Kettle bells have been used for centuries by strongmen for the purpose of strength and muscular hypertrophy. Kettle bells, like barbells, and even dumbbells, are proven, powerful tools for strength, muscular development, and many other great benefits to the human body.
For the skeptics, doubters, or for those that simply believe it’s “just another gadget,” I’m here to say that kettlebelltraining is the real deal. 1-In order to fully appreciate and understand the power of effective kettlebelltraining, you must get with a properly certified instructor to help you maximize the benefits of the tool.
The evolution of kettle bells has become very refined for human movement and the development of strength. Because of the evolution of the exercises and to get the most benefit in the safest way possible, it’s essential to get with a properly certified instructor to learn how to use the tool.
As more people discover the right way to use this tool, the growth of kettlebelltraining will continue to emerge and I don’t see it fading out. When I learned how to perform the fundamentals properly, I would say my results literally doubled, and I was more convinced about all the benefits of kettle bells than ever before.
Take a workshop, get with a certified instructor, or even have someone provide feedback on your technique through video analysis. I have no doubt kettle bells will continue to grow and evolve, but ONLY for those that are ready to ‘receive’ the benefits.
What I mean is, I don’t try to “sell” the benefits to the ‘dabblers’ and ‘tire kickers’ anymore. Kettle bells will definitely continue to evolve and expand to the masses for those that have made a commitment to their own development and growth.
While I love all the benefits of kettlebelltraining, it’s just a part of the equation for optimal strength and performance training. Kettle bells, barbells, and body weight/mobility training represent a “fundamental” approach to strength and performance.
Kettle bells represent strength, but it’s a different version of strong as Charlie Mangrove put it recently in our podcast interview. Are kettle bells a hoax, fad, or silly fitness trend?
You can’t say that about a lot of things out there today, but kettle bells is truly time tested and proven. If you’ve been training and you haven’t found a local certified instructor, that would be my biggest advice to you right now.
Get with an instructor, sign up for a workshop, get out of your comfort zone, and take things to the next level. Scott Marcella, MPT, CSS writes about training methods to optimize health and performance.
If you enjoyed this article, join a strong and growing community of passionate fitness enthusiasts and subscribe below to get a ton of cool, free stuff! But many people are still clueless about how to properly use a kettle bell, and that includes many certified personal trainers.
If you are wanting to lose weight, you have to focus on a program that has a lot of cardio built into it. If you’d rather sculpt muscle, you’ll want to find a program that focuses on lifting the weight more than moving around.
We’ve taken a long look at many of the best-selling kettle bell workouts out there right not and have assembled our list of ones we think deserve more attention, or ones that we recommend avoiding. We also like that they’ve tried to make the kettle bells as user-friendly as they can be by smoothing them out, and painting them with a nice finish, you don’t get the feeling like you’re working out with a piece of scrap metal.
Go to our full review of KettleWorx Kettlenetics Recap We recommend this kettle bell workout for those that are already pretty active, as they start off at a level that might leave some behind. Go to our full review of Kettlenetics Wader Power Bell Recap This is a pretty unique design that lets you quickly change it from a rather light weight to a pretty substantial weight in just a few seconds.
The draw here is twofold: you don’t have to buy a bunch of different sized kettle bells, and you also won’t have to find a place to put all of them once you get them. A lot of the exercises they show are unique to this piece of equipment, and get your body moving in many positions you may have never tried before.
The program itself is pretty solid, but with kettle bells it can be hard to stay motivated, and you might need someone that’s a little better at getting you ready for the workout ahead. You can give this a try if you want, as it is pretty comprehensive and you might pick up a few good exercises from it that you’ve never tried before, but other systems are better.
You might find yourself more inclined to do the workout when you can grab a nice looking weight instead of something that looks like a cannonball with a handle. Go to our full review of CAP Barbell Kettle bell Jillian Michael's Shred-It With Weights Recap Most of us are familiar with Jillian from The Biggest Loser, but she’s also one of the busiest people in the fitness industry, coming up with several programs and attaching her name to lots of different diet foods and programs.
It will provide you with a system that is easy to follow, and that will show you a lot of different exercises, each with their own muscle groups that they work out, so you always know what you’re doing and why. With kettle bells there’s a steep learning curve that will separate the tire kickers from those that are serious, so if you’re not ready to jump on board, then avoid them altogether and save your time and money.
Many kettle bell exercises incorporate both lifting and more of a full-bodied motion, so you will find that you get short of breath pretty quickly, and the sweat starts showing up before you know it. By getting your heart rate up into the target heart rate zone, and getting your muscles flexing and stabilizing the weight, you end up using lots of little stabilizer muscles that don’t get engaged when you use weight lifting machines.
You’ll need to bring your A game and expect to be pushed to your limits when you take on this sort of challenge. They didn’t win any design awards when they made it, and it’s just a 10, 20, 30 or more pounds of unyielding dead weight that you’re trying to move around and manipulate.
By forcing you to control a swinging weight, the kettle bell produces quite the challenge that can prove to really take it out of you in a hurry. Kettle bells can provide the answer because if you use them at a light weight, say 5 or 10 pounds max, you will get a nice toning effect, and also produce the elevated heart rate that you need to get the fat to go away.
The muscle that you do build shouldn’t be bulky like a male bodybuilder, because many of the exercises you are going to do do not involve a concentrated lift on one body part. For example, the kettle bell swing, even with a heavier weight, is going to engage your leg muscles, your core, and your arms, but it is not concentrated the way that a bench press works directly on your pectoral muscles, or a curl works specifically on your biceps.
Since you are engaging so many muscle groups all in one fluid swing, you end up with a nice toned look, and not like you’re ready to win an arm wrestling contest. Once you have enough muscle built up you will have effectively increased your metabolism so that you’re burning more calories even when you do mundane things like watch TV and even sleep.
This means that as long as you keep eating the same foods and getting the same calories in, you will naturally and effortless lose weight because you’ll have more and more of a caloric deficit the longer you go along. You need to have this dual system in place so that you get excited by the results in the now, and things get easier as you go along so it’s easy to stay motivated.
Give Yourself Room to Grow At first you might not be too adept with the kettle bell, even if you’ve lifted weights for years. So be sure to budget some time for learning, so that you don’t get frustrated and feel like moving on to the next thing.
If you’re a guy, don’t be all macho and think that you need a huge weight in order for this to be effective. That’s why starting off with a lighter weight is best, because you can get the form down properly and then feel good about upgrading later.
It can be hard at first incorporating it into the exercises, so don’t be afraid to get the proper form down first before adding weight to the mix. They will definitely get your heart rate up and your muscles straining, so it’s only a matter of you sticking with the kettle bell workout you choose.
That was certainly true for kettle bells, the cannonball-with-a-handle training tools that started showing up on lists of fitness trends about three years ago. The results are generally positive, but also serve as a reminder of an important training principle: The more benefits you try to squeeze from a single workout, the less effective it will be for each individual goal.
For strength and power, exercise physiologist Jared Co burn and his colleagues at California State University in Fullerton chose three standard kettle bell moves — the kettle bell swing, accelerated swing and goblet squat — and matched them to three traditional weight-lifting exercises: the high dead lift, power clean and back squat. The researchers randomly assigned 30 volunteers to follow identical programs using either kettle bells or barbells for six weeks, then measured their strength and power.
One explanation for the difference is that kettle bell movements emphasize speed and explosiveness, but are less suited to dealing with very heavy weights, Dr. Co burn says: “My advice would be to incorporate them into a training program alongside more traditional methods, not as a permanent replacement.” In order to get a fair comparison, they had their volunteers repeatedly estimate their perceived exertion during the kettle bell routine on a standard numerical scale from 6 to 20.
On the surface, the results were clear: The treadmill workout burned more calories and consumed more oxygen than the kettle bells, by 25 to 39 per cent. Still, the kettle bell routine maintained heart rates up above 85 per cent of maximum, enough to produce gains in cardiovascular fitness.
“If it's a heavier kettle bell that's lifted only a few times, it's probably a strength workout,” says Jerry Mayhew, the senior author of the Truman State study. Kettle bells put less compression but more lateral force on your vertebrae compared to conventional barbells, according to research by the University of Waterloo's Stuart McGill.
Dr. McGill recommends starting with the “shortstop squat” to practice keeping the spine in a neutral position: hands on knees, bending with the hips and looking straight ahead. It’s a dynamic, ballistic form of training that gets the heart rate revved and challenges even the most impressive muscles.
They’re also simple and inexpensive, which is a huge draw for those of us developing our home gyms on a budget. It’s a cute addition to the line-up, looking something like sports equipment and something like a milk jug, but there’s no doubt it offers a versatile- if not slightly awkward- adjustable weight.
With its fillable body design, the Cross bell Kettle bell can be used without filling, or with water, sand, coins, and buckshot to take you up to 45 pounds. Users report overall satisfaction with the handling and price of this incredibly low budget adjustable kettle bell option, and of course, you are only paying for it once- with most other kettle bells, no matter how well constructed, you are forced to purchase progressively heavier weight plates when you need to advance.
It features a wide grip handle with soft-touch protection, and the body is sand filled. Empowered is a line specifically aimed at the female consumer, and it’s another budget option designed to get you going with minimal fuss.
Its shape gets unwieldy as you expand the kettle bell, and the weight expansion is really limited once you progress past a beginner level. Overall, the Empower is a winner for what it’s designed to do- give beginners, particularly women a comfortable way to break into using kettle bells.
If you’re looking for a true durable long-term buy this isn’t it, and if you need the ability to add considerably heavier weights to your regime it’s not for you. If, however, you’re looking to get into lifting kettle bells but feel intimidated by the clinical nature and styling of most of the industry, it’s a great budget set to get you going and whet your appetite.
Users- even some skilled ones- do caution that the sharp edges on this stylish block can lead to extra painful bruising. Using it on a hard floor such as concrete may lead to damage on the kettle bell as it’s not the most robust kettle bell out there, but users praise its comfortable and large handle easily used by men and women alike, and the ease of changing weights.
It’s a solid steel construction and adds weight by means of cylinders, not plates. It’s a compact unit that’s easy to store, and only limited by the fact that you will max out the weights it can take eventually, at a relatively low 20 and 36 pounds depending on which model you own.
The smallest of the bells gets fair praise from beginners as a great way to embrace the kettle bell movement without being forced to upgrade immediately as your strength gains. Some users do report issues registering for the warranty, although no one particularly mentions needing to use it so this seems like an annoyance rather than an oversight.
It’s easy to swap in plates, but some users report rattling and some ares put off by the plastic parts that it comes with. It’s certainly not the easiest of the adjustable kettle bells on our list, and some are slightly worried by the plastic catch at the top of the bell, but it’s a budget kettle bell about which no one has anything awful to say, and while the early shapes it creates may be less traditional as far as center of gravity goes, it’s a decent enough offering for the learner and the budget buyer.
Users do report a more cumbersome routine for plate change than many of the smaller and more limited kettle bells, however, so there is a trade-off in ease of use. Users caution that this is not an ideal purchase for a beginner, as the shape is sometimes awkward and not instinctive compared to other kettle bells, and some moves cannot as easily be performed.
Performance Fitness systems offer a kettle bell that looks more teapot than gym equipment that users either like or loathe. The loud usage sounds may well just be an annoyance, but several users actually report the unit opening and weights dislodging during use.
It’s an attractive first time buy due to an excellent price point, but you’re losing out on some functionality and safety inherent in other, equally-budget kettle bells on this list . While overall, it’s not the most terrible of kettle bells available on the market, it’s also not anything to write home about and needs to be used with care and attention if you opt for this one due to its attractive price tag.
Russian, in this case, is simply a reference to the traditional style of the kettle bell, not it’s country of origin. Whilst no user took particular offense to the method of plate changing, a little felt that it was made unnecessarily complicated compared to other stack-and-go offerings.
Some mention a slight bite to the plate edges when they make body contact, but that is a feature of most adjustable kettle bells anyway. Users compliment the CFF for a sturdy design but do note that the handle attached via screws that need to be maintained and monitored.
Shaped less like the traditional Russian kettle bell and more like the monstrosity your great-grandma used to use to flatten your pants, the Titan looks like a grueling challenge. It offers a very attractive lifetime warranty and a sturdy steel design and can be taken to almost 60 pounds with ease.
Users report a good balance and ease of storage that makes this an attractive, if slightly expensive, combination. It’s a winner for the cramped home gym environment, and users repeatedly go as far as to call it one of the best adjustable kettle bells available on the market at present, so provided you can handle it, it’s a fabulous combo and a good investment.
It targets multiple facets of fitness training — cardio, strength, balance, endurance and agility. A dumbbell’s center of gravity is inside your hand, making it relatively easy to manipulate.
There’s a variety of swings- both single- and double-handed- presses, pulls and more you can perform with the kettle bell, all targeting different areas- some may require core engagement and stability, others power from the legs etc. It creates a holistic approach to exercise with mass incorporation of whole-body movements often lacking in strength training.
Some people simply don’t get on with the adjustable form of this nifty piece of sports equipment. Some trainers are firm advocates of instead investing in a single kettle bell weight that you will be able to make the most use of throughout the years.
Remember also that no kettle bell, fixed or adjustable, is for you if you have back and shoulder problems- or at the very least you should only be training in the presence of an instructor. Somewhat linked to the above, you also need to look at the weight increases available on each setting of the adjustable kettle bell, to make sure they suit you.
Try and avoid plastic wherever possible- the unit takes too much weight and too much of a pounding for this to be a wise material. Adjustable bells are also a great choice as your strength increases so you won’t have to invest in multiple tools and can still use it for different exercises.
You should be able to press the bell over your head with stability and total control but still, feel some resistance otherwise the weight isn’t heavy enough. Make sure the handle is wide enough that your fingers wrap within a couple of inches to your palm.
Since you’re using dynamic motion it’s easy to shift your weight wrong and damage muscles so your spine needs to remain in neutral position as much as possible. Lean your butt back as if you are about to sit on a chair and have your arms and hands follow but keep your head up.
When you finally put the kettle bell in motion you’ll want to use your hips a lot of so make sure your clothes are flexible or baggy. You want to try not to rest between exercises too much as this keeps the intensity high and you can do the routine several times to make it harder than your conditioning goes up or simply increase the weight.
This helps avoid injury and gives you a greater likelihood of completing the entire routine since you’ll only quit if it’s too difficult right off. The reason this workout is so effective is that it’s got a bit of everything and you’ll work every muscle group for a total body burn.
Kettle bell Walkthroughs — these work the muscles on the back of the body such as the glutes and hamstrings. Kettle bell Push Ups — There are two variations of the kettle bell push up one uses the bell as a handle so that your upper body is raised further and your shoulders have negative extension when you reach down to the floor, you can then vary this with one hand or by twisting the bell around as you raise/lower yourself.
This works the pecs, Delta, triceps, serrated, coracobrachialis and the abs altogether. Lean down and grab the bell with one hand then bend at the knee and bring it upwards with a hip thrust keeping the momentum to the body until it is at chest height in a rack position.
Start by laying on the ground with the bell at rack position, extend your arm fully then bend the corresponding knee with your foot on the floor. Sit up and place your other hand on the floor for support as you move forwards bending the other knee under you.
From this position stand, keeping your arm raised above with the bell the entire time. Alternating snatches are also a great full-body workout and these work the lower back, trapezium, triceps, shoulders, calves, glutes, and hamstrings.
Sit with your legs bent and your feet flat hold the bell with both hands at hip height to one side then raise it to your chest, twist your torso from left to right with your legs bent and feet raised. Farmers would use them during festivals as a show of strength which was then used for military purposes as part of army PT.
The original Handle focused solely on raw strength and power and is part of powerlifting training. Gregory is a more fluid style and is commonly used as a training regimen with a combination of strength and endurance.
The center of mass for a kettle bell sits directly under the handle which makes ballistic movements much easier and extends beyond the hand. It allows greater safety with swing moves and better grip in the wrist and arm for strength.
They have a unique shape that provides an unstable distribution of weight since the mass is concentrated at the bottom which helps make the workout more effective. They are also better for grip strength because the handle is thicker which in turn makes them more challenging holding.
They’re ideal for moves like a chest or shoulder press where you don’t need to be swinging the weight and in fact, doing so may cause injury.