What is a kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a ball-shaped weight with a handle attached at the top. Usually made from either cast iron or cast steel, it can be used to perform a wide variety of exercises.
What are the benefits?
In recent years, kettlebells have been growing in popularity and have a taken a spot at the top of many trainers’ favourite equipment lists. This is because there are a number of advantages to using them in your workouts, here are just some of those advantages:
Although having a range of different weights would be recommended, it is not necessary with kettlebells. Just using one kettlebell the user can work any muscle group with exercises such as Russian twists, swings, squats, bicep curls and tricep dips. Not having to stop and switch weights can increase the efficiency of your workout while the lack of breaks can add a cardio aspect. Even more versatile are adjustable kettlebells which allow you to change the weight of a singular kettlebell.
With most weight lifting, the movement can become abrupt and jerky. Whereas with kettlebells, a lot of the exercises require rotations and swings which mean no stopping and starting. Because of this, the user is unable to rest or stop working for an entire set. This can also mean that more muscle groups are being worked than usual, ensuring a productive and successful workout.
More Calories Burnt
As previously mentioned, kettlebells are versatile in how they can be used and tend to combine strength and cardio training in a number of exercises. This type of training is almost guaranteed to burn a higher number of calories. A study by the American Council found that you can burn 400 calories in just 20 minutes, which is the equivalent to running a 6 minute mile.
What are the best exercises?
The clear first choice for kettlebell related exercises is the kettlebell swing. This involves the using both hands to grasp the kettlebell, lowering your body slightly by bending the knees and driving the hips back. You then explosively drive your hips forward and swing the kettlebell to shoulder height. This exercise engages multiple muscle groups as both the core and glutes need to be engaged to control the swing. Excellent for both strength and cardio training, this exercise can burn fat for hours after the workout as it can also be a form of HIIT.
Kettlebell farmer’s walk
This exercise is another example of a full-body workout using the kettlebell. The famer’s walk engages the core whilst strengthening your grip and upper back and working the leg muscles. This involves holding one kettlebell in each hand and walking with quick short steps until you feel your grip weaken. This exercise also engages the upper arm and back muscles as they attempt to take pressure off the forearms.
Kettlebell two arm military press
This type of military press will, of course, target the deltoids and the triceps but it also works both the legs and core as you attempt to maintain stability throughout the move. This exercise involves holding a kettlebell in each hand with the weight at the back. You then press them up above your head until your arms are straight and then lower them back down with control. By using kettlebells this press, you are able to both improve mobility in your upper body and perfect your form.
Overall, the kettlebell is an extremely versatile and efficient piece of equipment that can help in achieving almost any fitness goal.