Kettlebells, which originated in Russia, are heavy cast iron bells with a handle. They are used by athletes for functional strength development and by fitness enthusiasts for adding variety to their training.
It is the design of the kettlebell that makes it unique. When you grip the handle the weight is displaced differently than that of a dumbbell (free weight). This weight displacement causes you to work harder.
Though kettlebells have been around for more than a century, they are making a comeback not only in the strength conditioning of athletes, but also in everyday fitness programs for people of all fitness levels.
Unlike regular resistance training with machines and dumbbells (free weights) which involve slow and controlled movements, kettlebell training is based on using momentum and quick, explosive movements to work the body.
Benefits of training with kettlebells:
- Total Body Workout: kettlebells align with the body’s center of gravity and you have to work harder to balance and stabilize weight (causing the muscles of the arm, shoulder and core to contribute).
- Highly efficient workout: combines cardio, strength and flexibility training in one convenient, fun workout.
- Develops functional strength: unlike fitness machines which work only one plane of movement, kettlebell exercises incorporate movement in more than one plane – just as we move in real life.
Who can train with kettlebells?
- Kettlebell training is for anyone who is healthy enough to do strength or resistance training. It is a highly efficient and extremely effective workout.
Kettlebells come in many different sizes and shapes (depending on the manufacturer). Most woman of average strength who have had some experience with weight training would begin with a kettlebell of 10 lbs. Woman who are completely new to weight/resistance training should start with 5 lbs. Men would begin with a kettlebell of 15 lbs to 20lbs. As you gain more experience training with kettlebells you should increase the weight of your kettlebell to get the maximum benefits from your workout.