What is a kettlebell?
You scan the gym from the safety of your elliptical and notice dozens upon dozens of different types of strength training equipment. A weight is a weight, right? Well, not exactly. The muscles you want to work dictate which type of equipment to use and how to use that equipment. If you’re not familiar with different types of free weights, be sure to skim our blog post about decoding gym lingo.
Whether you have used them or not, most people know what dumbbells look like. They’re small hand weights that feature two weights on the either end and a grip in the middle. A kettlebell is like a mini bowling ball with a handle on top. Grabbing the kettlebell from the top, it changes the center of gravity, and therefore how you use the weight. While it may appear intimidating, the kettlebell is actually much easier to use than other types of free weights. And unlike other types of weights, you can use kettlebells to get a full body workout and sneak in some cardio. Here’s why you should add kettlebell training to your gym to-do list:
Easy on the joints
No matter your age, you should always protect your joints while working out. Popular exercises such as running and jumping jacks can put a lot of stress on your joints, sometimes leading to injury. Whether you have bad knees or are recovering from a lower body injury, kettlebells are the perfect way to work up a sweat without harming your joints.
Strength training and cardio all in one
Working a full time job and taking care of your family may mean that you have very little time to spend at the gym. You might as well make the most of it. Kettlebell swings are the perfect way to get your heart rate up, scorching more calories than you would if you were just standing there doing bicep curls. Not to mention sculpting Michelle Obama-like arms.
When we say full body workout, we mean it. If you want to tighten your tummy for summer, you can hold a light kettlebell while doing a Russian Twist. Are you looking for for shapely stems? There’s at least half a dozen different squat variations you can do while holding a kettlebell. So not only can you do kettlebell-specific exercises, you can challenge yourself by holding a kettlebell while performing a normal exercise (like a lunge).
After a few workouts, you may find that your kettlebell isn’t challenging you like it used to. Good news! You’re getting stronger. Kettlebells come in a huge variety of weights, so you’ll never have to worry about giving up your new favorite workout. Don’t worry about bulking up. You have to put a lot of time in effort in both the gym and the kitchen to get large muscles. Perks of having more muscle? Burning more calories at rest.
Easy to use
If you’re new to strength training, kettlebells are the perfect way to get your feet wet. Because of their versatility, there’s little reason to venture into other free weights until you’re fully confident in your abilities. While there’s always the Internet for inspiration, you should consider working with a personal trainer or take a kettlebell class before trying kettlebells on your own. Checking in with a train ensure that you’re performing the exercises safely and that your form is correct. (You are swinging around a heavy object after all!) Performing an exercise with proper form prevents injury and achieves results faster.
Are you looking for a kettlebell class near you? Check out our small group training classes.