The momentum of many kettle bell movements (a big no-no in traditional strength training), creates centrifugal force, focusing more attention on the muscles used for deceleration and stabilization. Dumbbells are great for building muscle and strength with slow, controlled movements while kettle bell training involves the entire body and focuses on endurance, power and dynamic movements.
The American Council on Exercise commissioned a study to find out just how effective kettle bell training is. After eight weeks of kettle bell exercises, researchers saw significant improvement in endurance, balance, and core strength.
You need to have a very strong foundation before testing your balance and core strength with a heavy weight. However, you can use a kettle bell like a dumbbell for static exercises like dead lifts, rows or squats.
Many of the swinging movements may be unfamiliar and a professional can help with your form and in choosing your weights. Very well Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Additional Reading Kettle bell Swing, Snatch, and Bottoms-Up Carry: Back and... : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
Jay K, Frisco D, Hansen K, et al. Kettle bell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial. When I decided to explore an intense-style class like kettle bells, I wondered if I would be able to hold my own with people used to lifting and swinging large balls of iron with relative ease.
With Russian roots dating back to the early 1700s, kettle bells are cast iron weights that resemble a cannonball with a handle. I really enjoyed her teaching style, as she kept the class challenging, yet also focused heavily on technique, safety and quality of movement, all of which are imperative when training with kettle bells.
After spending time performing a dynamic warm-up, we learned the proper mechanics of four key moves that were later combined to form a fun yet challenging sequence. The exercises, which included alternating one-arm swings, clean, squats and shoulder presses, challenged just about every major muscle and worked up one serious sweat.
This class got my heart rate up and challenged my entire body in a way that was much different from my normal resistance training routine. From strengthening the key muscles of the lower body (glutes, hamstrings and quads) to challenging the muscles of the core and upper body (back, shoulders, forearms, triceps and biceps), kettle bells truly are a highly effective training tool for improving total-body strength.
Also, because of the high-intensity nature of this style of training, it serves as a great option for boosting your cardiorespiratory fitness as well, which means you get quite a good bang for your buck. The studio also offers semi-private and private training sessions, other great options for honing in on form and proper execution of each exercise.
Technique is key when it comes to kettle bell training, and mastering proper form takes both practice and quality instruction. In fact, I've even starting integrating kettle bells into my regular strength workouts using some exercises we practiced in class.
A class can teach you the right form, help you know which kettle bell to buy, and let you know if you’re ready for one or not. A good instructor will work you slowly in the beginning so that you warm up your body before you get to the more intense moves.
Some classes purport to burn as much as 1200 calories in an hour, so that should give you some insight into the intensity you can reach. The instructor is there to ensure that no one gets injured, and form is an important way to avoid injury.
You’ll learn some basic exercises after the warm-up, which will be used throughout the entire workout as you follow along with the instructor. When you’re done, you’re going to be amazed at what a total body workout using the kettle bell can become if you do the right moves.
If you made it through your first class, don’t stop; you’re on the path to exercise greatness. While it can be very challenging and not everyone can do it from day one due to lack of core strength, everyone can work toward doing it.
As with any fitness class, you’re going to find instructors who suit your needs, those that are too advanced, and some who fall behind what your body is capable of handling. This type of class will show you the proper form in handling kettle bells and the right way to pick up the equipment and maneuver it to prevent injury and maximize your workout.
There’s usually not a lot of talking in these types of fitness classes because the repetition and speed of the training means everyone is concentrating on his or her own workout and paying attention to their form. This will prevent you from getting drenched, but it can also help you maintain control over the kettle bell, since sweaty hands could send the equipment flying through the air if you lose your grip.
Other classes will provide a set of kettle bells for each person in attendance, so that you can choose the weight that’s right for you. Many local classes keep their groups small in nature so that more personal attention is given to every participant.
There are also specific kettle bell classes for rehabilitation, if you’ve been injured and need to use this form of exercise to help rebuild your strength and fitness stamina. There are even classes created for tactical career individuals, such as police, military and firefighters.
The number one why kettle bell fitness is hot is because weight loss continues to be an issue many people around the globe are striving for. Many kettle bell classes will have a primary focus of fat loss and conditioning, so the training is fast-paced and geared toward those who want to sweat a lot and see results faster.
Because the training is so intense, and usually includes a total body workout, you get more results with a shorter period of time. This allows busy parents to work in their routine during the day in short bursts, rather than having to carve out a full hour to get the fitness benefits they desire.