Due to the design of kettle bells and the off-centre handle they demand more from your joint stability while at the same time enabling great holding and pressing positions. Kettle bells can be lifted either with one hand or two allowing for muscle imbalances to be corrected unlike when performing barbell exercises.
One excellent advantage of kettle bell training is the ability of the exercises to connect the upper and lower body together via the core muscles. Most traditional bodybuilding type exercises focus on isolating muscles groups whereas kettle bell training integrates the complete body.
The ultimate result of full body integration is a greater dependence on the core muscles with every exercise. You will therefore find that when using kettle bell exercises you are strengthening your core, abs and back muscles consistently and practically during every workout.
Developing good core integration through kettle bell training will also result in stronger and more efficient movement during sports and daily life with a reduced risk of injury. The Turkish get up is a typical example of how kettle bell training will improve your strength, mobility and core all in one fluid movement.
One of the worst consequences of sitting and desk bound work is the reduction in our joint mobility and ultimately chronic postural positions. Consistent kettle bell training over time will help restore your original mobility and prevent poor posture and tightness throughout the body.
Kettle bell training is also unique in that it focuses many of its exercises on the posterior chain or muscles running up the back of the body. Strengthening the posterior chain will help pull you upright and counterbalance all the forward bending that is so prevalent in daily life.
Fat loss is the main objective for many people starting kettle bell training and with good reason. Finally, kettle bell training is very dynamic and cardiovascular meaning you will elevate your heart rate quickly resulting in further calorie expenditure during each workout.
As mentioned earlier kettle bell training actives hundreds of muscles during every exercise so the consequence is a development of full body conditioning in less time. Unlike bodybuilding kettle bell athletes tend to have less bulk and bigger engines meaning they can move more efficiently.
You can improve your cardio, core, posture, muscles and strength along with preventing future injuries and burning fat. Farrah RE, Mayhew Jr, Koch AJ., “Oxygen cost of kettle bell swings”, J Strength Cold Res.
2010 Apr;24(4):1034-6Nick Belt, M.S., Dustin Series, M.S., John P. Forward, Ph.D., Ray Martinez, Ph.D., Scott Bernstein, M.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D., “Kettle bells Kick Butt”, funded by the American Council on Exercise Kenneth Jay, Dennis Frisco, Klaus Hansen, Bette K Zebus, Christ offer H Andersen, Ole S Mortensen and Lars L Andersen, Kettle bell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial”, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, Vol. 196-203Schnettler C, Forward JP, Foster C, Andes M., 2010. Kettlebells: Twice the results in half the time.ACE Fitness Matters pp 6-10. Mortara A, Michael A D, Kaitlyn E R. (2017) “A Review of Kettle bell Research and its Implications for Exercise Programming.” Res Invest Sports Med.
With a good diet and a sensible kettle bell training program you will start to see cardio, strength, muscle and fat loss improvements within 30 days. They will develop stronger muscle and bone density, safeguard daily movement patterns and increase flexibility.
5 years ago this month, I picked up my first kettle bell. I had been running for over a year, and still hadn’t seen the physique results that I was looking for.
Sure, I was about back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but didn’t have much muscle definition, and had extra fat around my middle. I was breastfeeding my daughter and thought maybe that was part of why I couldn’t lose the fat.
I came across Lauren Brook’s article Breastfeeding and Low Body Fat. My initial education in kettle bell training was from Lauren’s videos.
“Okay, Kristi J., time to suck it up and acknowledge what you’ve denied for so long. You just can’t eat whatever you want and expect to lose fat just because you’re ‘fairly active.’ The yoga and running just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
With Christmas money, I bought my first cute little 15lb kettle bell from Target. I started researching everything I could get my hands on about kettle bells and physique transformation.
The following year, I started teaching group classes and coaching one on one. I started using double kettle bells and doing some barbell work.
Since I picked up that baby kettle bell, my confidence has soared and I’ve never been happier with my body. Strength training and quality movement have given me back my body, my connection with my Self, and with my sensuality.
In honor of my 5 year kettle bell adversary, I’m putting together a program to help you do just that! And I’m working on another more extensive 6 month programs that will cover everything– movement, strength training, corrective work, manual therapy (massage), nutrition, and changing your negative mindset.
I have a confession to make: I have completely fallen in love with kettle bell training! It all started about five years ago while my husband, James, was fitness training at a local corporate gym.
With all those machines and weight training equipment, why on earth did he need kettle bells? It didn’t take me long to realize that we had made a good investment.
I continued to support James by accompanying him at kettle bell events and trainings, but the turning point came when I went with him to an IFF certification course, where I was fortunate enough to be allowed to participate in and learn from Steve Cotter. As we drove home, I told James I had decided I wanted to become a certified kettle bell instructor.
James, of course, was extremely supportive, coaching and encouraging me until I felt ready to take the next step. I prepared for the course, following course material instructions provided by Nico Either, and on January 12, 2013, I became a certified kettle bell instructor.
I must admit, next to the birth of my two sons and my wedding day, this has to be one of the most significant accomplishments in my life. As a way of background, let me explain that I never considered myself the “athletic type,” let alone dreaming of becoming someone that would actually train other people.
In fact, as a child, I suffered from several ailments, including rheumatic fever and pleurisy. Little did I know that as an adult, and in fact, in my middle age, my perspective on fitness would change so drastically.
I also find it quite amusing when I hear some respond by: oh yes, I’ve seen those “kettle balls” or worse “cow bells!” When you discover a treasure, you can either be selfish and hide it, or share it with as many people as possible and get an unlimited supply of rewards in return (I have chosen to do the latter).
My passion has become reaching out and motivating middle-aged women like myself, who have extremely busy lives, to make time for fitness. At first, most people are skeptical (like I was), but once I explain that due to their unique shape, kettle bells provide a time-saving, powerful, and effective strength, conditioning, balance, and flexibility workout, they are willing to give it a try.
My work situation improved, and my addiction to kettle bell training intensified. When I first learned the basic Kettle bell Two-Hand Swing, I was intrigued by how many muscle groups were involved in that simple, yet powerful movement.
I could feel my entire core, glute, arms, and leg muscles contracting and becoming stronger with each swing. Focus on the “mind-muscle connection.” Don’t just go through the motions; make sure you are consciously engaging the intended muscle groups as you perform each exercise.
Synchronizing breaths with kettle bell movements is something that takes practice, but well worth the effort. Have protein (preferably in liquid form) after your training for muscle recovery and growth.
Before heading out to my “regular job” at the Homeland Security Section of the Anaheim Fire Department, I now train one-on-one early in the mornings, and also hold two group kettle bell classes per week. Training others is extremely satisfying, especially seeing fellow middle-aged women discover that their bodies can do things they didn’t think they could.
I am encouraged beyond belief and completely convinced that kettle bells are what I need to continue doing. James eventually left the corporate gym world and founded Outbalance Fitness, which has proven to be the best decision (next to marrying me) he’s ever made.
Outbalance Fitness is all about using unconventional training methods; first and foremost kettle bells, but also sandbags, clubs, Tax suspension gear, and such. You’ll probably notice right away a difference with a kettle bell, as you feel your glutes engage to swing the asymmetric weight upward and your lungs burn with effort.
But how long it takes to notice a difference almost certainly pertains to improvements in functional strength, visible muscle and shedding body fat. While pros such as Henrik Westerberg of the Detroit Red Wings perform kettle bell work year-round to stay powerful, you’ll see noticeable improvements in a shorter time frame.
Sarah Lure, a certified Russian kettle bell instructor, concurs, telling “San Diego” magazine that you can see a smaller waist and sleeker muscles in three weeks. Visible muscle development or hypertrophy takes longer -- six to eight weeks, according to Morgan, depending on reps, sets and intervals.
Randolph notes that four to six weeks of swings, squats and snatches lead to greater strength, balance, coordination and cardio function. This stellar figure links to the fact that a snatch workout is done quickly and involves the total body, exercise researcher Chad Settler notes.
I resolved to work with the antique free weight, Soviet commando-style, in accordance with Pavel Tsatsouline’s Enter the Kettle bell. Originally it was supposed to be a six-week experiment, during which I’d see how much of a physical bodily change I could muster in that period.
As I neared the end of the six weeks I was assaulted by life itself, more specifically a badly-timed move, a badly-timed (but previously committed) trip to Ohio, and a badly-timed neck injury, all happening simultaneously, conspiring to put me out of commission for a good two weeks. Historically I am prone to quitting stuff and starting again whenever I run into trouble.
Now, the goal was to see what visible physical changes could be accomplished in such a short time with a simple kettle bell workout. Kettle bell work is very intense, and for that reason, my workouts were very short, averaging 8-12 minutes.
I have experienced some visible improvements in muscle definition and size (especially in my back, ) but the main difference has been in my strength, not my shape. When I was moving boxes into my apartment, I was struck by how easy it was to lift everything and carry it long distances without fatigue.
My posture has improved and my back is not sore after sitting at the computer all day. I handled my unexpected obstacles poorly, I let them get me off track for longer than I needed to be.
As I stated in my progress log, several times I skipped my normal after -work workout, reasoning that I could work out later. The problem was that after supper I naturally had less energy and did not feel up to giving my all.
Since I was always trying to do better than last time, I would push the workout to the next day rather than work to disappointing numbers. Towards the end I did lose much of my initial ferocity, and workouts started to become an obligation, rather than an opportunity to get stronger.
I’m thrilled at what they’ve done in such a short time, and can only imagine what will happen when ramp up the volume and add to my repertoire of lifts. My joints and back feel awesome, I don’t tire of anything nearly as easily.
If you’re looking for a way to work out that works in a short time, go buy a kettle bell, you won’t need a Bow flex or a treadmill or a gym membership. As a career procrastinator, I found myself choosing ‘later’ over ‘now’ when it didn’t really make sense to do so.
There was a lot of needless procrastination in this experiment, I wonder what my results would have been like if I’d been airtight with my commitment. “Work out at the earliest opportunity” is a sound mantra that will guide me in the future.
This was a pit-trap for me, as I got into the habit of deferring my workout whenever I didn’t feel up to topping my last totals. I’m pleased with and proud of my results, but they could have been much more substantial if I had been determined not to miss my workouts for lame reasons.
But I do need the accountability factor of posting my results online, so the experiment will continue. I’m eager to try my hand at some more advanced kettle bell movements, so I’m going to transition to the second program, the triumphantly-named Rite of Passage.
Desktop version Aptitude is an independent blog by David Cain. If you start using the kettle bells with a volume that is aligned with your current strength level and you are not doing it already you should see improvements in the addressed areas after doing it three times a week for a month, which equates to 12 sessions.
If your goal is weight loss or getting a chiseled physique the kettle bell is not the best weapon in your repertoire. Rather than spending time and effort on learning and executing a kettle bell routine, you are probably better off to brush up on your diet habits.
Again if you want to lose the most weight the quickest running is a better bet in my personal experience. When you want to enter the weight room and have the most plates on the barbell in a powerlifting meet, the kettle bell is a good companion for that, but not at the core of what you do.
The kettle bell will help you on mobility issues, building your core and lower back strength and explosiveness. For bodybuilding purposes, you might also want to look to dumbbells and pulleys to achieve your goal rather than the kettle bell.
Pumping it up for me always worked best with a solid bodybuilding template using dumbbells and curl movements which isolated specific muscle groups. If you only want to work out 20 minutes a day to be in shape and hate running, the Russian kettle bell is your compare.
A seasoned powerlifter, however, might be stuck on a 32 kg kettle bell for half a year until he or she can progress to the next level. You only have to exercise with kettle bells for a week under the guidance of the simple and sinister program to considerably improve your breathing for everything you do in the gym.
The breathing techniques taught in the book and easily applied during the exercises are worth their weight in gold. If you incorporate Cossack squats with a kettle bell it is likely that you will see improvements in your hip mobility after two weeks.
I experienced less back pain during my heavy squats (140 kg for reps) after switching from the Agile8 stretching concept to utilizing kettle bells for my dynamic warm up. What is true for my hip mobility also extended to my lower back pain as my entire movement patterns improved with kettle bells regularly.
After 90 days the results are remarkable for me as I progressed with considerably less pain and without using a lifting belt at same loads. My grip strength improved and my lower back does not give me as much grieve as it used to.
Gains which are remarkable and noticeable for others take place after 30 to 90 days of utilizing the new movement pattern.