Kettlebells – Most Popular Alternative Training Tool


What kettlebell training can do for your body?

Another extremely popular alternative training equipment (tool) that has recently gained much attention is kettlebells. However, kettlebells are not new. In fact, they are one of the older training tools that we have stolen from ancient Roman times. Kettlebells made their mark in the late 1800s, then dropped off the map for nearly 100 years before being brought back in the late 1990s and becoming iconic for some training advocates.

Nearly all weight training exercises involve using weight-stack machines, free weights (including barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells), resistance bands, stability balls, body-weight resistance, or combinations of all of these.

Barbell, dumbbell, and kettlebell exercises are categorized as free weights. Free weights do not take up much space, and you can use them to perform hundreds of exercises. The unrestrained movement patterns permitted by free-weight equipment allow your joints to move through their full range, thus increasing your flexibility and improving your overall muscle coordination. These advantages help explain why the use of free weights is so popular.

What is a kettlebell?

So just what is a kettlebell? A kettlebell resembles a cast-iron ball (like a cannonball) with a handle attached to the top of it. It was first used as a unit of measurement on market and farming scales, and later used in the Russian military for conditioning and strength. Authentic kettlebells are made of either cast iron or steel.

kettlebell set

kettlebell set

What size kettlebell is right for me?

The giyra, Russian for kettlebell, ranges from very low weight 9 pounds (4 kg) to competition style weight 140 pounds (64 kg), and even higher weights exist. Because many kettlebell exercises involve multiple muscle groups, it can be difficult to determine training loads.

The weight selected depends on your level of fitness and the exercise. Most women should start with an 8 kg (18 lb) kettlebell. However, if you are well trained already, try using a 12 kg (26 lb) kettlebell.

Men starting to work out can begin with a 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebell, while a fit man can begin with a 20 kg (44 lb) or even 24 kg (53 lb) kettlebell. Despite these guidelines, your technique needs to be excellent, and you must attempt to perform the number of repetitions associated with your training goal. That is the main reason why a heavy kettlebell is not the best for learning proper form. Better to leave your ego at the door and err of the lighter side. Learn proper technique first and then move on to the heavier bells.

Kettlebell Starter Sizes Chart

Kettlebell Starter Sizes Chart

Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells

This design makes kettlebells different from training with dumbbells because the weight of a kettlebell is not distributed evenly, thus creating the need to counter balance and stabilize during your workout. In other words, your muscles need to work harder to maintain your balance. This is, off course, great opportunity to develop core strength.

Kettlebells Exercises

You can use kettlebells for a variety of exercises. They can be used the same way as dumbbells for regular strength exercises such as curls or presses. For example,  you can perform standard weight training exercises with kettlebells such as the double bent-over row and front squat. However, we mainly use them to perform swings, snatches, and cleans.

kettlebellsMost popular exercises:

  • Swing
  • Turkish Getup
  • Clean
  • Press
  • Windmill
  • Snatch
  • Push Press
  • Single Leg RDL
  • Russian Twist

An advantage of kettlebell training is that their use allows you to train multiple muscle groups at the same time, requiring muscle groups to work cooperatively, thereby improving overall muscle coordination.

Benefits of Kettlebell Training

The benefits of kettlebell training are numerous and are applicable for individuals who wish to increase all aspects of health and fitness and for professional and Olympic athletes.

Such benefits include:

  • Enhanced athleticism, coordination, and balance;
  • Boosting mental focus and physical stamina;
  • Increased oxygen uptake;
  • Increased total body conditioning as opposed to isolation training;
  • Recruitment of the posterior chain (calves, hamstring complex, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors);
  • Increased core stability and muscular endurance;
  • Increased strength and power;
  • Improved grip strength;
  • Increased metabolic demands and caloric expenditure;
  • Training with kettlebells also results is an excellent whole-body workout;

Whether using a two-handed, single-arm, hand-to-hand grip, or release-and-catch movement, the variety of positions and movement options allows for increased skill, coordination, neuromuscular control, dynamic strength, and enjoyment. All variations allow the user to transform dynamic force reduction into powerful force production for a fun, challenging, and effective workout.

Closing thoughts about kettlebell training

Kettlebell workouts can make training fun and interesting, they’re nothing like the boring cardio work or weights routine you do in the gym. You can get a challenging, intense but fun, dynamic and engaging workout, unlike any you’ve probably done before. This means that you achieve the results! Some many people plateau in their training or get bored and give up. Which means they never achieve their goals. So you should definitely incorporate this great alternative training tool into your workouts from time to time.


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