The term "What the hell effect" was first coined on the Dragondoor.com forum about eight years ago, when kettlebell lifters began noticing unexplained improvements in their performance of various activities seemingly unrelated to kettlebell lifting. Folks reported improvements in everything from one-armed pullups to distance running, even when they had abandoned training those activities altogether. People were so surprised by their success after doing nothing but kettlebells for exercise, that they exclaimed "what the hell!" when they unexpectedly bested a previous personal record. It seemed like kettlebell training was magic.
Not everyone who lifts kettlebells experiences the "WTH" effect, and some people doubt its existence altogether.
I don't know if my experience tonight counts as a WTH experience, because it only makes sense that kettlebell lifting strengthens the lifter's hands to a great degree. Here is what happened:
I went to Kmart to get a new watch battery. The sales staff at the watch counter could not loosen the screws on the watch to remove the old battery. They told me I'd need to take the watch somewhere with better screwdrivers, as they were afraid they'd strip the screws with the set they had, since no one could budge the screws.
I asked them to hand me the jeweler's screwdriver they were using. I could only use my thumb and index finger to turn the screwdriver since I was holding my toddler in my arms at the time, so I could not really bear down with any strength. Basically, I just used two fingers to turn the screw.
I loosened all four screws with ease using just two fingers. The jaws of the sales staff dropped to the counter. "Oh my God, you are strong" said one of the clerks.
I relate this anecdote not to glorify myself. I know there are probably dozens of teenage girl kettlebell lifters in Siberia who can outlift me. I read the other day of a 63-year-old Latvian man who can best my personal record in Long Cycle by 20 reps.
My point is, kettlebell lifting gives you real-world, walking around, every day strength you can use. You get the strength where you need it, especially in the back and hands.
I am not naturally strong. But I have enjoyed the benefits of the practical strength that kettlebells develop.
In the meantime, I'm still looking for a watch battery. It turns out Kmart was sold out, as was the drug store on the way home. Looks like I'm headed to Wal-mart and Target tomorrow.