the movement is not as fluid. This awareness is the key to movement freedom. Learning to move freely is how we can deal with the surprises of shore diving or the challenges of boat diving.

5.) Time efficient  Fat burning zone? Time wasting fallacy! Long, boring, and unproductive workouts! Body part training? Go to a station, 1 set, 10 reps, rest, and repeat 2-3 more times. Move to another station and do the same. Boring, unproductive, and accomplishing in 2 hours what could’ve been done in 30 minutes. Kettlebells on the other hand, require you to keep moving and moving. You will of course, take breaks, but it will not be anything like the dull, energy killing traditional training you have been exposed to. Quick and effective workouts are the hallmark of experienced kettlebell lifters.

6.) It is darn FUN!!  One of the reasons we love diving so much is because there is always something new to learn. The pursuit of effortless buoyancy, rescue and salvage techniques, new information about places yet to dive, and new bits of diving science makes our light bulbs go off. Our brains stay young and nurtured through learning and that is why we have so much fun diving.

Now it is important we acknowledge that learning is both an intellectual and physical experience. Anything requiring the development of physical skills will engage our brains and the learning centers and that is why learning sports or physical hobbies brings so much joy. Good for our bodies and minds!

In this aspect, kettlebells shine bright. You have to learn to move with gracefulness, efficiency, and skill. That is why many people who never used kettlebells become addicted to them. They love the feeling of accomplishment, the ability of mastering a new skill, and constantly keep seeking new challenges to keep nurturing mind and body.

Compare that to the dull feeling of doing the same thing over and over in the gym. Booring!!! Keep your options open and you will never run out of things to do with your kettlebells and you may even get to the point in which you show off to your friends.

7.) You inspire other divers  Nothing is more self-contradictory than the diver who talks about decompression algorithms, safe diving practices, but explodes out of the exposure suit after unzipping.

If you are an instructor, you can exalt the virtues of exercise to your students until you are blue in the face, but nothing will convince them more than you setting a living example. Your energy, your vitality, not to mention your body, will reveal a lot more about your caring for your health as a diver than volumes of pamphlets or articles on the topic you can pass on.

When it comes to inspiring, actions speak louder than words. No amount of talk, persuasion, or condemnation will ever be as effective as you setting your foot in the battle field and showing what it takes to build a great body and health. Never forget people respond better when they feel they are being led, not when they are being pushed.

Happy and safe diving and I’ll see you on the exercise floor!

About The Author


Coach Izzy has been part of the Strength and Conditioning field for over 25 years. He speaks of the advantages of self-sufficiency and the drawbacks of relying on the liner approaches the health world seems fond of.