Are kettlebells really that good? They’re certainly very different and a lot more versatile than most conventional weights. But maybe you’ve tried them already and you’re unhappy with the results. The workouts seem a bit off, you’re not pulling off your reps with consistency, or maybe you’re just not feeling the burn.All of these are common concerns with first-time kettlebell users, whether they have a background in weight lifting, CrossFit, or no experience at all with working out. Relax, there’s a good reason for this. Kettlebells are just a tool.What can make this tool really shine is if there’s a good kettlebell training program that you can follow day in and day out. Training programs are essential because most kettlebell exercises are dynamic and require you to master certain mechanics. There are plenty of fitness instructors, especially those from Eastern Europe, who specialize in these types of exercise routines which can take you from skinny to action figure.In this article we’ll review some of the best kettlebell training programs on the market, as well as some of the best kettlebells money can buy. We’ll also throw in a guide of our own on how to look for training kettlebell routines that best fit your needs and the importance of doing these exercises properly and regularly.
Best Kettlebell Training Reviews
One quick look at the Cavemantraining website and you’ll find not one but dozens of kettlebell training routines that you can use to shape your body.
Cavemantraining offers a wide range of programs which include some of the best kettlebell training on the market today. It’s not just for seasoned workout enthusiasts, even though the website is filled with hardcore routines.You can find plenty of simple-to-follow fat-burning exercises, nutritional plans, and even a history of the basics of kettlebell training.Cavemantraining attempts to eliminate the luxuries of a modern gym and focus on building strength, not necessarily muscle, the old-fashioned way – through tears and sweat.Most of the training programs involve full-body workouts. What this means in the world of kettlebell training is that while you’re working a specific muscle group, the rest of your body is also engaged.If you’re new to kettlebell workouts, this may come as a shocker. But, as you read further down this article you’ll learn about how the swinging motions and the kettlebell’s off-hand center of force you to find your balance differently based on the exercise you’re doing.All of this and more is also explained on Cavemantraining, which is what makes it so special.
What’s to like about the Cavemantraining
Unlike other programs which aim to provide the best kettlebell training, Cavemantraining sticks a lot more to the traditional ways, which is why it is such an effective method. The oldest principles are used, but there’s also modern wisdom to impart in the form of nutrition and the benefits of staying fit.
What’s not to like about the Cavemantraining
Cavemantraining offers amazing information for beginners and experts alike. However, the website can be hard to navigate as there’s just so much stuff to go through. Add to that are the few free articles that share only half-truths in an attempt to make you buy a program to get the best information. So it might not be for those looking for a plug-and-play training solution.
2. Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
This has been one of the best kettlebell training programs since 2013. This book has stood the test of time with its ingenuity and expertly written guides.
The Simple & Sinister method by Pavel Tsatsouline can be bought as a paperback or in an electronic format on Kindle. This training program aims to turn anyone into a part-time athlete through kettlebell training.The program focuses on strength and stamina development rather than muscle gain. It should allow the user to have as good of a conditioning as anyone short of a professional athlete who trains exceptionally hard on a daily basis.What’s even better, the book works for both beginners and experts. If you haven’t guessed it by now, there are two programs to choose from: Simple and Sinister.The Simple method is not just for the absolute beginner; you’ll find that it has some of the best kettlebell training for both beginners and intermediate users.The Sinister method, on the other hand, is no joking matter. If you want to see yourself running a marathon in a couple of months, this is one way to prep for it. However, you will need a strong foundation to build upon if you want to use the Sinister training, which means solid core, good overall conditioning, good cardio, and an iron will.
What’s to like about the Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
The cool thing about Kettlebell Simple & Sinister is that it was written by Pavel, the man responsible for shining a new light on these Russian workout inventions. He has been working with kettlebells for decades, and before introducing them to the Western market right before Y2K.
What’s not to like about the Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
Because it’s been out for a while now, it’s a bit disappointing that there aren’t a lot of video guides accompanying the Simple & Sinister book. Although expertly written and very informative, a lot of the exercises in the book would be a lot easier to perform with proper video assistance.
3. AmazonBasics Enamel Kettlebell
This is another way to look at things. It doesn’t matter what your kettlebell training of choice is, what you’ll definitely need is a kettlebell. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value than the AmazonBasics Kettlebell line, which offers a wide range of kettlebells for beginner and intermediate users.
The AmazonBasics kettlebells range from 10 to 60 pounds. The weight goes up in 5 lb. increments except the 50 and 60 pounders which don’t have anything in between.The enamel finish is there for your protection as well as for the kettlebells themselves. It offers a solid grip thanks to its texture. The handle is also wider which contributes to the comfort of the grip.Another thing that the extra-wide handle enables is the equal ease of using these kettlebells with one or two hands. This allows you to perform a wide variety of exercises based on your favorite program.
What’s to like about the AmazonBasics Enamel Kettlebell
The high-end finish is just what you want on kettlebells. It protects you from dropping them, hurting yourself, or damaging them after extensive use.
What’s not to like about the AmazonBasics Enamel Kettlebell
Unless you’re a kettlebell expert or have access to some of the best kettlebell training, these cast-iron balls are standalone workout equipment. AmazonBasics doesn’t offer a training course or even a basic how-to guide.
4. Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners
What makes a program the best kettlebell training for a specific individual? It’s all about the value of the information and how it is presented.
The Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners is an exercise DVD designed not only for people without kettlebell training experience but also workout beginners in general.Not only do these lessons teach you how to master the balance, the grip, and the specific fitness routines that make the kettlebell shine, but they also teach you the basics of fitness and conditioning as well as the importance of staying fit.The DVD is cleverly split into three sections. The first part teaches you about safety and the basic movements involved in kettlebell training. Some will pick things up faster than others, but you can always replay just the bits that are confusing.The second part of the DVD is a 30-minute long workout which showcases a wide range of exercises derived from the basic movements described in the part one.The third part is all about core strength. It shows a new set of exercises that focus more on balance and developing that strong midsection of your body. It also poses a bigger challenge, so the actual progression throughout the DVD is generally rewarding.
What’s to like about the Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners
After all is said and done, this DVD guide really is the ultimate beginner tutorial. It offers a great introduction to kettlebell training and explains its mechanics well enough that anyone who sticks with it should be able to develop their own routines in no time.
What’s not to like about the Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners
While the tough exercises are saved for last, some of the information in the third section of the DVD should’ve also been showcased in the basic training section. Core strength is the foundation for almost all kettlebell exercises, so a couple of things could’ve been more optimally arranged.
5. Cap Barbell Kettlebell
Whether you have a training program already lined up or not, if you’re shopping for kettlebells you should always look for quality. Good craftsmanship is important not just for longevity but also your workout results.
Due to the wide size availability, the CAP Barbell kettlebells will help you with anything from rehabilitation to strength training. They won’t do too much for muscle gain for a lot of people as the maximum available weight is just 50lb.All of them are made from cast iron, but it’s worth mentioning that CAP Barbell does offer some cement kettlebells too. The coating is enamel-based for all of the cast-iron models, but the texturing might differ between models. You may even find some color accents used to better distinguish the weight.The handle is pretty standard, so perhaps not as comfortable at first as the extra-wide handle style of the AmazonBasics kettlebells. However, once you get used to the motions you shouldn’t have any problems.
What’s to like about the Cap Barbell Kettlebell
Available in multiple sizes, the CAP Barbell kettlebells are truly premium home-use products. They can take you through the motions of an instructional DVD and be ready for you when it’s time to step up to more serious training.
What’s not to like about the Cap Barbell Kettlebell
CAP Barbell may make kettlebells for everyone from absolute beginners to experts, but they also lack a training regimen. If you’re eyeing these high-end kettlebells, you need to make sure you know how to use them because they don’t come with instructions or tips.
Taught By a Kettlebell Expert
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for kettlebells. Not all of them are perfect and you’ll only reap the benefits of kettlebell training and weight training if you choose the right product and the proper assistance.
There are a few kettlebells that you’ll want to steer clear of right off the bat; they’re known as adjustable kettlebells. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few exceptions, but they have ridiculous prices and that’s probably not what you’re looking for.
The next thing to look for is a kettlebell training program designed by experts. Although the learning curve is not massive, you will need professional assistance before you start doing kettlebell-specific exercises.
Great and Easy to Follow Instructions
Kettlebells have been around for a long time. Their recent surge in popularity has a lot of people thinking that this is some new trend that focuses on a gimmicky workout cast iron ball.
The truth is that kettlebells have been used for decades, even in the US. However, the world is gently steering towards self-improvement by the way we eat, how we look, and what we can do to improve our health.
All the cooking shows, all the nutritional programs, the online training programs, and all the ripped Hollywood A-listers simply make us believe that we can do better. Because of this newfound attraction to working out in general, kettlebells have emerged as one of the most versatile, fun, and simple to use workout tools.
So what makes kettlebell training programs so important? They teach you everything you need to know about dynamic and static exercises designed for kettlebells. You get access to expert knowledge, and in some cases tons of visual and audio aids.
Targets Your Whole Body from Top to Bottom
Kettlebells work all your muscle groups if you use them the right way. They also do a great job of giving you a core workout on almost every exercise, whether you’re working your shoulders or your legs.
But is this a good thing? – For most people it is. Not everyone has the time to work on their cardio in the morning and their muscle development in the evening. Kettlebells can help you do this, but keep in mind that the workout will be more intense.
Not everyone can handle a full body workout. And not everyone needs one either since proper muscle gain is commonly achieved by training specific muscle groups in different workout sessions. But you don’t have to take it from us, take it from all the Mr. Olympia winners past and present and from the former governor of California himself.
Ideal for Both Beginners and Experts
There are two main types of kettlebells: classic and competition. Classic kettlebells are usually cheaper, but the weight distribution is way off. The competition-style cast-iron kettlebells are a bit pricier, but the weight distribution is superior due to the improved grip.
Kettlebells don’t really have a learning curve per se. However, if you’re an absolute beginner they do require an adjustment period. Some exercises, such as kettlebell-specific swings and rotations, will have you working more than your targeted muscles.
Because of this, you may want to start with smaller weights and focus on just cardio and core balance at first.
However, kettlebells are still amazing for beginners. Not only do they come in different weights, generally ranging between 18 to as high as 106 pounds, but they also allow you to perform a wide range of exercises which can train your entire body.
On top of that, working out with kettlebells is a great way to save a buck. If you would rather not pay for a gym membership or invest in complex workout benches, two kettlebells and a series of instructions are all you need for a full workout at home.
This is why they’re also great for busy folk. A lot of beginners tend to quit their workout routines pretty quickly. And let’s face it, it’s only natural. The results are not going to show in just a couple of days.
What’s even better is that kettlebells often come with the best kettlebell training in the form of expertly designed training regimens. These are designed for weight loss, cardio, muscle gains, and everything in between.
Combines Cardio and Weight Training In One
It’s not a big secret that training with kettlebells puts a new spin on weight training. Sure, you can adjust the weights and make it easy if you just want to work on your cardio, but why do that if you can have the best of both worlds?
You can easily combine your cardio with your weight training if you go with the best kettlebell training.
Kettlebell training, which involves specific rotational movements and using centrifugal force to strengthen the muscles on the downswing, will only work for cardio and conditioning.
You’ll still have to rely on static exercises to gain muscle mass, so you might want to invest in a few of kettlebells of different sizes and weights. The program of your choice should provide you with all the necessary information on how many you’re going to need.
Expert instructors can give you access to kettlebell training for cardio and for developing muscle mass. Of course, at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide if you can stick to the given plan. As nice as it is to have a selection of kettlebells at home, without the proper motivation it’s easy to turn a full body cardio and weight workout into a waste of time.
Proper technique is everything and if you mishandle your kettlebells it’s not just injuries that you need to be wary off. You may also find yourself getting only half of the results, or worse, none at all.
Comes With a Nutritional Guide
The best kettlebell training programs come with a proper nutritional guide. Based on what you need, the nutritional guide can be tailored.
If you look hard enough, you’ll even find kettlebell training programs which offer you the opportunity to ask for specific nutritional help. After all, not everyone loses weight or adds muscle mass at the same pace, and nor does everyone eat the same food.
What is kettlebell training?
Kettlebell training involves using one or two kettlebells for a variety of muscle groups, instead of the classic dumbbells. Kettlebells are quite different compared to dumbbells, although they are commonly used for similar exercises.
To begin with, these cast-iron balls have a wide handle on top. When you hold a kettlebell, it won’t be just the weight of the ball pulling your muscles but also gravity – for the fact that the weight is unevenly distributed, and thus kettlebell training involves a lot of counterbalancing on your part.
Given the right routine, a kettlebell training session will work your muscles and your core strength simultaneously. This allows you to have shorter workout sessions, which is a great thing for people with busy lives.
At the same time, because of all the extra effort that you have to put into your workout, kettlebells are very efficient tools for weight loss.
What to expect from kettlebell training?
The expectations aren’t really as dependent on the cast-iron workout equipment as they are to you and your goals. Kettlebell training can do it all for you – help you lose weight, gain muscle mass, improve cardio endurance, etc.
Depending on how heavy the kettlebells are and what exercises you do, there’s really no end to what you can achieve. However, you might want some assistance at first, especially if you’re new to kettlebells.
So, your expectations are tied to the best kettlebell training program that you can get. The instructions should be simple and easy to follow, and the video tutorials should teach you all the basics as well as keep you engaged throughout the workout.
How to use kettlebells for beginners
The first problem that most beginners to kettlebells encounter is that they can’t recreate regular dumbbell exercises with the kettlebell grip. It’s understandable especially since there’s the whole uneven weight distribution thing to account for too.
Basically, what you want to learn first is how to familiarize yourself with the kettlebell grip without hurting your wrists and without working your muscles unevenly.
Kettlebells don’t give you the luxury of controlling their center of gravity. Unlike dumbbells, the center of gravity of a kettlebell is outside your hand. Therefore, it will take some time to adjust your grip, which in turn can alter the moment of inertia.
You may have to change or adapt a lot of your dumbbell exercises if you’re going to be using a kettlebell. This is because kettlebell training focuses a lot more on developing your muscles during the acts of deceleration and stabilization.
Then you’ll have to gradually learn how to maintain your balance and adjust your posture depending on the swinging mechanics that you need to use for an exercise. After all, the dynamic weight training is the main selling point of kettlebells, not their versatility.
As a golden rule, always start with small weights, especially if you’re doing kettlebell-specific swing workouts. To work a kettlebell properly you need a decent foundation – that means a strong core.
You may also want to check out kettlebell training programs designed for beginners and intermediate users. Beginner-only training programs don’t offer much long-term value, but they tend to be pretty cheap.
As an alternative, you could just stick to static kettlebell exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, etc. Although doing just these exercises will essentially cut the value of your kettlebell training in half, dynamic exercises aren’t for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with just adding a bit of extra core tension to static weight lifting routines. You will still stay fit if you work out regularly.
How often should you do kettlebell workouts?
There’s no definitive answer to this question. Depending on your workout intensity, you can train with kettlebells twice a day every day, once a day every day, every other day, etc.
The workout routine and the muscle groups you’re targeting will dictate how often you should work out. The design of the kettlebell has nothing to do with it.
You can do core workouts every day, or train your abs every day, without worrying about over-exhausting the muscles. Because we use our core muscles pretty much all day long, they are trained for fast recovery, so for the most part a good night’s sleep is all you need.
What you will want to do of course is take it one day at a time. Train for one specific muscle group on each workout session, and don’t do two of the same workouts one after the other.
That way, your shoulders, arms, legs, and especially your chest muscles will have enough time to recuperate. This rule is even more important to adhere to if you’re trying to gain muscle from kettlebell training.
If you’re just concerned about conditioning and weight loss, you’ll have to follow a specific kettlebell training program and stick with it. Different instructors have different philosophies when it comes to designing an exercise plan.
Some will generalize them, while others prefer to customize a workout plan for each client or customer. It’s important not to dwell too much on how long you should or shouldn’t work out for. Certainly don’t dwell on it more than you would on maintaining the right posture and using the right technique.
What muscles do kettlebells work?
Kettlebells have the ability to work all the major muscle groups: legs, arms, chest, back, shoulders, and core. You can use kettlebells just as you would any other weights, such as the commonly used dumbbells.
This allows you to target any muscle group, given the right exercise routine. But here’s the kicker – when you work out with kettlebells, chances are you’ll always train your core too. This happens because of the uneven weight distribution of the balls which require you to constantly find your balance and center your body in order to perform correct repetitions.
Because of the versatility, kettlebells allow for both dynamic and static exercising, so you can work on just about every muscle on your body, more than what’s possible through regular weight training.
After all is said and done, what should you get? The best kettlebell you can find or the best kettlebell training program? If you’ve gotten this far, you should know by now that the answer is both.Unless you’re a master of kettlebell training (if you were you probably wouldn’t be reading this article), you’ll need plenty of assistance to get the most out of your kettlebells regardless of your level of training.Sadly, you can’t always kill two birds with one stone. Some expert kettlebell training programs don’t come with specific weights attached, and nor do all weights come with pro instructions. This simply means that you have to get your products separately.As far as the best kettlebell training regimen is concerned, pretty much anything on the Cavemantraining website will help you become a better version of yourself. It can take you from A to Z while providing you with step-by-step instructions, including what to eat, how often to exercise, and what to buy to optimize your training and results.As for getting a kettlebell or two to make all of this possible, you can’t go wrong with the AmazonBasics enamel kettlebells.