What are Kettlebells Good For

What are Kettlebells Good For?

4 Reasons to Start Kettlebell Training

What are kettlebells good for? Are they more than another exercise fad? These old-school weights have created quite a buzz in recent years. And everyone from fitness pros to soccer moms are singing its praises.

But what makes them so special? Is it just the weight’s distinctive design? There is a reason why these weights have withstood the test of time.

Check out the 4 top reasons to start training with kettlebells today. You may be surprised to learn just how beneficial kettlebell training really is.

Cardio Workout

Does lifting weights qualify as a cardio workout? That would strongly depend on how you’re lifting the weights, and how long you do it for.

With kettlebells, the name of the game is strong bursts of high-intensity movements. But that’s not where the “cardio” part comes in. Because of the way you move with kettlebell exercises, switching from one activity to the next is seamless. The lack of rest or downtime creates the sustained activity that characterizes a cardio workout.

Cardio Workout

The benefits of aerobic exercises include:

  • Appetite control
  • Burn calories
  • Strengthen the heart and other muscles
  • Mood booster
  • Better sleep
  • Reduce arthritic stiffness and pain
  • Manage and prevent major diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease

Flexibility and Range of Motion

Is yoga the only thing you can do to increase flexibility? No. Believe it or not, you can increase your flexibility by lifting these special weights. While you may not get to contortionist-caliber flexibility, it may increase your body’s range of motion.

Why do you need it? As people end up in sedentary lifestyles and occupations, the body’s ability to achieve the full range of motion may decrease. In other words, because you don’t get up and move while in front of the computer, your flexibility may suffer.

The good news is that kettlebell training can help you with that. For example, specific movements such as the Swing, Goblet Squat, and Windmill can help open up your joints. Many of the kettlebell movements open up tight hips, and may even elongate some muscles.

According to experts,[1] improving flexibility may prevent back pain, balance problems, as well as future injuries. And if you are feeling particularly ambitious, you can also incorporate kettlebells into your existing yoga routine for added flexibility benefits.

Weight Loss

Weight Loss

Have you hit a wall with your weight loss routine? You may want to consider trying some kettlebell movements.

Aside from being a cardio exercise, kettlebells also incorporate strength training for a one-two punch when it comes to burning calories. The translation is that you may burn more calories using kettlebells than doing cardio or strength training separately.

How much can you lose? According to one study,[2] it can be as much as 400 calories for 20 minutes of kettlebell exercises. The sustained high-intensity exercise combined with a healthy diet may help you lose weight faster than any other combination.

However, if you haven’t done resistance training before, you may see that you are gaining weight rather than losing it. Don’t worry. You are still burning calories if you are keeping to a sensible diet.

The reason for the possible weight gain is because you need to build muscle mass to do many of these exercises. So, you will still lose weight but it may be slower if you don’t already have the necessary muscles to perform some of these moves.

Strength Training

Kettlebells are not just for cardio exercise. With the right moves, heavier kettlebells can help you build muscle mass. You can still do popular kettlebell exercises such as the Deadlift, Goblet Chest Press, or Swing. But if you want to improve your strength, make sure that your kettlebell is heavier than one you normally use. And also make sure that movements are fast and explosive.

One reason your movements need to be quick is that you need more force to lift that heavy bell. Another reason is that the heavier weight may force you to maintain better form.

Lastly, weights are relative and more often than not different for everyone. To find the right weight for you, simply look for the heaviest one that you can lift that still allows you to keep proper form through all the reps and time.

Final Thought

What are kettlebells good for? There isn’t a simple answer because there are so many benefits. And it’s easy to pick up, too. You can incorporate the weights into your existing routine, or start a new one with just kettlebells.

But if you are new to kettlebells, or weightlifting in general, go slow at first. That means starting at a lower weight and pay attention to your form. Keeping the correct form during reps is integral to gaining all the kettlebell benefits safely.

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/benefits-of-flexibility-exercises

[2] https://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/kettlebells012010.pdf

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