Hello! There seems to be a lot of talk today about whether kettlebells are good, and if there are any health benefits of kettlebell training. Quite simply the answer is yes they are good, and there’s substantial research to support that answer.
First, I’d like to give you a little history on kettlebells. Research has shown they actually originated in ancient Greece. Around the 1700’s they were introduced in Russia and have basically been around ever since.
There are some fads that develop in the fitness industry that don’t last because they don’t hold value for the user. However, I can tell you that kettlebells don’t fall into that category.
One, because people around the world have been using them for over 200 years, and two because they deliver excellent value as exercise. Next, I’d like to go over some of the reasons why you should work out with kettlebells.
1. Anyone Can Do It – Kettlebells are very simple to use and you can do many different movements with them. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to get a good workout from them either.
2. Not a Fad – Like I mentioned above, kettlebells are definitely not a fad and have been around over 2 centuries. My feeling is they’ll probably be around another 200 years because of the benefits people get from them.
3. Combines 5 Components of Fitness – Kettlebells can actually cover 5 major components of fitness depending on how you use them. These components are as follows:
Strength – Most kettlebell movements help improve strength in your shoulders, chest, back, abs, forearms, biceps, triceps, and glutes (butocks).
Cardiorespiratory – Your heart and lungs are involved while doing kettlebell swings and other kettlebell moves.
Power – A lot of kettlebell movements are explosive in nature so they help increase your power.
Core – Kettlebell exercises involve some type of core movement most of the time such as your shoulders, abs, glutes, etc so these areas become stronger.
Balance – Kettlebell swings, as well as other kettlebell moves require the weight to be balanced while in motion. By focusing on balancing the weight, it also helps improve your balance because your center of gravity is being challenged. It also helps sharpen your coordination.
4. Fat Loss – Your metabolism is increased during the process of doing kettlebell swings. This helps speed up your caloric burn.
5. Bang For Your Buck – Since kettlebell workouts can burn a lot of calories in a short period of time, they’re great for people with a busy schedule. Just a 30 minute kettlebell session can many times metabolize more calories than a traditional cardio workout.
6. Secondary Muscles – Kettlebells cause more stabilizing and secondary muscles to become engaged. This will increase your overall total body strength compared to other workouts.
7. Kinetic Chain – Kettlebell training helps strengthen muscles involved in kinetic chain movements. A kinetic chain is when a muscle movement causes another muscle to move via a joint.
I like to use the analogy of a clock. If you look inside a clock you’ll see tumblers that spin, these same tumblers cause other tumblers to spin because they’re connected to each other via a cog in a wheel.
The second set of tumblers cause a third set of tumblers to spin because of another cog and so on.
It’s the same concept in your body. However, instead of a cog connecting the muscles it’s joints. By having a stronger kinetic chain you can have more fluid and smooth movements of your body.
8. Inexpensive – If you’re looking for a cheap way to work out kettlebells are a great option. Many times they cost less than traditional dumbbells or barbells.
9. Mobile – Kettlebells are very mobile and don’t take up a lot of space. They can easily be packed in a suitcase or travel bag if you travel. You can also put them in a backpack and take them to a park or wherever you like to work out. They can also be stored in a corner of a room with no problem and don’t require a rack to support them.
10. Safety – Kettlebells are safe to use when used properly. If you’ve never used them before I would suggest watching a video that shows you proper techniques and lifting movements.
I wrote a review on the KettleWorx Power Pro 8 Week Rapid Evolution Kettlebell Weight kit you can see here. The kit comes with videos that show you proper techniques and workouts. Or you can check with a personal trainer and they should be able to show you as well.
11. Daily Activities – Daily activities such as lifting things and general movements of your trunk become easier with kettlebell training. This is because your core becomes stronger over time.
12. Nervous System – Since balance and coordination are needed with kettlebell movements this means your nervous system is involved. During movements your brain recruits more muscle fibers to accomplish the action. This in turn leads to more muscle density and size for the muscles being used. The increased brain and neural activity also helps keep your nervous system sharp.
13. Posture – Your back muscles become strengthened with kettlebell training. This helps you have better posture because you’ll naturally use the muscles required for sitting straight. Most of the time you’ll end up doing this and won’t even realize it while it’s happening.
14. Fun – Kettlebell workouts can be a lot of fun and break up the monotony of traditional workouts. You can do a vast array of exercises just by changing your grip a little on the weights.
One of the keys to staying fit is variety and kettlebells can give you a nice change of pace. Since they look different and feel different than traditional weights, they’re more unique and a lot of us like using things that are different.
Summary – There are many benefits of kettlebells and anyone can take advantage of them. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be an athlete to use them. The ACE (American Council on Exercise) did a great article on the use of kettlebells that you can see here.
Considering you can get a little bit of 5 areas of fitness rolled into one workout, I feel kettlebell training is definitely worth your effort. If you have any experiences with kettlebells you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.
Also, if you have any comments in general or questions please let me know and I will get back to you. Go ahead and give kettlebells a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Thank you for your time and have terrific day!