A kettlebell is basically a cannonball with a handle. This piece of Russian exercise equipment is a cast iron or steel cannonball with a handle attached to the top. Another way to look at is as a teapot without a spout, which is why it’s referred to as kettlebell in English. The Russian name for it is girya.
There are varieties of different ways to use kettlebells. They can be thrown, juggled, moved, held, swung, pressed and manipulated in a hundred different ways to achieve maximum benefits. Depending on how you use kettlebells, you can attain a wide variety of benefits. Whether it’s cardiovascular fitness, strength training, flexibility training, or you’re just trying to maintain your joint health, you can achieve all of this with kettlebell training. You just need to know the right form of kettlebell movements for you.
Even though most folks are still unaware about kettlebells and their benefits, and it’s even been considered as a new training gimmick that’s only been recently developed, kettlebells have quite a history. They were first developed in Russia in the early 1700s. Initially used by farmers, kettlebells were used as part of different physical and conditioning training programs in the 20th century by the Soviet army. Also, this magnificent piece of training equipment has been used in Russia and different parts of the world including Europe as for several different sports competitions, with the practice dating back as far as 1940s.
In the past, kettlebells weren’t always used to train for strength and other abilities. There have been evidence of circus strongmen using kettlebells in circuses to juggle skillfully and even just to demonstrate their weight lifting ability.
Kettlebells aren’t your normal dumbbells. While dumbbells are properly balanced, a kettlebell’s center of mass is extended beyond the hand, which means this equipment features uneven weight distribution. However, this doesn’t add any disadvantage to this item. Instead, you can do a variety of different movements that are simply impossible with traditional dumbbells. Kettlebells allow ballistic and swinging movements for this very reason.
The unique design of this equipment facilitates unstable force when it comes to handling. Also, it’s pretty safe and the trainer will be able to maintain a powerful grip thanks to the handle. Kettlebells are great for strengthening the arms and core.
Typical kettlebell exercises help to maintain endurance levels, increases strength in the legs, shoulders, and lower back, and also increases the ability to have a strong grip. Some of the basic movements like the swing, the clean and jerk, the snatch and so on work the entire body all at once. In a way, kettlebells work similar to real world activities such as farm work and shoveling.
The exercises performed on kettlebells are slightly different than the ones performed with other weights like dumbbells or barbells. Most kettlebell movements involve plenty of repetition. Naturally, this form of exercise involves lots of different muscles in the body simultaneously. And because these exercises are repeated nonstop for several minutes or with minimum breaks, kettlebell exercises tend to be more similar to high-interval intensity training than traditional weight training. Research has shown that the kettlebell is one of the best workout tools to lose weight and obtain a beautiful body. According to the reports, a simple 20 minute snatch workout with kettlebell can help a person to lose 13.6 calories per minute aerobically and 6.6 calories per minute anaerobically. The figures show that 20 minutes of working with kettlebell can be as effective as running 6 miles.
Benefits of kettlebells aren’t limited to just that. We have taken a time to list out some of the best:
- The kettlebell can be great cardio, so you will definitely be improving your stamina and heart health.
- The Kettlebell has been the equipment of choice among many gym trainers. A lot of people have started training with this magnificent piece equipment to attain a beautiful lean body and they have attained fantastic results.
- It’s something both men and women can practice. Women don’t have to worry about being too muscular with the right sets of exercise movements.
- Not only does kettlebell help to increase strength and heart health, but it also helps to maintain posture. If you’re used to sitting in front of a computer all day being hunched over, a kettlebell can be just the right tool to help you improve your posterior chain and be more upright, extended and open.
- Other benefits include maintaining proper balance and an increase in core strength.
Kettlebell exercises do offer large number of benefits. However, it’s not a best idea to jump into extreme movements at once. Also, you need to be careful about the weight you choose. If it’s your first time ever picking up a kettlebell, you will be better off starting out with something small. Feel free to move up a weight category or two once you have grown used to the smaller weight.
There is no age restriction when it comes to who can try kettlebell exercises and who cannot, but you should seek for professional help regarding the best exercises for your body structure. Some of the movements possible with kettlebell include
- Floor press
- High pull
- Overhead squat
- Lunge press
You can always increase your difficulty level by trying out a different variation of movements.
While kettlebells are known to be great for hip mobility and the lower back and legs, you should always keep in mind the risk of injury. If you have had problems in your legs, hip and lower back, you would be better off avoiding more extreme kettlebell movements, such as jerk, swing, and so on. Remember, your goal is to stay on form while pushing yourself to the limit, not to be sidelined with injury.
Kettlebell workouts can be planned with different goals such as strength building, weight loss, cardio, and so on. Develop a routine and stick to it. Don’t forget to plan your diet accordingly. Simply training won’t do you as much good without a complete diet and fitness regimen.