Known as a “girl” in Russia, kettle bells were originally used to help balance scales while weighing crops. The man most notable for Westernizing the kettle bell is Pavel Tsatsouline, chairman of Strongest Inc. and former PT drill instructor for Smetana.
Tsatsouline's authored several books that outline simple but effective kettle bell training programs. Entire workouts can be executed with nothing more than a single kettle bell, whether the aim is strength, hypertrophy, power or endurance.
A kettle bell is relatively small (though I dare not say it's “light,” as that all depends on the weight you select) and relatively affordable in comparison to most other gym equipment. Compared to training with machines or even dumbbells, the kettle bell provides variability and offsets the load so that no one rep is ever truly the same.
Every piece of equipment brings something unique to the table, and every person is different, so it's foolish to speak in definitive. Barbells make it easy for a newbie to load a movement heavier than they can handle in a fixed position.
A perfect example is that of a Barbell Bench Press, where the hands are pronated and the shoulders are inherently placed in an internally rotated position. Kettle bells are a great option to keep an individual's load lower while growing their movement competency.
It targets the posterior chain and teaches individuals how to hip hinge properly with some force. This exercise involves holding the kettle bell with both hands (although single-arm and double-bell variations do exist) and using the hip hinge to forcefully drive it out in front of yourself.
Your gripping muscles may eventually burn if the set is long or enough or the weight's heavy enough, but your arms and shoulders should essentially contribute no power to the movement. Once the Kettle bell Swing is mastered, it is an excellent addition to any program or a convenient stand-alone option for a conditioning day.
Its goal is simple: Stand from a supine position while keeping a weight over your head. However, that simple act requires a lot of technique, shoulder stability, core strength, hip mobility and focus to execute effectively.
There are also many scenarios where replacing a classic barbell or dumbbell exercise with a kettle bell version can make sense. It might seem like an insignificant swap, but kettle bells naturally lead to better scapular position, making the move more effective and reducing wear and tear on your body.
For those out there who aren’t confident in doing kettle bell workouts due to the high intensity and expected grip strength, don’t turn away yet! Our patented Dark Iron Fitness lifting straps are made of durable cowhide suede and are the perfect accompaniment to kettle bells.
Their numerous benefits include strength gain, endurance, flexibility and weight loss. Many of the movements and skills required in CrossFit focus on learning to have fast and effective hips.
Dumbbells have a tight center of gravity and mainly utilize the major muscle groups. A kettle bell’s odd shape and off-center mass forces you to use muscles that mimic real-life activities.
Its odd center of gravity forces you to do more work involving your stabilizing muscles to create explosive movements with the bell. Enjoy the ease of use and appreciate that such a unique weight can help streamline other exercises you already do.
Always practice correct form and safety in all exercises, but be content in the fact the kettle bell is one of the safer weights to work with. If you have previously been avoiding barbell exercises due to safety concerns, look into the kettle bell alternatives.
The kettle bell alternates periods of intense contraction and controlled relaxation, to give you a superior workout that combines strength, as well as endurance. Other exercises such as the windmill, and single leg dead lift, also build flexible strength.
The kettle bell stimulates tremendous abdominal contraction because of the explosive conditioning movements. The fact you can work your core indirectly, just through the dynamic aspect of kettle bells, is truly amazing.
They enable you to increase your strength, build up speed as well as your endurance level at the same time. This gives you a great strength and endurance workout in a shorter amount of time.
So rather than moving on to a heavier kettle bell you simply complete more reps or change the exercise to a more difficult option. Killer strength and endurance work can be achieved without necessarily having to use the heaviest weight you can find.
This is especially valued by physical therapists because kettle bells actually teach you to move in a way that is better, stronger, and safer. Unfortunately, many of us today lose some of our basic movements as a result of sedentary occupations and lifestyles.
That’s what happens when we don’t move our bodies with the full range of motion or become used to certain unhealthy postures (like sitting in front of a computer all day). They are terrific for overall fat loss, improving lean body mass, and helping teach proper use of the hips (important for speed and power sports).
These kettle bells come in different weights and you can make use of these equipments as you do lunges, shoulder presses, and lifts. The kettle bell workouts get your heart pumping and are quite beneficial in burning calories, offering body flexibility and many other things.
Kettle bell exercises mostly targets areas like the core, arms, glutes, legs, and back. These kettle bells come in weights that range from 5-100 pounds and you can purchase them from sporting goods stores or from online retailers.
There is a short review of research on kettle bell exercises that teaches about some workouts and its benefits. Kettle bell exercises stimulate an incredible amount of abdominal contraction because of their explosive conditioning movements.
The abdominal contraction along with coordinated breathing offers quite a high level of conditioning that actually has made kettle bells popular among athletes and fighters. In one study there was absolutely clear evidence of some effective positive changes in cardiovascular health from kettle bell exercises.
Since there are several kettle bell exercises which we do with our arms in an overhead position, the muscles that are responsible for assisting our breathing process are pretty engaged in the muscular activity; thus not allowing them to assist in the process of respiratory. This in turn forces the muscles that are most responsible for the breathing process to play an even higher role in the cardiovascular health.
They also enable you for increasing your strength and building up speed and also your endurance levels simultaneously. The first thing that must be kept in mind is that your entire back and abs remain absolutely straight.
Most physical therapists value these exercises because they teach us to move in a better, stronger, and a safer way. Kettle bell exercises help you build powerful forearms and also improves your grip.
Moreover, such exercises also allow you to devote your attention towards your skill, strategy, rest and recovery. The main reason I would think about purchasing these, or similar accessories, is to maintain form and safety.
However, it is important that you first start with some easier exercises to properly understand how to use kettle bells. Then, once you are familiar with the mechanics of the kettle bell and feel comfortable gripping them, you can really amp up the workouts.
This is important, especially in relation to this article, because cardio and strength training are what promote weight loss. It’s very important to always remember that cardio is a huge pillar to the house of weight loss.
Most weightlifting movements do not implement a high amount of cardio, unless they are HIIT routines or focusing on CrossFit training. When adding in that cardio aspect to kettle bell exercises, like swings, jump squats, etc., you’ll experience faster results.
In fact, intense lifting puts you into a longer residual fat burning zone. Now, imagine combining the longevity of fat burning from weights with the intensity of a cardiovascular workout.
The beauty of kettle bells is that they are more versatile for HIIT exercises when compared to something like dumbbells. With their strength building aspect, you will be hitting all the proper channels that lead to further weight loss.
The focus needed, the grip strength, the core balance and even hip drive will ensure you see success. The swinging movement, along with the squat and explosiveness, lead to the foundation of kettle bell exercises.
After choosing the best kettle bell weight for you, give it a gentle swing between your legs as you drop into a squat. If the kettle bell you’ve chosen seems to be fine, then start rapping out the swings.
Make sure to go strong and controlled, getting deep into the squat and swinging the kettle bell to the same spot for each rep. Keep your head forward, looking up at the line of sight to where the kettle bell should end up swinging to.
Adding just this one adjustment to your kettle bell swing will amplify the explosive nature of the workout almost by tenfold. The dumbbell jump squats will be so much more explosive and tiring (due to the cardio-centric nature) that you’ll burn fat quicker.
Dark Iron Fitness has one of the best weightlifting belts available, and it’s worth investing in, as you’ll only ever need to buy it once. Hold two kettle bells up by your shoulders with your hands up, and proceed to perform the jump squats.
If you perform any of these, you’ll feel the burn, the sweat and the weight begin to slowly melt off with time. Give them a try and continuously work them into your weightlifting routines or even just as supplemental workouts on cardio days.
A lot of people are looking for quick results, clear-cut answers and a strict guide to lose excess weight. You need to find what works for you, stick to it and let the journey become a large part of your happiness and success.
Don’t fall for the tricks of someone selling you one specific exercise routine or “10 minutes or less” workouts as the end all be all. If you hold a lot of weight in your stomach, it’ll most likely be the last place that fat leaves your body.
Kettle bells aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they are gaining more and more popularity for a reason. A lot of people are under the impression that the use of kettle bells are some gimmicky fad that burst on the fitness scene within the last decade or so.
The benefits of Kettle bell Training are backed by valid science & extensive studies conducted in the exercise industry along with many hours of practical application experience. While referencing all this science and studies lends credence to the effectiveness of using kettle bells, I only need to trust my own experiences with these amazing implements and the great results I have gotten myself and for those who have practiced with them under my guidance.
If you are going to put forth the time and energy to work out, why not choose a program where you can get great back- end benefits like this for your up- front efforts? If you were to read no further, just that reason alone would be enough to position most people for success in their quest for their ideal body composition.
Unfortunately, that hack trainer over at the 24-hour super-duper mega techno gym considers throwing you on a treadmill like some mindless hamster followed by doing some curls and crunches a total body workout. Spare yourself the disappointment and frustration of participating in thoughtless and ineffective workouts like this if you really want to improve your fitness.
Many of my reasons I state in this article for why I use a kettle bell in my training also cover what a total body workout should consist of. Hopefully, you realize that our stay on this planet is finite and that we don’t have a lot of time to waste doing unproductive things.
I train with kettle bells because they allow me to design safe, brief, sustainable workouts to experience Maximum Fitness in Minimal Time leading to Stellar Results. Everybody talks about the ‘core” and all of its virtues, but really never train it too productively from what I see while walking around gyms in different cities I visit.
Rarely do I witness worthwhile or meaningful efforts to train the core besides people throwing together some type of crunch or setup routine they have etched in their brains from somewhere in time. Many kettle bell exercises will give you a metabolic effect similar to sprinting, BUT without beating the hell out of your knees, ankles or joints.
The challenge is to pursue a fitness program consisting of exercises that will not only give you a productive workout, but promote an existence of rich, pain free movement as well. High-repetition kettle bell exercises, such as swings and their variations really get your heart rate up and push the limits of your cardiovascular endurance.
Kettle bell exercises push your muscles, especially those in your core, to keep working repeatedly for long periods of time. This builds muscular endurance, which helps maintain posture and form in your workouts as well as throughout everyday life activities.
Good posture prevents injuries, unhealthy muscle tension, and other aches and pains we all seem to have accumulated to varying degrees over our lifetime. The good news is that you can get incredible fitness and health results with just 2-3 short kettle bell workouts per week in conjunction with a well-designed program.
I loved the fact that I could get in a challenging and fun kettle bell workout that literally addressed every fitness goal I valued with a minimal time investment that yielded maximum results. This really uncomplicated my routine, freed up more time to devote to other responsibilities/leisurely pursuits and boosted my fitness and health to levels that surpassed my expectations.
This is very true if you define quality as moving better and pain free, performing daily tasks more efficiently and confidently, enjoying new levels of activity and finally achieving that ideal lean, tight and strong body worth bragging to the heavens about! I’m convinced that sound, thoughtful and challenging physical training in general does wonders for your mental well-being and will contribute to a positive outlook on life.
Furthermore, kettle bell exercises are extremely efficient at building lean muscle mass, which elevates the metabolism and helps maintain a healthy body weight long term. Kettle bell training will help you forge your ideal body without wasting a lot of unproductive time in the gym.
Thoughtfully programmed variety is beneficial because it keeps the body challenged, which helps avoid training plateaus. Add new exercises only if you can justify its purpose in furthering your training goals, it’s safe and you can perform them competently.
Beginner, intermediate, and advanced trainees will all be challenged since there are so many exercise regressions and progressions that can be applied in a kettle bell training program to keep all levels engaged and moving forward with their goals. If you can’t move well and with a requisite amount of strength, then your quality of life and performance of your everyday activities will suffer.
Heed my warning and train in such a way where you will promote and preserve your joint mobility and pain free movement quality. Renowned coach Steve Maxwell stated that in his many years of teaching fitness worldwide, he has never had a client tell him that they wished they had done more bench presses over their lifetime.
Instead, they all overwhelmingly regret not practicing and staying connected to exercises that improved their movement quality in order to live an active pain free life. This is a great warning that I wished I would have heeded in my younger training days, but fortunately it is rarely too late to improve your movement quality if you have the desire to take action and practice meaningful exercises.
While kettle bells play a huge part in the programs I design, they are by no means the be all and end all fitness modalities. But if you want to torch the fat, increase mobility, get lean & strong, develop killer legs, tighten your butt & perform better physically and live a life of active vitality and longevity, then a well-designed kettle bell based program may be for you.
If you like the fitness benefits you can experience from training with kettle bells, then take action and dare to transform your body and your quality of life. Grab a friend, spouse or loved one or go it alone and give kettle bell training a shot if you want to experience meaningful results, achieve that ideal body and even have some fun and excitement.
Many gyms and health clubs wanting to jump on the kettle bell bandwagon and cash in on their dynamic reputation and “cool” status for propelling one to their fitness goals will make the knee-jerk decision to add them to their facility with little thought as to their proper use or how to integrate them safely into their master plan if they have one at all. I have been to more facilities than I care to remember that will just let trainees and trainers do all kinds of unsafe movements and buffoonery with a kettle bell ranging from truly cringe worthy technique to using the kettle bell to gang dance around in some kind of disjointed routine of meaningless expenditures of energy.
People get hurt when they don’t take the time to learn safe, sustainable technique or take instruction from inept, unqualified, unprepared instructors who do you, me, the kettle bell and the fitness industry a colossal disservice by muddying the effectiveness and reputation of this excellent tool. Regarding scenarios such as this, trainees and trainers will usually get hurt at some point due to their lack of proper technique training and then ridiculously blame the kettle bell for their shortcomings instead of their own ineptness and failure to learn proper technique and program design as to the reason for their failure or injury.
In the wrong hands the kettle bell becomes nothing more than an Attractive Liability for irresponsible gym owners, trainers and members who are either ignorant of sound technique or their colossal egos dictate that they are above learning from others with greater skill than their own. I politely questioned one gym owner why he lets his admittedly unqualified staff have free rein of the kettle bells without any legitimate training.
I told him you are allowing your staff to teach horrendous technique to your client base in a dangerously unsustainable manner. Don’t get me wrong- everybody at some point regardless of their experience or qualifications will sustain some type of injury or tweak a muscle here or there performing any exercise using any fitness tool.
With proper instruction, kettle bells are easy to learn, yet will keep you challenged and progressing without boring the hell out of you. I have been using kettle bells for over a decade and I have yet to experience boredom or lack of enthusiasm and I have sampled just about every fitness tool and method out there.
Kettle bells can help you lose weight because exercises can use up to 600 muscles at a time increasing calorie burn, raising your metabolic rate and challenging your cardio. Active muscles require constant supplies of energy in order to maintain their size and performance and so increase demands on the metabolic system.
Exercising with kettle bells adds tonicity to 100’s of muscles at a time which in turn raises the metabolic system meaning you burn more calories throughout the day and night. Yet another reason why kettle bell training is so great for weight loss is that not only does it work on your muscles but it improves your cardio as well.
The kettle bell exercises are put together in flowing circuits which keep the heart rate up burning even more calories per workout. One of the important things about exercising and weight loss is that you don’t want to just burn calories while you are performing your workout.
Luckily, kettle bell training, when programmed correctly, creates a large imbalance in homeostasis throughout the body. Once the workout is over the body needs to work very hard in order to restore balance which in turn means the use of even more energy or calories.
After burn or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (Epic) is the more technical term for this and is yet another reason why kettle bell training is so effective for weight loss. No type of exercise would be good for weight loss if it couldn’t be maintained for periods of time.
Each kettle bell exercise can be performed at home and in only a very small amount of space (6ft x 3ft) because you don’t need to move your feet very far. The kettle bell movements are fun to perform and require skill development which takes the emphasis away from just working out.
Above I’ve listed 5 good reasons why kettle bell workouts are great for weight loss. Kettle bell training is an efficient way to burn calories but should also be accompanied by a balanced diet for accelerated fat loss.
When I finally decided to purchase my first 16 kg kettle bell to see how this tool could possibly help me, I was blown away. I was even more blown away when I took my first workshop taught by a phenomenal, high level ROC Instructor (Andrea Duane).
Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself. As Tracy Ranking, ROC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise.
It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise. Ballistics are fast, explosive movements, while grinds are slow and deliberate.
This means you get total body strengthening and conditioning with one single tool. Virtually every fitness goal you want could be accomplished with a kettle bell, but don’t mistake me saying that this is the only thing you should do.
While I still use body weight exercises and barbell programs, kettle bells are an essential part of my training and what I teach today because they offer better results in less time. This is something I feel very strong about as a former physical therapist, because kettle bells actually teach you to move in a way that is better, stronger, and safer.
Unfortunately, many of us today lose some of our basic movements as a result of sedentary occupations and lifestyles. That’s exactly what happens when we don’t move with full range of motion or become habituated to certain postures (like sitting all day at a computer).
I’ve had many clients say how well they move and function again, after learning how to perform this exercise correctly. The best way to get started is to find a certified instructor and get qualified instruction from the beginning, if you can.
For total body strengthening and conditioning, kettle bells are definitely a very special fitness and performance training tool to incorporate into your program.