Kettlebell workouts are increasingly popular among fitness trainers, athletes, and ordinary people looking to get in shape and stay that way. If you haven’t heard of kettlebell workouts before, you’re going to need a bit of an explanation. A kettlebell is a weight made from cast iron which is shaped like a bowling ball that has a rounded handle on it. Some kettlebells are heavy, while others are light–the general range for kettlebell weights is about 9 lbs to just over 100 lbs! Kettlebells were actually developed about 100 years ago, although they were originally used to balance scales in places like county fairs and open air marketplaces. The story goes that they began to be used by the Russian military during training exercises because the kettlebells proved to require intense energy to move, making them a great way to build strength. Kettlebells have been out of the limelight for a while, but due to recent books and videos released by popular American fitness trainers, kettlebell workouts are on the rise!
Why are kettlebell workouts effective?
Whether you have heard about kettlebells before or not, you’re now probably wondering: Just why are kettlebell workouts so effective, anyway? Simply put: Kettlebells can provide a full body workout in a minimal amount of time. Many workouts tend to target only one or two muscle groups at a time, meaning that a person will need to switch up their exercise styles several times within one workout session if they want to get a full body workout. Although this may not be an issue for some people, it can make workout sessions rather long and tiring, with a relatively small payoff. Kettlebell workouts, on the other hand, allow you to get an effective full body workout in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.
What size/weight kettlebell is best for women and men?
Although kettlebells can range in weight from about 9 to 100 lbs, it’s very important that first-time kettlebell users recognize the importance of choosing the right kettlebell weight for them. An essential part of kettlebell workouts is the proper kettlebell, and choosing one that is too heavy can not only make for an inefficient workout, but raise the possibility for injury. It’s always better to start off with a lighter kettlebell and work your way up as you strengthen your body, rather than attempt to start off with something heavy and injure yourself.
Generally speaking, average strength men should start with a 35 pound kettlebell. Most men may eventually be strong enough for the 53 pound kettlebell, but the higher level kettlebells (70, 88 and 106 pounds) are typically only recommended for trained athletes and extremely muscular men.
Generally, an average strength woman should start with an 18 lb kettlebell and may work their way up to the 26 pound kettlebell. Stronger women may progress up to the 35 lb kettlebell and higher.
What are the best exercises with a kettlebell?
Kettlebell workouts take advantage of several different kettlebell exercises. The most common are ballistic – or fast – exercises, such as exercises which require repetitive swinging, jerking, snatching and other fast motions. These exercises also build stability and endurance, particularly the balance of core muscles and core strength. Ballistic exercises are especially recommended for people hoping to burn fat and lose weight because they raise the metabolism faster than other types of kettlebell exercises.
Another popular type of kettlebell exercise are exercises geared toward developing more muscles and increasing the flexibility of the upper body, and in particular the shoulders. These exercises include squatting, pressing, and the “windmill” exercise. And aside from these two popular styles of kettlebell workout, there are dozens more ways you can use kettlebells to achieve a great workout. Many of these exercises are used in military training, even in the Russian military today, and are a proven method of burning fat and building muscles.
The exercise you choose to do with kettlebells will usually depend on what you are trying to achieve with your workouts, your strength, your stability, and you own personal limits. For example, you may find that muscle-building exercises, such as the “bent” kettlebell press, are more effective for your body than other exercises; and on the other hand, certain ballistic exercises may be out of your range due to the required stability and strength needed to perform the repetitive fast motions required for those exercises.
Whatever the reason for your decision to take up kettlebells, and no matter what you’re beginning kettlebell workout level is, you’re sure to find that kettlebell workouts are efficient, effective and a great way to get and stay in shape.