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. Kettle bells are so effective because they stimulate the muscles and surpass standard cardio exercises.
They enable you to increase your strength, build up speed as well as your endurance level at the same 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.
If you find yourself becoming bored with traditional exercises or having to be in the gym, consider using kettle bells. 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). They are so effective that serious lifters should definitely consider them as a way to enhance and supplement their barbell or dumbbell workouts.
Kettle bell exercises often involve several muscle groups at once, making them a highly effective way to give your arms, legs, and abs a great workout in a short amount of time. Kettle bells can be used for a variety of exercises that improve both your strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Russian strongmen in the 1700s developed kettle bells as implements to build strength and endurance. You’ve probably seen depictions of bare-chested carnival strongmen hoisting them over their heads.
Using lighter kettle bells at first allows you to focus on using the proper form and technique for the different exercises. You can always increase the weight once you’re comfortable with the correct form for each exercise.
Fitness experts suggest using kettle bells with the following weights if you’re at an intermediate to advanced level with your strength training: Aim to add more reps each week, then work toward adding more sets as you build strength.
Push your hips backward, and bend your knees to reach the kettle bell handles. Firmly grip the kettle bells, keeping your arms and back straight.
This is an excellent exercise to boost both your muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. While your shoulders and arms will do a lot of the work, most of the effort should come from the hips and legs.
Exhale as you make an explosive upward movement to swing the kettle bell out in front of you. Squats are an excellent lower-body exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, as well as your abdominal muscles.
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.
Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position. Alternatively, you can hold a kettle bell by the handle in one or both hands, with your arms at your sides.
Slowly step forward with your left leg, bending your knee while keeping your right foot in place. Make sure your left knee doesn’t extend over your toes.
A great exercise for working your abs and obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen that run from your hips to your ribs), the Russian twist can also be done with a weighted medicine ball or barbell plate. When using a kettle bell, be sure to keep a firm grip so that you don’t drop it on your lap.
Holding the kettle bell handle with both hands, lean back so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. With your heels a few inches above the floor, rotate your torso from right to left, swinging the kettle bell slightly across your body.
When you’ve completed your repetitions, return to your starting position. When your chest is even with the kettle bell handles, exhale and push your body back up to its starting position.
There are many benefits to working out with kettle bells, for both men and women, across all age groups. According to a 2019 study, a kettle bell workout is a highly effective way to improve your strength, aerobic power, and overall physical fitness.
Compared to resistance circuit-based training, the same study found that a regular kettle bell workout is just as effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength. A 2013 study reported that participants who completed an 8-week kettle bell training session saw noticeable improvements in their aerobic capacity.
Kettle bell exercises have the ability to restore muscle mass and improve grip strength in older adults, according to a 2018 study. According to Harvard Health, kettle bell exercises can also help improve your posture and balance.
You typically use your core muscles more with kettle bell exercises than with dumbbells or barbells. Take your time learning the correct form and technique of each exercise.
If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises. Stop immediately if you feel sudden or sharp pain.
A little mild soreness after a workout is normal, but you shouldn’t feel sudden, sharp pain while working out. Kettle bells can take a little getting used to, but working out with them is a highly effective way of improving your muscle strength and cardio fitness.
The key is to start slow and, if possible, with the help of a certified personal trainer. We live in a world of infinite knowledge, yet we rarely stop to think about the dangers of such innovation.
Well, maybe not that many, but in this day and age of strength and conditioning the kettle bell is turning into a standard training tool among coaches and trainees. If you’re new to the kettle bell and want to jump in with both feet, three full body workouts hitting each movement pattern per week is plenty.
The conventional gyms and department stores of the world would have you believe that a 10lb kettle bell is all a man needs and a 5lb is plenty for a woman. 99% of the time (a statistic I just made up to prove a point but is still going to be high) trainees go too light.
There’s no set standard per se as each person is different, but here’s a good guide for non-injured, healthy men and women: Challenging yourself is important, but if you’re breaking form for the purposes of lifting a certain weight, then the potential harm outweighs any good could be doing.
If I had a nickel for each time I’ve seen someone attempting a technical move like the snatch at a conventional gym with zero knowledge of the movement outside of watching a video I’d be a rich man. Finding a reputable coach in your area or absorbing instructional videos will do your body good.
Juggling, intense movements, and programs with a ton of volume can look enticing, but if you’re not ready for it take a step back. Check out the Durability channel on Innit Academy On Demand to work through tight areas and open up new movements.
Double kettle bell work, heavy one arm swings, bent presses, goblet squats, and incredible flows will do far more than get your heart pumping. A powerful routine that will build incredible strength AND conditioning is utilizing the kettle bell (or a few) for a strength-geared circuit.
For example, you can perform a press, goblet squat, renegade row, and one arm swing. This gives you PLENTY of room for growth since you can’t change the weights easily.
Between get-ups, arm bars, windmills and sots presses kettle bell deliver amazing strength, but also incredible mobility from your hips to your shoulders and everything in between. You can incorporate challenging movements as a warm up or what I do is pick the toughest ones based on my body’s abilities and spend a whole session playing with them.
For example, I’ll incorporate a longer mobility warm up and then hit multiple sets (never to failure) of sots presses and deep goblet squats using lighter weights. Because of the position of the kettle bell even simply pressing it will pull your arm back a bit further stretching your lats and opening up your shoulders a hair more.
Just about everything from jumping higher, running faster, kicking harder and better posture. Your glutes and hamstrings are your power source for building hip speed and explosive strength.
This can be alternated with heavy and lighter weights and aiming for 50-200 reps (not necessarily at once). Sets can be broken down and performed ladder-style, on the minute, or pair them with a calisthenics move like push ups for a more robust session.
A strong grip is more useful than the mainstream fitness world gives it credit. The off-center placement of the bell gives the kettle bell an advantage over other tools as it forces you to keep a flexed forearm while in the rack and overhead position.
Combine that with kettle bell flows, juggling, and ballistic movements to strengthen your grip from every angle. Eventually, you can try tougher routines and juggling complexes to unleash the power of the bell.
Most strength training is done with trunk flexion and extension with the occasional rotational movement medicine ball throw. Squats and dead lifts are awesome, but when you combine powerful movements with the likes of rotational swings, lateral punches, and 360 snatches you’ll build strength from a multitude of angles.
Strength in motion (what we’ve dubbed the outside the box thinking and kettle bell flowing) is almost meditative. There are no sets and reps. You just move, and this allows you to explore different ranges of motion, planes, and movement patterns.
If you’re a coach or group class leader kettle bells are fantastic to lead clients through a plethora of movements that will deliver strength and conditioning in record time. It’s easy to get caught up in the “more is better” mentality when it comes to gym equipment at conventional locations.
Some simple complexes and movements can help you continue on your strength quest without skipping a beat and minus the tons of equipment and weight needed. An easy way is to limit your tools to a kettle bell and club or mace, a suspension trainer and your body to build a high-functioning physique without all the fluff.
This will help you take your kettle bell abilities to the next level and help you unlock your imagination for some fantastic, out of the box strength and conditioning sessions.