The Benefits Of Kettlebell Training
As someone who does all of his workouts at home or outdoors now I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with stepping off cardio machines and moving away from dumbbells and barbells.
I do a lot of walking and calisthenics. I use resistance bands. And as a later edition, I really went all-in on kettlebell training as well.
And that’s what I want to talk to you about – the benefits of kettlebell training.
Where Did Kettlebells Come From?
The origin of kettlebells can be traced back to Russian farmers in the 1700s when they used a similar type of tool for weighing their crops. That gradually seeped into circus strongmen.
And from there, the sport of strength athletics or – and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get this pronunciation wrong – girevoy – gradually emerged.
The term kettlebell started being used in the English language in the early 1900s.
And What Is A Kettlebell?
It’s a type of weight with a ball-shaped centre of mass or centre of gravity, you know, with the handle attached at the top.
Generally in the purest form, they come and fixed weights increasing in four-kilogram intervals. So 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and onwards and upwards.
I think the heaviest kettlebell I’ve seen for sale for like general population is 48 or 52 kilograms, but I’m sure you can probably find heavier somewhere as well.
You can also get adjustable ones. I’ve never tried those, but you can get them.
Nowadays you can also get in-between weights. So you can get like a 6, 10, 14-kilogram kettlebell as well.
So What Are The Benefits Of Kettlebell Training?
Kettlebell Training Is Fun
Number one, for me personally, I just find it fun.
There’s something kind of therapeutic about just challenging myself by hurling these big lumps of metal around. That might just be me though.
They can also get you a really good variety of exercises.
They are weights so they can be used for your sort of more traditional resistance exercises that you would normally use a barbell or dumbbell for.
But you can also get a little bit more variety. The skewed centre of gravity and the way it’s shaped means that you can swing it around and you can move it around you a little bit more easily than say a bulky dumbbell.
Within certain bounds and within certain limitations, as long as you’re keeping yourself safe, not damaging your own property. And not damaging the things around you, you don’t need a whole lot of space to get a great kettlebell workout done.
Because of the dynamic nature of kettlebells, it’s much easier to put together a workout or movement pattern or a certain flow that’s going to work multiple muscle groups in one go.
For example, let’s look at a one-handed kettlebell swing. You are stabilising with your core, you’re using your hip power, you’re using your hamstring strength, and you’re also using your arm and shoulder muscles to control the weight on the way down as well.
Plus it’s also building strength in your lower back.
Or you could imagine something like a one-arm kettlebell clean into a squat, into an overhead press. That’s going to be working kind of every muscle group in one straight flow. So it’s going to be a great full-body workout.
Do Or Die(?)
If you stick to the four-kilogram intervals, it kind of forces you to get strong.
There isn’t room for half measures when you’re moving up from one weight to another, in that size of increment.
And you either end up being able to do an exercise with that specific weight or, or not.
It does mean progression can feel a lot harder and it can be a lot more frustrating.
But it also means it feels absolutely awesome when you do make that progression.
Low Impact Interval Training Option
It’s also a great low impact interval training alternative.
When we think of HIIT, we typically think of sprints or jumps or other kinds of plyometric moves that can be a little bit risky for the joints.
But kettlebell exercises by their very nature tend to be quick-paced and explosive and powerful. So do lend themselves well to a HIIT workout.
And it also means you’re not going to be pounding your joints with the impact.
One More Word On The Benefits Of Kettlebell Training
It’s also important to remember the kettlebell is one of many tools available for any fitness and health goal.
It’s not the be-all and end-all. And a lot of the things I mentioned as benefits can, to some extent, be done with barbells and dumbbells too.
But kettlebells do have a specific purpose and specific use, and they are more purpose-built for the benefits I mentioned than traditional barbells and dumbbells are.
Out of all the weight-based training options out there, to me, it is the most fun.