Times are changing and along with changing times, we find that kettlebells have made quite the appearance as part of our fitness regime. We unravel that mystery in our blog.
What is a Kettlebell?
Kettlebells originally stemmed from Russia before being observed in the U.S decades ago. It has hit a stark resurgence in the last few years, as a flurry of classes, videos and books have chosen to be associated with it.
Simply put, kettlebells are cast iron weights ranging from 5 pounds to over 100 pounds, shaped like a ball with a handle for easy gripping.
What has made them so popular is the vast array of training made available to one's disposal, using dynamic moves targeting almost every aspect of fitness, endurance, strength, balance, agility and cardio endurance. People love it because it's challenging, efficient, and all in all requires only one piece of equipment.
Difference between Kettlebell vs Dumbbell
Plenty of folks are quizzical about the difference between a kettlebell and a dumbbell, some even skeptical about the similarity.
In some respects they’re the same, but what makes the kettlebell different is how it’s shaped. It may look like an ordinary weight, but the u-shaped handle actually changes how the weight works with your body.
With a dumbbell, the center of gravity lies in your hand.
With a kettlebell, the center of gravity lies outside of your hand, which means it can change depending on how you’re holding it or moving it.
Dumbbells are a great way of building muscle and strength with slow, controlled movements
Kettlebell training involves the entire body and focuses on endurance, power and dynamic movements.
Benefits of Kettlebells
You're more likely to stick with a workout consistently, the more fun you have. Kettlebell training is a prime example of training with a bit of fun.
Firstly, the exercises are based on movement patterns which means you will be more involved in what you are actually doing compared to simply moving through the motions with machines and typical conventional training. Kettlebell exercises require you to be more mindful.
Secondly, since kettlebells are highly mobile, you can practically take them anywhere. Workouts can be done inside or outside, even at a place with your favourite scenery. This is definitely a nice way to spice up your training be it HIIT, circuit training or complex training.
Lastly, the training will be new for you, and when tackling something new, we are more likely to find enjoyment in it, which will keep your body guessing.
2. Conditioning Tool
The four main aspects of fitness that entail endurance, flexibility, strength and balance are all provided by utilisation of kettlebells. In a fast-paced complex world, the ability to do total body conditioning with one tool is a nice change of pace.
In fact, we’d go out on a limb and say kettlebells are one of the best tools in existence for truly effective, result-achieving, safe, full-body conditioning.
3. Improves Core Strength
Kettlebell exercises are a form of ballistic training that maximise core strength and stability. Ballistic training works on explosive power through maximising acceleration and minimising deceleration. These explosive movements stimulate the abdominal muscles tremendously well.
Multi-planar movements are essential to building a midriff since you will be working your core from all directions.
4. Improves Body Coordination
These are all vital reasons why athletes train with kettlebells. Athletes need core power to explode through opponents, quickly change or move in multiple directions without risking injury (twisting, turning, accelerating/decelerating), and handle loads and pressure from one side while remaining upright.
Remember, your core generates and controls force, so having a powerful trunk is essential to kicking ass at life.
Improving your sense of movement is key. Kettlebell movements are very dynamic in nature. You will be swinging them around, above you, to your side, in between your legs, side to side, and this will necessitate that you are completely aware of your body. This focus and mind to muscle connection will develop, leading you to improved sense of positioning.
This is very different than conventional training with barbells or machines because the movements are linear and less dynamic.
5. Increases Range of Motion
Kettlebells keep the body loose as the exercises movement patterns rather than isolation exercises. Kettlebell movement patterns require you to move through multiple planes of motion while controlling the force, torque and range of motion. Naturally, you will be improving your mobility by slowly increasing your limits. Over time, you will have much greater flexibility and your joints will become more stable and strong, thereby decreasing the chance of injury in your joints, ligaments and muscles.
6. Improves Posture
Many of the best kettlebell exercises target your entire backside, perfect to help cure a lower back pain.
Exercises like the Kettlebell Swings are ballistic movements done from a hinge position, which will make your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, middle back, and traps exceptionally powerful. This translate to jumping higher, running faster, and kicking harder. And, probably most importantly, it will lead to better posture.
But, it’s not just your posterior chain that will be put to the test. By regularly doing kettlebell workouts, you will rapidly develop the major muscles of your hips, core, shoulders, and neck too and these are all vital aspects of having good posture and a strong backside.
Types of Exercises That Can Be Done
1. Kettle Bell Swing
Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Grasp the kettlebell handle with both hands with your palms facing towards you and arms in front of your body. Lower your body by slightly bending your knees and driving your hips back. Explosively drive your hips forwards and swing the kettlebell with straight arms towards shoulder height, keeping your glutes and core engaged. Control the swing back down.
2. Sumo Squat
You can hold the kettlebell between your legs by the handle with both hands or turn the kettlebell upside down, holding the rounded part with both hands at chest level.
Your feet should be wider than shoulder-width apart and pointing slightly outwards. Keep your back straight, chest up and engage your core. Push your hips backwards and bend your knees to squat as low as your range of motion allows you to. Push through your heels and push your hips forwards to return to the start position. Don’t let your knees roll in during the upwards phase of the squat – work hard to push your knees out.
3. Reverse Lunge
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebells by your sides or for an extra core challenge, rack them. Take a big step back and lower until both knees are bent at 90°. Pause, then push through your front leg, squeezing your glutes, to return to standing.
4. Goblet Squat
Hold the kettlebell upside down in both hands. The movement of the goblet squat is the same as a regular squat lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then drive back up through your heels. The goblet squat helps improve your squatting movement pattern because of the position the kettlebell is held in throughout the movement.
5. Single-Arm Kettlebell Floor Press
Lie on your back on the ground with your legs straight. Take hold of the kettlebell with your palm facing inwards, holding the weight by the side of your chest. Press the weight straight up to the ceiling, rotating your wrist so that your palm finishes facing your feet.
All in all, this is why you should start using kettlebells if you don't already. SportsEquip caters to your every need by providing authentic sports equipment right at your door-step.