Although they’ve been used by Russian strongmen since the 19th century, kettlebells have only recently started to gain popularity in the West. However, if you’re starting a home gym, they can be a cost-effective alternative to other options. Because a single kettlebell can provide a wide range of exercise options, it can be a much cheaper option than obtaining a full set of dumbbells or a complex exercise machine. But are kettlebells a good workout? In this article we’ll familiarize you with the basics of kettlebells and show how you can use them to improve your body.
What Are Kettlebells?
A kettlebell is a cast iron or cast steel ball with a handle attached to the top. Think of a cannonball with a D shaped handle welded to the top of it or a teapot without its spout. Because the centre of mass is not evenly distributed, a ballistic or swinging motion is easily facilitated. And as opposed to dumbbells, the handle of a kettlebell is smooth to allow it to easily rotate in your hand while swinging it.
What Are Kettlebells Good For?
Kettlebell exercises are very versatile and can be used to improve the four main aspects of fitness: strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.
The ballistic exercises are very good at targeting the core muscles from several different angles as the body both accelerates and decelerates the movement of the kettlebell when it’s being swung.
Balance and Coordination
The swinging motions of kettlebells work the body differently than the linear movements associated with dumbbells and barbells. More balance and coordination are needed to keep the movement of the kettlebell in check.
Calorie Burning Potential
A strenuous kettlebell workout can easily burn more calories than jogging or conventional weight training. This has a lot to do with the multidirectional movements and the use of stabilizer muscles to keep the kettlebell in check.
Kettlebells aren’t only good for strength training, they can significantly increase your heart and breathing rates as well. Kettlebells are ideal for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which relies on multiple repetitions with light weights. If keeping your heart rate up during your weight training is something you’re looking for, kettlebells can help.
Range of Motion
Isolation exercises associated with barbells and dumbbells typically limit you to a singular plane of motion. Kettlebell exercises, on the other hand, are more likely to simulate regular day to day movements which can help improve your range of motion and flexibility. If you’re looking to extend your range of motion and increase your flexibility, kettlebell exercises can help.
Kettlebell exercises are known for improving muscle tone rather than simply building muscle mass. This is one of the reasons kettlebells are very popular with women. If you’re looking for lean, ripped and toned muscles, kettlebells provide an optimal path to your desires.