Today’s Tips for Kettlebell training can be extremely effective in helping folks shred excess fat off their body. It’s also a crucial component in most professional athletes’ workout regimen. Kettlebells look ‘cuter’ and more hip than the boring old dumbbells or cable equipment. Because of that, many people will ignore the fact that kettlebells can be very challenging and must be respected in your workouts.
You do not want to be one of the thousands of people who have pulled a muscle or strained a ligament from using kettlebells in an incorrect manner. Just about anybody can figure out how to use a kettlebell and this will be your first priortiy. There is only one handle to grab and lift unlike a conventional squat rack with all the ratchets and levers which will leave new gym users scratching their head.
Nevertheless, the simplicity of a kettlebell should not make anyone feel complacent. By using these marvelous apparatus correctly, you will prevent injury to yourself and more importantly, get the best results from your workouts.
Progressive training is key – Do not use more weight than you can handle. There are many people who are weekend warriors. They neglect to exercise the whole week and go to the gym on the weekend and try to work out with kettlebells that are just too heavy for them. It takes time to build strength in the muscles and ligaments. More importantly, the ligaments, which have to be able to withstand the load. Most injuries occur due to weak or unconditioned ligaments. Pace yourself slowly. Start with kettlebell weights that suit you and slowly climb up the ladder to higher weights. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Don’t aim for muscle failure – This runs contradictory to most training advice. However, training to failure all the time puts your nervous system under tremendous stress. It is an effective tool when used sparingly. At all other times, it would be advisable to aim for about 12 to 15 reps using various weights. Do vary your moves too. Snatches, cleans and squats should be mixed up in your routine. Try and make it a full body workout most of the time.
Always maintain proper form – Kettlebell training involves more jerking and swinging movements unlike conventional dumbbells. However, even these movements require proper form and control. You are not supposed to be swinging the kettlebells around like a mad man. There is a jerk to lift, followed by a swing and a pause at the end of the movement and back again. Improper form will definitely lead to injury or imbalances in the body over the long run.
Change your routine every month or so – Keep your body guessing. If you’re doing the same workouts day in and day out for months, you’re going to get bored and your results will taper off and finally plateau. So, change up your routine every 4 to 6 weeks. Add more reps, change the sets, use new moves, etc. Just make it different.
Train barefoot on a hard floor – When you work out with kettlebells, the force of the load gets transferred to the ground through your feet. The soles of most sports shoes are too soft. So, training barefoot is best. If your, floor is too cold, you may use an exercise mat. In the event you’re training in a gym, their rules may require you to wear shoes. Then you have no choice but to abide by their rules. Nevertheless, this point is worth remembering.
These are just 5 tips for kettlebell trainingto help you train safely and effectively with kettlebells. Do bear these in mind during your workouts. Be sure to check out our blog post Discover the Best Kettlebell Exercises where we explain the best exercises and how to do them correctly.
Discover the Best Kettlebell Exercises For Training Variety
The key to success when doing resistance training is consistency with variation and today we will help you discover the best kettlebell exercises. You need to exercise regularly to build up your strength and stamina. Many people are able to achieve this. The second component is to add variety to your workouts. Many people get stuck here with boring, ineffective training programs.
We are all creatures of habit and that can be seen even in the way we exercise. It is so easy to fall into the trap of doing the same exercises daily and not try something new. We never like to push ourselves past the comfort zone. That is why many people hire personal trainers to structure varied workouts and keep them motivated.
If you can’t afford a personal trainer, don’t worry. There are many ways you can learn to vary your workout. We found kettlebell training years ago, and found it to be such a fun as well as challenging way to exercise. We enjoy sharing that excitement with you if you are looking to discover the best kettlebell exercises for you to add to your training.
Just as with all things, there are varying levels of difficulty for beginners, intermediate and advanced. You need to find the exercise that is just right for you. Don’t be too ambitious and try to save time by doing the advanced moves. That is just asking for trouble and an injury can put you out of action for months.
Now let’s look at the 4 best kettlebell exercises that will leave you sweating and panting.
Instructions: This is the most popular of all the kettlebell moves and perfect for beginners.
Stand straight with feet slightly wider than your hip-distance. Hold the kettlebell handle with both hands, palms facing down wards. Have a slight bend to your knee but do not go all the way to a half-squat. In one smooth motion, drive your hips forward and swing the kettlebell up to chest level. Keep your arms straight. Then lower the kettlebell down between your legs. Aim for 12-15 reps.
You need to engage your core and gluteus muscles. The force of this movement comes from the hips and not the arms. Most kettlebell movements use the hips as the driving force.
Instructions: You need to start with your legs wider than your hit-width. Next assume a quarter squat position. Maintain a straight back and keep your chest up. Hold the kettlebell with your left hand and swing it around the outside of your left leg, then swing it back to the center and past the kettlebell to the right hand which swings it around your right leg and back to the center. Aim for 1 or 2 minutes.
Instructions: This exercise is much more effective than the conventional crunches because of the added kettlebell element.
Be seated on the floor with your legs bent and feet slat like you were about to do a crunch. Hold the kettlebell close to your chest and lean back by 45 degrees. Slowly rotate your torso from left to right while slowly swinging the kettle ball from left to right. Maintain proper form. Absolutely NO jerky movements. This exercise will leave your abs burning. Excellent training.
Instructions: Start by holding the kettlebell between your feet with the knees bent. In 1 explosive motion, raise the kettlebell up while you’re on your toes. The kettlebell must reach your chest level with your elbows tucked in. Next, raise the weight overhead and hold on to the handle tight. Bring the kettlebell back to starting position. This is 1 repetition. Aim for 8 to 10 reps.
These are just a few exercises to begin with. Give them a try and when you improve with time you may progress on to more varied and challenging techniques. The process of learning and discovering with kettlebells never ends.
So the way you see yourself improve is to keep a journal to record your routines, sets, reps, etc. This is very important as it will show you how much you have progressed. Do NOT rely on your memory. Most people can’t even remember what they had for lunch 2 days earlier. You will not remember your workouts 2 months from now.
As you progress, you will learn new techniques and may even forget the old moves you used to perform before. So, when you have a record, you can always go back to it and refer. This will make varying your workouts in future much easier. You may always use workouts you did months ago and just increase the weights. It will seem like a whole new workout to your body.
So there you have it the best kettlebell exercises that will help you get started with kettlebell training! Hope you find it as fun and exciting a way to train as we have! We recommend to our clients the Kettlebell Fat Loss Workouts Program
Kettlebells For Women – Complete Body Transformation
Do you feel that kettlebells for women will allow for a complete body transformation? Well it seems that way today, because when you walk into a gym,you will see women who are slinging kettlebells. Chances are they are breathing heavy, sweating and have a bit of a snarl on their faces. Moments after they finish their workout, you’ll likely see their frown turn upside down. They’ll be walking away smiling, happy and feeling accomplished. That’s because these women know about the “what-the-heck effect” of the kettlebells for women.
Complete Body Transformation
Unlike any other piece of equipment, the kettlebell gives you this amazing workout that is hard to describe.
After several weeks of training, you will notice that you are stronger, faster, and more balanced in sports you play and other types of daily activities. THAT is where the what-the-heck-effect comes in. No one can completely explain this phenomenon, and no one really has to. As a woman, all you need to know is that it is there and very real.
Essential Muscle Toning
It’s no coincidence that the main areas that get targeted with the kettlebell are the exact same areas women tend to want to tone—the butt, thighs, stomach and arms. To be more anatomically correct, let’s address these areas as the glutes, hamstrings, quads, abs, triceps and biceps.
With all that muscle recruitment, you are left with a pretty solid argument for using this ball of iron in your workouts. Here’s where it gets even more favorable. Did you ever hear of this thing called load-bearing exercise?
Simply put, any time you lift a weight for a series of repetitions, you are placing load on your body. This, in turn, causes you to contract muscles, which pull on your bones, making them stronger. As you age, regular bouts of load-bearing becomes critically important practice to prevent the onset of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Since kettlebell exercises are not linear, you are forced to bend multiple joints and work multiple muscles at the same time, which gives you a bigger bang for your buck when it comes to strengthening your bones and core.
A clean and press is a good example of an exercise that targets pretty much every muscle in your body. It is performed by ripping the bell off the floor, passing it behind your legs, bringing into a locked “rack” position at the outside of your chest, then pressing it straight overhead until your arm is fully extended.
If you were to do five of these babies on each arm with one swing exchange, your heart rate would be through the roof and you would feel a pleasant burning sensation from your fingertips to toenails!
30 Minute Effective Full Body Workout – Kettlebells for Women
Moms who don’t have much time in their busy schedules rejoice at the idea of obtaining a great workout in a short amount of time. Due to the ease of transition and multiple exercise patterns to follow, the kettlebell really lends a helping hand in this department.
You can literally get a full body workout in less than 30 minutes; a workout that improves cardiovascular function, muscle strength and endurance, balance, flexibility, mobility and stability all in one fell swoop.
And once you get good at kettlebells, you can start doing combinations of exercises, called complexes. This is how you get away with doing a shorter workout, but, still getting a ton of benefits.
Women who have been training for a while develop such good skills that they shift to double kettlebell exercises. This puts more neural load on the body and builds strength faster. A workout consisting of double swings, presses, high pulls, squats and lunges would trump any fitness boot camp that you can think of. And there will be virtually zero impact to the joints.
If you have not tried kettlebells yet, there’s no time like the present to start. Get your girlfriends together and learn how to train with kettlebells for women. Here at KettlebellFitness HQ we reommend Kettlebell Fat Loss Workouts Complete Program to provide good training in kettlebells for women!
Here is why you should never ignore your core, because the core flat out gets more attention than any other area of the body, and for good reason. It’s the center of your body. All movements, both powerful and wimpy, involve the core in one way or another.
Why You Should Never Ignore Your Core and Why You Must Work The Core RE
Uncommon to popular belief, this area consists of more than just the abs. They are only one part. The primary area of the core is made up of the rectus abdominis, inner and outer obliques, erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings. The fact that this region encompasses such a large area is an indicator of its value.
If you were to ignore training the core, you can run through a battery of issues, such as lower back pain, postural distortions, poor sport performance and bad balance. The postural distortions can range from rounded shoulders to excessive lower spine curvature to external foot rotation.
Yes, your feet can actually get affected too. If your glutes are weak, they can cause the femurs to rotate outward. This then transfers all the way down to the feet, causing the exact same thing to happen. Have you ever walked behind someone who walks duck-footed? Well now you know why.
Getting up from a chair is just as important as walking. Your core needs to be strong to keep your upper body erect while seated and when standing up. This also applies to riding a bike. If you have a weak core, you will not be able to stay upright for too long without experiencing scorching lower back pain.
Force production is another thing to consider. Let’s go back to the bike example. It takes a lot of power to push hard when you are climbing a hill or opening it up on a straightaway. If your core is mush, you will spend most of this time struggling miserably. Your will also be challenged with a lack of stability.
The power aspect doesn’t end with biking either. Contact sports like football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey and even basketball require you to take and make hits, fend off opponents and remain balanced at all times. If you neglect your core, don’t expect to win any trophies or titles.
Baseball, tennis, racquetball, golf, volleyball and swimming all require strong core muscles as well. Any time you are rotating from the hips, jumping in the air, throwing a ball or object, or reaching with your arms or legs, you need to enlist at least some part of your core. Think about that the next time you place a box of Christmas ornaments on a high shelf in your basement. These are all important reasons to never ignore your core for daily living.
It’s only fitting that you know a good way to strengthen your core so you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls mentioned above. And just for the record, ab crunches are not going to get the job done. In reality, they are about one millimeter away from worthless. The only muscle group they target is the rectus abdominis. You still have the obliques, glutes, erector spinae and hamstrings to contend with.
Best Core Exercises
Keep ALL of these areas in mind when it comes to training.
Perform your crunches, but, also add:
Plank with leg raises
Hanging knee raises
Medicine ball Russian twists
This way you will get movement patterns in that simulate real life actions and you will ensure that all areas of your core will be targeted.
As you can see, there are many good reasons to keep your core strong, fit and fantastic. Focus on the right training protocols and you will never have to worry about injury or imbalances.
PS – To guarantte that you never ignore your core again with your training we recommend this CT-50 program – CT-50 is the only exercise program built around Progressive Movement Technology™, which allows you to start getting the full benefits of the system right away, regardless of your current fitness level. And because it constantly adapts as you improve, you’ll always have a new challenge and even better results waiting for you every single week. This program will help you to never ignore your core every again! Hope you enjoy it.
The Benefits of Kettlebell Training is they give you an all-in-one workout, combining both the strength and cardio aspects. Be your own trainer!
Make no mistake about it, kettlebells rank pretty high on the list of best all-around fitness tools in the market, and for good reason. They bring so many benefits to the table that it’s hard to even know where to begin.
Let’s first take a look at the kettlebell’s shape. Cast iron is molded into a circular sphere, resembling a bowling ball, and a curved handle is fused to the top, but, better quality kettlebells are actually formed as one whole piece.
Not only is the handle used for hoisting the bell during exercises, but, it’s a built-in carrying apparatus. This makes it easy to transport and it takes up little space compared to other equipment.
Additionally, they range in weight from very light to very heavy, giving you plenty of options to choose from. And even the largest of bells can fit comfortably in a trunk of a car, under a weight rack or in a closet against a wall. This makes them great for home training workouts.
The kettlebell’s unique, circular shape, requires that you make your body really tight when you perform exercises. This tactic helps improve force production when doing heavy lifts, and it also keeps your spine safe and in good alignment. As a result, you get an amazing core workout with every exercise you do. This in turn, boosts your functional ability in sports and activities of daily living, and also improves your definition.
The Benefits of Kettlebell training is they work multiple muscle groups in the body, including:
Thighs and hips
And, as mentioned above, almost every single move works the core muscles (abdominals).
A growing number of chiropractors use the kettlebell as a rehabilitation tool with patients who suffer from lower back pain. The standard deadlift exercise, which is performed by lifting the bell off the floor while hinging your hips and keeping your back straight, requires you to contract all the muscles that stabilize the spine. These are the same muscles that are often weak when back pain is present. This has been one of the huge benefits of kettlebell training for me, my lower back is much stronger now!
After a few reps, nutrient-rich blood flows to the lower back which causes relief. In addition, these muscles get strengthened from a standing position instead of lying on the floor and doing crunches by flexing the spine, which is contraindicated when back pain is present.
Anyone who is overweight or wants to avoid high-impact exercise benefits from the kettlebell as well. With the exception of two or three exercises, your feet are always in a fixed position during training, which enables you to get a full workout with little if any trauma to your joints.
And while we are on the topic of being overweight, let’s not overlook the effect and benefits of kettlebell training has on fat loss. The caloric expenditure is second to none!
In a study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), test subjects were put through a 20-minute high-intensity interval workout that consisted of kettlebell snatches performed on and off with short rest breaks. The snatch is a ballistic maneuver that involves “ripping” the bell above your head in a fast, snapping motion, then pulling it back between your legs in a similar fast motion.
Data was collected and the average expenditure per minute was an astonishing 20-plus calories! The only way to normally get that kind of output is by cross-country skiing uphill as fast as you can.
Also the benefits of Kettlebell training is they have the unique ability to create an anaerobic state, which, literally means without oxygen. This translates to being very winded, literally gasping for breath during a workout.
When you get really winded during a workout, the body crosses into the anaerobic threshold, the same state induced by High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which, is the ultimate fat burning zone, and one that revs metabolism for 24+ hours after a workout.
Any time you perform a high number of reps with a moderate to light weight, you improve your muscular endurance. The kettlebell has a continuum built right in. If you go heavy and do a low amount of reps, you will build muscular strength. If you go lighter and do high reps, you will build muscular endurance. By incorporating both types of exercises in one workout, you get the best of both worlds.
Last but not least, you should walk away knowing that kettlebells are also good for cognitive function. That’s right; you need to think a lot when doing the specific exercises included in a Kettlebell regimen, or risk getting injured. By concentrating hard, this will blend into other aspects of your life, such as, balancing a checkbook, reading a book and memorizing someone’s name.
So in my conclusion the benefits of kettlebell training for a fitter are a no brainer! Isn’t it time you gave kettlebells a try in your workout? We say yes for sure! Oh and we feel the one of the final benefits of kettlebelbl training is they are a lot of fun to include in your workout!
If you want to experience the benefits of kettlebell training we recomment The Kettlebell Revolution Home Workout Program
Body Transformation With Kettlebells In Your Training Toolbox!
Is it possible to have a body transformation with kettlebells in your trainging toolbox? Well we do know that one of the best things about kettlebell workouts is they work so many different muscle groups, while at the same time providing an effective and very much enhanced cardio experience.
Ttruly the method of choice for a full body transformation with kettlebells, whether for the lady who wants to burn fat and build lean muscle tone or the bodybuilder who wants to build strength and bulk.
Kettlebell training is definitely practiced by men and women who want to burn fat, tone muscles and experience a complete and total body transformation as well as have fun, be challenged for total results.
The Facts of Body Transformation with Kettlebells:
You will achieve more fat-fighting and body toning benefits with kettlebells than doing 30 minutes on the treadmill and or traditional weight lifting.
Kettlebell training allows you to swing rhythmically with full body motions giving you the optimal cardio workout as well as targeting several muscle groups, including a major emphasis on the core activation.
Trainign with Kettlebells triples calorie burning as compared to other cardio – approx. 400 calories in just 20 minutes!
Enjoy the everlasting benefits of Kettlebell and say goodbye to the traditional dumbbells, gyms or health clubs or at least inlcude kettlebell training as a part of your long term program.
Enjoy the everlasting benefits of Kettlebell and say goodbye to the traditional dumbbells, gyms or health clubs.
How To Get Started With Your Body Transformation with Kettlebells?
Getting started with Kettlebells is easy with the many resources at hand. You can find various workouts online that will show you proper form and technique. You can also join a Kettlebell class in your area or local gym that will be led by a qualified instructor. There are also various Kettlebell training DVDs available to learn this unique form of cardio and weight training fitness.
No matter which route you take for your body transformation with kettelebells, it is important to learn proper form or else you will be vulnerable to injury. We suggest The Turbulence Training Kettlebell Fat Burning Workout Program…PLUS Get 5 Bonus TT Workouts AND 30-Days FREE Access to the Exclusive TT Member’s Area Where You’ll Get Personal Help From Fat Loss Expert Craig Ballantyne On Your Diet and Exercise Program, for your body transformation with kettlebells!
Kettlebell Workouts Versus HIIT – Here Is What We Think!
The other day I wrote about Kettlebell Workouts Versus Calisthenics so today I want to discuss Kettlebells Workouts Versus HIIT to see what might be most beneficial for your fitness training. For those of you who are unaware, the acronym “HIIT” stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Simply put, this is a method where you alternate back and forth between a high and low intensity while you work out.
Over the course of time, this training style has gained popularity with all age groups and demographics for its effects on the body and for the fact that it burns more fat than any other workout. So now when we discuss kettlebell workouts versus HIIT we know that not only does it cause a high caloric expenditure, but it also cranks up your resting metabolic rate, and boosts your body’s natural production of human growth hormone and testosterone. This translates to a leaner, more defined body with a low amount of body fat.
It’s hard to argue that this is one of the best ways to get fit and lose unwanted weight. When you compare kettlebell workouts versus HIIT, they can actually go hand in hand. This really depends on how you structure your training.
Since the kettlebell is very versatile and can be moved easily, you have the option of doing an entire HIIT workout with it. For example, you can do 30 seconds of swings, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for 30 minutes. That’s a standard 1-to-1 ratio of high to low intensity.
You have multiple combinations to work with too. In the end, it really all depends on how trained you currently are or how trained you become. Following a 2-to-1 work to rest ratio, for example, is going to be quite challenging at first. But over time, and after you have gotten into better shape, it might be the sweet spot for you.
On the other side of the coin, the kettlebell can be used just as resistance to build strength. An example of this would be doing 5 sets of 5 reps of double presses with 60 seconds or more of rest between each set.
The HIIT model does not have to include kettlebells either. People who like to run races often perform intervals in their training to boost their anaerobic capacity. This comes in handy while running up hills or trying to outsprint someone at the finish line.
Instead of going with complete rest, like you would with kettlebells, they just lower their intensity between sprints, such as jogging lightly or walking briskly. Then they speed back up to the point they are trying to reach.
Kettlebells can also be fused into a circuit-style HIIT program that involves multiple exercises, including running. The high intensity point would be achieved during each exercise and the rest interval can be short or longer, depending on how fit you are or what you are looking to achieve.
For example, you can do swings, burpees, rope jumping, combat ropes, snatches and running in a workout.
Each one of the exercises can be performed for 30 to 60 seconds and the rest breaks can be the same as the work intervals or shorter.
There is also an option to interval between an intense movement that targets one part of the body and a movement that targets a completely different area. If you go back to the circuit example, you could do a set of kettlebell presses, then immediately jump rope for 30 seconds and then do a set of kettlebell squats followed immediately by medicine ball slams on the floor.
Your heart rate will still be up, but while one part of your body is spent, another part is not. It takes practice and mental strength to get proficient at this type of training.
Applying the rules of HIIT to your workouts is not really that complicated, regardless if they are with kettlebells or not. Just pick a batch of exercises you want to do, determine your work to rest ratios and have at it. So there you have it Kettlebell workouts versus HIIT! Adding the kettlebells in my opinion just makes training all that more fun and challenging.
10 Reasons Why Kettlebell Training Is Better Than Other Workouts
Why is Kettlebell Training better is a question we often get asked and today we wanted to take a moment to share our thougths on the answers! We find working with kettlebells to be the most fun, and challenging workout we do. As we go through we hope you will find that as well! Firstly, the Kettlebell design is a steel ball shaped weight attached to a steel handle that resembles a suitcase handle and allows for an abundance of different exercises that not only work multiple muscle groups at the same time, but, also allows one to get into an anaerobic state while working out.
An anaerobic state is a workout “without oxygen,” where the person is literally gasping for air during exercise. This state is typically induced during interval training and Kettlebell workouts and is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and rev metabolism for 24 plus hours following a workout.
3 In 1 Workout – Combining weight training with a cardio workout, Kettlebell circuits improve heart health, build lean muscle mass and are highly effective at fat burning. That’s three birds killed with one stone of a great workout!
High Calorie Burning – An hour spent on a treadmill or cross trainer will burn around 600 calories, but, training with kettlebells can help you burn up to 1200 calories in that same hour.
Superiority To Barbells, Dumbbells And Other Weight Machines – Barbells, dumbbells and weight machines are all efficient muscle training devices, but they typically work only one muscle or a specific group of muscles at a time. Imagine how cumbersome it is to tone your entire body. Conversely, Kettlebell moves work multiple muscle groups at once which makes it the perfect full body workout to build essential lean muscle mass for both men and women.
Superior Core Fitness – A strong core is more than six-pack abs. It is your body’s power zone which lays the foundation for all movements. The core is vital for good posture, which, provides steadiness during everyday movement and improves performance in sports and everyday activities. Many Kettlebell moves work the core, and so that alone makes it a much better choice than other forms of cardio or muscle training that do not.
Economic – Kettlebells provide you a suitable and economical choice over expensive gym memberships, cardio machines and weight equipment.
Mobile – A large space is needed to do Kettlebell exercises and they are easy to store and transport, so you can even take one on long trips and vacations.
Time Saving – Traditionally, for general fitness, people do cardio and muscle training on different days. Various Kettlebell circuits combine the two because as you do Kettlebell moves you not only tone and build lean muscle mass, you are also getting an effective cardio workout that benefits the heart and burns fat.
Low Impact – A lot of cardio, such as aerobics and running are high impact on joints. But, Kettlebell training is low or no impact, therefore it saves the joints and opens the possibility for many to get a heart pumping workout who otherwise shy away from impact cardio.
Increases Flexibility – Kettlebell training provides workouts that improve range of motion and flexibility that serves good health in everyday life and into the senior years.
Never Get Bored With Diverse And Fun Workouts – Kettlebell moves and exercises are fun and unique. Various circuits can be created to change things up on a regular basis so you never get bored. A big difference from the boring walking or running on a treadmill or churning those exercise bike pedals for an hour.
Many people get bored doing the same exact workout repeatedly even if it is done only two or three times a week. Kettlebell Training lets you overcome that monotony by providing a range of diverse and fun moves.
Getting started with Kettlebells is easy with the many resources at hand. You can find various workouts online that will show you proper form and technique. You can also join a Kettlebell class in your area or local gym that will be led by a qualified instructor. There are also various Kettlebell training DVDs available to learn this unique form of cardio and weight training fitness.
No matter which route you take it is important to learn proper form or else you will be vulnerable to injury.
When I was first introduced to kettlebell training I wish there was a kettelbell buyers guide available to me! If you are shopping for a kettlebell (a giri or girya in Russian), you probably want to know what different types are available just like I was wanting to know. Can men and women and use the same kettlebell? And what weight should you get? If you have never used a kettlebell before, should you purchase a different type of product than someone who is familiar with the “cannonball with a handle”? And just how did this odd looking cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training device originate? You have questions, and we have all the answers in this definitive kettlebell buyers guide.
So below is my kettlebell buyers guide and I do hope it helps you get exactly the equipment that is right for you! Enjoy!
Kettlebells date back to the 1700s in Russia. A large, round cast-iron or steal weight with a handle, kettlebells facilitate swinging and ballistic movements. They were not used for exercise originally. Rather, farmers used them to weigh crops. At markets and festivals were they sold their goods, these farmers enjoyed showing off the strength they had developed from constantly lifting these heavy weights.
The Soviet Army began using them as physical training and conditioning equipment in the 20th century, and sports competition began in Russia and Europe in the 1940s. Kettlebells became popular as a strength and cardio training device in the United States in the 1960s, and are now found in health and fitness clubs throughout the country .
What types of kettlebells can I choose from?
You will find some sand-filled kettlebells on the market and even a few filled with water, but generally they are made from either professional grade steel or standard grade cast-iron.
When choosing cast-iron, the larger the bell size, the heavier the weight. The smaller the bell size, the lower the weight. There may be a slight difference in handle diameter and width as well. The handle will be thicker than on competition steel bells, and may not be best for people with small hands. Cast-iron kettlebells will almost always be less expensive.
Competition bells, made of high-grade steel, are always the same size. They will vary in weight, but the size is uniform to guarantee a standard lifting technique. Competition steel kettlebells are always more expensive than cast-iron, since they must adhere to national and international competition specifications. The handles on steel kettlebells are thinner than their cast-iron counterparts, and are specially designed to prevent slipping.
Whether beginner or veteran weight trainer, what should I be looking for?
Beginning weight trainer
You should probably get started with a cast-iron kettlebell as a beginner. Because of their unique design and effect on your body, kettlebells are not for everyone. A cast-iron investment is less expenses, and if you find out you enjoy the intense, one-of-a-kind kettlebell training exercises and benefits, you can always step up to the more expensive, professionally constructed competition bells.
However, if you have the money to invest in competition grade kettlebells from the start it is highly recommended that you do so. The handles are thinner and easier to grasp, slip-free design is integrated, and the ball portion of the device is always the same size, regardless what weight bell you purchase.
Veteran weight trainer
You will probably want to get started immediately with competition steel kettlebells. As a veteran weight trainer, you understand the importance of form over function. Steel kettlebells allow for a perfect and consistent range of motion for each repetition. And when you get stronger and move up to a heavier weight, the uniform size and easy grip handle mean you will continue to practice perfect form. Proper form delivers quicker results and fewer injuries, whenever weight training is involved.
Should men and women use different sized weights, and what weight size is best for me?
Men and women should first choose bells according to the above criteria. As far as weight is concerned, women probably want to start off with an 8 kg or 10 kg bell (15 or 20 pound sizes are comparable in the US). Men should probably start with a 12 kg to 16 kilogram bell (roughly 25 to 35 pound US equivalent). Not sure what weight is right for you? Choose the lighter weight above, or find a local gymnasium or health club which uses kettlebells and get some hands-on experience.
Russian kettlebells are usually measured in weight by “poods”. 1 pood equals about 16 kilograms (around 35 pounds). In the United States, typical kettlebell weights will range from 10 to 80 or more pounds. This includes both cast-iron and steel competition bells.
In the United Kingdom and other non-US areas, you can expect to find bells beginning as light as 5 kilograms and as heavy as 32 or 36 kilograms. (Remember to always err on the side of caution, and choose the lighter bell when deciding between 2 different weight sizes.)
The most common kettlebell exercises are swings, cleans, windmills, and snatches. Single arm swings and 2 arm rows are popular, as are the goblet squat, figure 8 and the Russian twist. There are plenty of videos and instructional e-books available online which walk you through performing each and every kettlebellexercise properly.
What physical benefits do kettlebells deliver?
Moving from the farmer’s fields to the Russian Red Army, kettlebells provide an intense total body workout. Because swinging motions are involved, your agility and balance are improved. Obviously lifting weights builds your strength, but your endurance is boosted as well. When done properly and in high repetitions, kettlebell exercises offer improved cardiovascular health and functioning. Your hips, glutes, hamstrings and waistline also benefit from this unique physical fitness tool.
Unlike the more common dumbbell which is also used for single arm weightlifting, kettlebells have a center of mass which moves far beyond your hand. This impacts your body in a greater manner than a dumbbell, involving more muscle groups. Known as an “unstable force” in weight training, this is the primary reason for the greater impact kettlebell training has on your body than standard free weights.
How much do kettlebells cost?
A quick search on Amazon shows that you can purchase a 5 pound kettlebell for around $5. Obviously, you have a shipping charge to consider as well. And that particular price is for a cast-iron bell with a one-piece cast. 25 pound cast-iron kettlebells will be anywhere between $20 and $30 usually, with a 55 pound kettlebell costing between $45 and $55.
Because of their painstaking production and competition level specifications, steel kettlebells are more expensive. 8 kg (15 to 20 pound) models can run as much as $40 online, with a 32 kg (70 pound) professional grade competition kettlebell setting you back $150 or more.
More points to consider
Kettlebells are extremely unique, in both design and exercise. Do not assume that just because you are physically fit that you can start off with a heavy weight. Swinging, snatching and jerking movements need to be perfected before you move up in weight.
You get what you pay for. Cast-iron kettlebells are definitely recommended if you are just getting started. Just remember that uneven bottoms, welded handles, a rough handle finish and sometimes minimal handle clearance can be negatives encountered with the cast-iron version of this product.
Has our Kettlebell Buyers Guide been helpful? We know it is not always easy to find kettlebells locally. The Internet provides a great place to comparison shop, you will always find exactly what you are looking for, and get delivery right to your front door.
When starting or following a regular exercise regimen it is important to understand the theory behind each type of exercise. Why? Because it helps you to plan a workout that is sound and will fit your goals and needs. A correct workout can mean the difference between gaining results or not, and also in how fast those results can be achieved.
Knowledge is power and king, and this applies to life and fitness. So, let’s consider the anatomies of two popular workouts carefully, here is a comparison of Kettlebell workouts versus good old calisthenics.
Kettlebell exercises involve a high amount of motor neurons firing at once to stay balanced and in good form. Interestingly, the same can be said about calisthenic exercises.
When you look at each workout separately, they can both give you similar benefits. Lean muscle mass ranks high on this list. Every rep you do with a kettlebell causes you to work multiple muscle groups at the same time, such as with a clean and press. The same can be said with a calisthenics exercise like a burpee.
The main difference here is you are only using the weight of your body as resistance with calisthenics. In some cases, this can make the exercises harder and in others, it can make them easier.
Take pull-ups for example. These require you to pull the entire weight of your body up to chin-level on a pull-up bar. It takes a lot of strength to achieve this feat with proper form.
A kettlebell row, performed by pulling the weight up by your side from a half-bent position, works similar muscles, but is not nearly as hard.
On the other side of the coin, a ballistic kettlebellexercise like a snatch, gets your heart rate elevated really high, while also working muscles in your shoulders, butt, thighs and abdomen. You rarely get this same type of effect from calisthenic exercises.
Combining Calisthenics With Kettlebells
Here’s where things get interesting. You can actually use kettlebells in conjunction with calisthenic exercises.
Let’s go back to the pull-up example. When you are able to do multiple reps with good form, it’s obvious that you have reached a pretty high level of strength.
Since the pull-up is a body weight driven exercise, you need to add resistance to your body to make it harder. By wearing a dipping belt and strapping a kettlebell to it, you just found out how to do that. This also applies with dips on dipping bars.
Total Body Workout
Kettlebells and calisthenics actually pair well to create a total body workout. Since kettlebells are easy to maneuver and transport, you can combine specific kettlebell exercises with specific calisthenic exercises to build a complete, total-body workout.
For example, you can do pushups, renegade rows, presses, jumping jacks, squats, pull-ups and Turkish get-ups all in one workout. The end result is full body recruitment that improves muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, balance and flexibility.
With all the similarities, there is one major difference. If you travel and are unable to bring a kettlebell with you, yet you rely on it for a workout, you are out of luck. However, that’s certainly not the case with calisthenics. All you need is the weight of your body and you can pretty much work any muscle group.
This is especially beneficial if you are confined to a hotel room and do not have access to a quality gym.
Aside from the obvious exercises like push-ups, squats and crunches, you can also do variations:
Handstand push-ups with your feet on a wall
Pull-ups on the bathroom door with a towel draped over the top
Inverted push-ups under a sturdy desk
Dips on a desk chair and step-ups on a bed
All and all, both kettlebell workouts and calisthenics are hard to beat for a one-size-fits-all approach.
Each can stand alone to tone and strengthen your entire body, or they can work in unison. Just be aware that both forms of exercise take expertise, skill and practice to learn and master proper form and technique.
You are best served getting the basics down of your kettlebell workouts and then move forward from there.