Have you ever wondered why people do kettlebell workout exercises? In today’s packed gyms, as we all strive to lose weight and gain fitness there are many bits of gym equipment: some more popular than others. The use of kettlebells has certainly been increasing. But why would you move away from normal weight training? How can swinging weights around (up and down or side to side) be of benefit in the goal of fitness or body tone? Why would you want to do it anyway?
What’s a kettlebell?
Well it has nothing to do with a kettle!
Kettlebells originated in Russia. Yes we’ve all seen pictures of Putin playing with his but we don’t need to bare our chest to exercise. They are cast iron weights shaped like a bell rounded off by a handle to facilitate grip. They come in various weights and the chosen weight will to a degree be determined by your own personal goals. in addition the kettlebell workout exercises that you want to complete will have a bearing.
Unlike traditional weights kettlebells provide a training based on dynamism (the swing). thisworks every muscle in your body from head to toe whilst at the same time building endurance, stamina, balance and yes a little bit of agility. It really is a one piece gym designed to work the whole body and get the heart pounding.
A kettlebell workout will build power in the legs and arms, provide core stability. It is also incredibly time efficient in these busy times and provides a perfect high intensity cardio work out.
What are the benefits?
No matter where you are in your training or whatever level you are working at kettlebells provide an intense body workout. Kettlebells used correctly will work over 600 muscles in your body!
It’s a while ago now but back in 2013 the American Council on Exercise stated
“Researchers also point to the positive implications of being able to increase core strength by 70 percent, especially for the aging population”
“The bottom line is, kettlebells may be decidedly old school, but thanks to the explosive, total-body nature of kettlebell training, its potential for serious body benefits are just as strong as ever.”
As well as improving core strength as I user I can testify to no end to the other benefits such as:
- Improved coordination: you’ve gotta concentrate with a heavy bell under your control
- Greater fexibility
- A stronger back
- More endurance: helps me with skiing
- Stronger muscles
- Body tone
- Increased metabolism
- Continued calorie burn after the exercise
Above all a tired body and mind will always sleep well so you are always well rested even though you’ve pushed the body hard. Note that the research refers to the aging population so kettlebells are not just for aspiring cage fighters. Yes the weights may be smaller but the benefits at whatever age are there for all to see.
A key benefit listed above is that with kettlebell training, the training creates a large imbalance in homeostasis throughout the body.
According to Wikipedia, “homeostasis is the state of steady internal conditions maintained by living things. This dynamic state of equilibrium is the condition off optimal functioning for the organism and includes many variables, such as body temperature and fluid balance, being kept within certain preset limits”
So what that means for us mere mortals is that once the workout is over the body needs to work very hard in order to restore balance which in turn means the burning of even more calories.
What weight should I use?
So the idea of swinging kettle bells appeals: you can see the benefits and you now know what they are but where to start with weights?
Search the Internet and there are standard weights for you to lift: but here’s the thing! We are not all equal and are at varying stages so go with what’s right for you.
As with everything in life, learn and then implement but above all start slowly. Why? Well the techniques to lifting and swinging kettlebells are different to traditional weight lifting. Learn how to use them to avoid injury and keep the training fun.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of fitness! You make think it’s cool to start with a heavy weight. However poor technique and will probably do more long term damage to your body and possibly put you off this training for life.
I should know: I train alone with kettlebells. So when I attended a 40 minute class could grab my usual weights. Somewhat surprised at the weights taken by others the class started. I paid a heavy price! I drop to lower weights: an intensive class can be a lot of fun but not if you’ve the wrong weight for serious reps on varying parts of the body.
So start light and move upwards but knowing that the kettlebell needs to be heavy enough to force you to use the power of you legs hips and arms in the training.
I didn’t just jump in a car and drive off down the road nor did I slap on a pair of skis and head off down the mountain. So learn before action! Speak to people in the gym for an introduction, even look on YouTube but please don’t just grab a kettlebell and start swinging!
Hopefully you can know see the benefits of working with kettlebells and a bit of the science behind it. I wish you good luck and a happy and healthy training routine.