The birth of competitive kettle bell lifting or Gregory sport ( ) is dated to 1885, with the founding of the “Circle for Amateur Athletics” ( ). Russian girl are traditionally measured in weight by Food, corresponding to 16.38 kilograms (36.1 lb).
The English term kettle bell has been in use since the early 20th century. Similar weights used in Classical Greece were the halter, comparable to the modern kettle bell in terms of movements.
Variants of the kettle bell include bags filled with sand, water, or steel shot. By their nature, typical kettle bell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength.
The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling or farm work. Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettle bell exercises involve large numbers of repetitions in the sport, and can also involve large reps in normal training.
Kettle bell exercises are in their nature holistic; therefore they work several muscles simultaneously and may be repeated continuously for several minutes or with short breaks. This combination makes the exercise partially aerobic and more similar to high-intensity interval training rather than to traditional weight lifting.
In a 2010 study, kettle bell enthusiasts performing a 20-minute snatch workout were measured to burn, on average, 13.6 calories/minute aerobically and 6.6 calories/minute anaerobically during the entire workout — “equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace”. When training with high repetitions, kettle bell progression should start out slowly to build muscle endurance, support the joints and prevent injury.
Like movements performed with any exercise tool, they can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems, or a weak core, when performed without proper education and progression. They can offer improved mobility, range of motion, agility, cardio vascular endurance, mental toughness and increased strength.
The following is a list of common exercises that are uniquely suited to the kettle bell for one reason or another. A kettle bell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank in a slow, controlled movement.
Keeping the arm holding the bell extended vertically, the athlete transitions from lying supine on the floor to standing, and back again. As with the other slow exercises (the windmill, get-up, and halo), this drill improves shoulder mobility and stabilization.
It starts lying on the ground with the kettle bell over the shoulder in a straight arm position, as in the top of a floor press, but with the other arm along the floor straight overhead. The trainee then gradually turns their body away from the kettle bell until they are lying partially on their front.
The kettle bell is held hanging in one arm and moved smoothly around the body, switching hands in front and behind. Also called a front leg pass, this is a backward lunge, circling the bell around the front leg, returning to the standing position, and repeating.
Like the slingshot, but the bell is swung forward until the arms are parallel to the ground. Starting with the bell in the rack, the bell is pushed away to the side slightly, the swung down to the other side in front of the body, and reversed back up into the rack.
A variation of the press where the other arm assists by pushing open palm against the ball. Stand on one leg and hold the kettle bell with the opposite arm.
By then lowering and raising the kettle bell you can work stabilization and power. A press utilizing a bent-leg windmill position to lift heavier weight than is otherwise possible.
One bell is rowed to the chest while maintaining the plank position, then returned to the ground and repeated with the other arm. Alternatively performed with a single kettle bell, one arm at a time.
This requires more control than an ordinary push up and results in a greater range of motion. Feet may be elevated to increase the difficulty, until the trainee is performing a handstand push-up on the kettle bells.
In any movement involving the rack or overhead position, the kettle bell can be held with the ball in an open palm (sometimes called the waiter hold) for a greater stabilization challenge, or for even more precise control and added grip challenge, the bottom-up hold, squeezing the kettle bell by the handle upside-down. Holding a single kettle bell in the rack position bottom-up with two hands (“by the horns”) makes for goblet exercise variants.
Conventional swing: The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell. Hang clean: The kettle bell is held in the rack position (resting on the forearm in the crook of the elbow, with the elbow against the chest), lowered to below the knees, and then thrust back up in to the rack.
The kettle bell is held in one hand, lowered to behind the knees via hip hinge, swung to an overhead position and held stable, before repeating the movement. Jerk: As a push press, but with two dips, for more leg assistance (as in the barbell clean and jerk) Thruster: A rack squat with a press at the top using momentum from the squat.
Pistol squat: A single-leg squat with one leg held straight in front parallel to the ground, holding the bell in the goblet or rack position. An easier variant for those with less hip mobility is to perform the squat parallel to a step or ledge, so that the foot of the free leg can dip beneath the pushing leg at the bottom.
Carry: Walking with the kettle bell held in various positions, such as suitcase, rack, goblet, or overhead. Row: While bent over anywhere from 45 degrees to parallel with the ground, the kettle bell is held hanging from a straight arm, pulled up to the hips or laterally, and lowered again.
Keeping the bell arm vertical, the upper body is bent to one side and rotated until the other hand is touching the floor. The single kettle bell version is called the suitcase walk.
These build grip strength while challenging your core, hips, back and traps. The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell.
The key to a good kettle bell swing is effectively thrusting the hips, not bending too much at the knees, and sending the weight forwards, as opposed to squatting the weight up, or lifting with the arms. The one-arm swing presents a significant anti-twisting challenge, and can be used with an alternating catch switching between arms.
Within those variations there are plenty more variations, some are, but not limited to: pace, movement, speed, power, grip, the direction of thumb, elbow flexion, knee flexion. The kettle bell has more than 25 grips that can be employed, to provide variety, challenge different muscles, increase or decrease complexity, and work on proprioception.
Competitive lifter (Greek) performing jerk with 32 kg kettle bells (rack position). Contemporary kettle bell training is represented basically by five styles. Hard style has its roots in powerlifting and Gj-rykarate training, particularly hobo undo concepts.
With emphasis on the “hard” component and borrowing the concept of time, the Hard style focuses on strength and power and duality of relaxation and tension. Gregory, sometimes referred to as the fluid style in comparison to the Hard style, represents the training regimen for the competitive sport of kettle bell lifting, focusing on strength endurance.
Juggling is a training style where the practitioner releases and catches the kettle bell with all manner of spins and flips around the body. Kettle bell training is extremely broad and caters to many goals, some being, but not limited to: mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and power.
The sport can be compared to what the CrossFit Games is to CrossFit, however, the sport has been much longer in existence, and is only recently gaining more popularity worldwide, with women participating as well. One such example being Valerie Wazowski, who at age 52, was the first US female lifter in the veteran age category to achieve Master of Sport in 24 kg Kettle bell Long Cycle.
^ , «» . « » “ ”, 22 August 2016 (with period photographs).
21 (1908), p. 505: “PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE USING SCHMIDT'S Celebrated 'MONARCH' DUMB-BELL, BAR BELL AND KETTLE BELL SYSTEM”; also spelled KETTLE-BELLS (with hyphen) in a 1910 advertisement for the “Automatic Exerciser”) ^ a b c Rathbone, Andy (2009-01-04). “The kettle bell way: Focused workouts mimic the movements of everyday activities”.
Blast Fat & Build Strength With Innovative Equipment!” Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 542-544 ^ a b Iv ill, Laura (2008-11-22).
“Exclusive ACE research examines the fitness benefits of kettle bells” (PDF). Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 125-127 ^ Kettle bell Swing Vs. High Pull”.
^ “The Kettle bell Clean, Stop Banging Your Wrists | The Complete Guide”. With home workouts becoming the new norm for many, adding variety to your equipment arsenal may be top of mind.
Although you don’t need tons of equipment to get results, a few key pieces can provide just what you need to kick things up a notch. They can be used in many of the same ways that dumbbells can, while also allowing for ease in dynamic movements like swings, cleans, and snatches.
We tapped Nicole Davis, an ACE -certified personal trainer, to identify 12 of the best kettle bells across all fitness levels and budgets. Anecdotal advice from real personal trainers user reviews handle, size, and overall quality brand reputation cost
Composition Top-quality kettle bells are cast from a single piece of iron, while others have handles that are welded to the body. Finish A durable paint that provides some texture on the grip is important when choosing a kettle bell.
Your budget You can spend anywhere from $20 to upward of $300 on a single kettle bell depending on its weight, construction, and quality. On the other hand, if you’re going to dive deep into kettle bell training and will be throwing around some heavier weight, it’s worth looking into more competition-style options.
The product’s shape and function All kettle bells will have a flat bottom to rest on the floor, but many also have flatfish sides to make certain movements, like an overhead press or Turkish getup, easier on your forearms. With an average five-star rating and more than 2,000 customer reviews on Amazon, this kettle bell is made of solid cast iron with a painted finish for a better grip.
Available in weights from 10 to 60 pounds, it’s fairly priced and would provide a fun pop of color — coordinated to its resistance — in your home gym. Weighing just about 1 pound, this grip is a compact solution for people who want the flexibility of some kettle bell exercises without investing in them.
When we’re able to travel again, this is a great option to bring along to hotel gyms for added variety in your workouts. This is an adjustable kettle bell bag you can fill with sand, emptying and refilling it for a portable option.
The sandbag’s handle is longer than a traditional kettle bell, which allows for a bit more movement, too. Although you can complete most exercises with this piece of equipment, reviewers warned against tosses, as the bag may not be durable enough.
Made of leather instead of cast iron, this soft kettle bell will definitely be easier on your flooring — a plus, especially when working out from home. Something else to keep in mind: It’s a bit larger than a more traditional kettle bell, so it won’t be a space saver.
The colorful neoprene coating on the Outfit series makes this solid cast iron kettlebellanother good option for working out at home. With what the company calls an ergonomic handle and a quality finish, this 36-kilogram (approximately 80-pound) kettle bell would be great for a seasoned exerciser looking to amp up their home gym arsenal.
This adjustable kettle bell offers six weights in one, allowing the user to select from 8, 12, 20, 25, 35, and 40 pounds with the turn of a dial. At a 40-pound max, this product would be good for beginners, but advanced exercisers might need a heavier option.
Made of a single piece of high-quality iron ore, each kettle bell has a matte black powder coat finish and is marked with a color strip for easy weight identification. Reebok’s 44-pound kettle bell is made from 100 percent cast iron with a wide handle design that’s ideal for both single- and double-handed grips.
When she’s not working out with her husband or chasing around her young daughter, she’s watching crime TV shows or making sourdough bread from scratch. This piece of Russian exercise equipment is a cast iron or steel cannonball with a handle attached to the top.
They can be thrown, juggled, moved, held, swung, pressed and manipulated in a hundred different ways to achieve maximum benefits. Initially used by farmers, kettle bells were used as part of different physical and conditioning training programs in the 20th century by the Soviet army.
Also, this magnificent piece of training equipment has been used in Russia and different parts of the world including Europe as for several sports competitions, with the practice dating back as far as 1940s. While dumbbells are properly balanced, a kettle bell ’s center of mass is extended beyond the hand, which means this equipment features uneven weight distribution.
The unique design of this equipment facilitates unstable force when it comes to handling. Some basic movements like the swing, the clean and jerk, the snatch and so on work the entire body all at once.
Naturally, this form of exercise involves lots of different muscles in the body simultaneously. Research has shown that the kettle bell is one of the best workout tools to lose weight and obtain a beautiful body.
The figures show that 20 minutes of working with kettle bell can be as effective as running 6 miles. The kettle bell can be great cardio, so you will definitely be improving your stamina and heart health.
Women don’t have to worry about being too muscular with the right sets of exercise movements. If you’re used to sitting in front of a computer all day being hunched over, a kettle bell can be just the right tool to help you improve your posterior chain and be more upright, extended and open.
Other benefits include maintaining proper balance and an increase in core strength. While kettle bells are known to be great for hip mobility and the lower back and legs, you should always keep in mind the risk of injury.
If you have had problems in your legs, hip and lower back, you would be better off avoiding more extreme kettle bell movements, such as jerk, swing, and so on. Remember, your goal is to stay on form while pushing yourself to the limit, not to be sidelined with injury.
Kettle bell workouts can be planned with different goals such as strength building, weight loss, cardio, and so on. Simply training won’t do you as much good without a complete diet and fitness regimen.
Unlike a treadmill or elliptical, kettle bells probably aren’t going to become an eyesore in the corner of your bedroom and still provide a few heart-pounding workouts. They’re more versatile than the same old hand weights, though, so you can create an exercise regime that’s tailored to your specific fitness goals.
Buying a kettle bell probably doesn’t seem that difficult, but many factors actually affect how well this equipment fits into your workout routine. Finding the right model means knowing what materials to look for, what type of handles best meet your needs, and the proper weight to give you the best workout.
There’s good reason why they’ve become such a popular workout tool in recent years. When you swing them, you can elevate your heart rate quickly and burn up to 20 calories per minute, which is often more than you’d do in a cardio class at the gym.
The workouts utilize smooth, swinging transitions so your shoulders, elbows, and knees don’t take as much of beating as they would with jump training. Kettle bells can be worked into a variety of exercise forms, too, so you can use them with strength and power training, as well as with traditional cardio workouts such as running.
You can easily stash your kettle bells in a closet or under the bed, and still get the same intense workout you’d get from a five-minute sprint. However, the vinyl coating is prone to cracking and peeling, and the weight of the kettle bells is often inaccurate because the iron beneath may contain holes that are filled with another material.
“One-piece cast kettle bells are more durable than two-piece assemblies, as the juncture between the ball and handle is solid and more resistant to cracking.” When the iron is cast for the kettle bells, a seam is left across the center of the handle’s underside.
Higher end brands will file down the seam to create a smooth, even surface. Inexpensive kettle bells often don’t have this seam removed, which leaves a sharp edge that can cut your skin when you grip the handle.
Some exercises may require placing both of your hands around the handle, so you don’t want the fit to be too tight or uncomfortable. While most kettle bells are made of cast-iron or vinyl-coated cast-iron, their handles are available in several types of finishes, including bare iron, enamel, powder coating, and vinyl.
Bare iron provides a good grip, so you don’t have to worry about the equipment flying out of your hands. Powder coating has an even rougher texture, so this type of finish is a good option if you find that your hands get very sweaty during workouts.
Vinyl handles are best avoided because they don’t offer a good grip and have a tendency to crack and peel. Once you’ve chosen a kettle bell with the material, construction, and handles that you prefer, the most important question to answer is what size to get.
If you want an extremely well-made kettle bell that’s comfortable to grip and will stand up to intense workouts, opt for a model that’s approximately $25 to $28. “Exercisers experience an average heart rate of 93% maximum during a kettle bell workout.”
While kettle bells can provide effective aerobic exercise during a workout, they also cause a prolonged anaerobic burn after you’ve completed your routine. A kettle bell workout usually burns approximately 20 calories per minute, which is the equivalent of running at a six-minute mile pace.
For exercise, the Shaolin Monks in China lifted large padlocks that were very similar to modern kettle bells. However, it’s a good idea to have kettle bells in a couple of different weights so you can scale your workout up or down, depending on your goals.
From a weight training perspective, kettle bells can target most of the major muscle groups. Depending on your routine, you can work out your back, shoulders, arms, abs, hips, glutes, obliques, and/or legs.
The frequency of your routine will depend on the intensity of your workout, so it’s a good idea to consult with a trainer or fitness expert for advice. In general, working out every other day is a good average intensity program for beginners.
Its wider handle makes it easier to grip with two hands (for the classic swing move), and its smoother finish is less likely to injure your skin over time. Dragon Door was the first company to popularize kettle bells in America, which is why the most other brands simply copy that shape down to the millimeter.
The Matrix Elite looks the same at first glance, but it features a slightly wider handle that won’t pinch your pinkies in two-handed positions. It’s also designed so that kettle bells of different weights will rest on the same place on your forearm, regardless of their size—this is preferred by advanced users for one-handed work.
Finally, we like that Kettle bells USA often has the Matrix Elite on sale for just a few dollars more than our budget pick. It also has a slightly wider base that makes it more stable to hold in a plank position—something that advanced users will appreciate.
If the goal is to learn kettle bell basics and use two-handed techniques, all of these bells are quite suitable, and being budget conscious (finding sales/free shipping) isn’t a bad route. We (Keira and I) have trained more than 800 clients in kettle bell techniques since 2008, and we’ve taught multiple instructor certifications in the US and abroad.
Kettle bell exercises combine cardiovascular and resistance training in one exercise—which means you’re improving conditioning (and burning fat) while building muscle. While they’ve been around since the early 18th century (the word first appears in a Russian dictionary from 1704), kettle bells have experienced a huge resurgence in the fitness industry in the past 10 years.
(Most recently, as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to work out at home, significant stock shortages have become the norm.) Their unique shape and functionality give them many of the strength-building benefits of dumbbells while also providing users with the opportunity to do kettle bell -specific drills that involve a lot of movement, like the swing.
The closed-loop handle of a kettle bell offers users a secure grip for movements with both hands. Dumbbells are better suited to doing squats, curls, bench press, cleans, and other exercises that have less kinetic motion.
That means you can fulfill all your workout needs with one simple tool that stows easily in a closet. One important caveat to this endorsement of kettle bell training is that proper technique makes all the difference between effective and beneficial use and potential injury.
You can also consult credible online tutorials, and many trainers will set up a Skype arrangement where you can send videos to them for feedback and coaching. My wife, master ROC trainer Keira Newton, has an awesome YouTube page with all kinds of tutorials/workouts for kettle bells.
In terms of credible resources on kettle bell techniques and workout ideas, here are a few great sources available digitally and/or in print: Dragon Door has the most resources in terms of kettle bell books and DVDs (at least in the “hard style” approach that I use) available.
Finally, Steve Cotter is a master practitioner/teacher of competition kettle bell lifting techniques. While many people recommend women starting with an 8-kilogram bell (about 16 pounds), I think that the two-handed lifts like squats and swings aren’t very well-served by that low weight.
If you want to start modestly, my suggestion would be to get the 13-pound version of our budget pick and then order a larger, higher quality bell once you feel comfortable. With these three, all kinds of single and double kettle bell work is easily achievable and scalable.
Both of these linked pieces reiterate my earlier point about seeking credible instruction before beginning an at-home regimen. Then there is the question about which kind of kettle bell you should buy: cast iron, competition, or adjustable.
Cast-iron bells are more comfortable for two-handed grip positions, which beginners should master before moving onto the more challenging one-handed exercises. It’s not worth paying extra unless you actually plan on competing—a slim minority of home kettle bell users.
Photo: Mark BixbyUnlike with dumbbells, adjustable kettle bells aren’t a good buy. A kettle bell should be capable of being thrown, dropped, and even juggled, so I would opt for single-forged metal that can stand up to a beating—and stay together in the process.
Also, a major frustration with adjustable kettle bells is that they don’t offer a wide enough weight range to make them ideal for many. As it turns out, there’s not a huge amount of difference between these things because most of them borrow their design from the Dragon Door ROC.
Dragon Door was the first US company to run kettle bell instructor certifications (taught by famed instructor Pavel Tsatsouline) and have mass distribution in the US (Dragon Door started selling these bells in 2001). Dragon Door bells achieved great acclaim, but their high price point (roughly $120 each after shipping and handling, the highest in our test) invited lots of competition from other companies.
CAP is another popular fitness company that makes a good bell at a lower price point. For example, this Yes4All bell is one of the most popular models on Amazon, but its large, flat face is hard on the wrists in one-handed positions.
Although much more rare, some companies compete by distinguishing their offerings from Dragon Door’s with different designs. Perform Better at one point implemented a screw-on rubber skid plate on the bottom of their bells, but later on scrapped it due to negative customer feedback.
Vinyl-covered bells were created to protect floor spaces in commercial gyms and homes, but more often, the vinyl is there to smooth over the defects of a cheaply cast bell, and they often get criticized for very uneven handles that cause hand pain and tearing. They were extremely uneven in terms of metal handle quality, had limited weight options, and they weren’t significantly cheaper than the budget options we ended up testing—you don’t even save money on shipping.
From left: Matrix Elite, CAP Cast Iron Competition, Rogue, Perform Better First Place, Dragon Door ROC. Photo: Anton BrkicOur testing group, which consisted of myself and five members of the high school varsity baseball team I coach, worked with all five bells at the beginner/intermediate level and did only two-handed moves (dead lifts, squats, presses, high pulls, and swings).
However, if a person is interested in exploring the full range of what kettle bell exercises have to offer (including the kettle bell snatch, which in lab testing has yielded a remarkable rate of burning 20.2 calories a minute over a 20-minute workout—the same rate of caloric burn as a 6-minute mile pace), a premium bell like the Matrix bell is definitely what they should opt for. A poorly produced handle can rip callouses off the hands during snatching, and this test is where the bells differentiated themselves.
In fact, I wouldn’t use the CAP or Rogue bells for high-rep snatching because they have coarse handles and some tackiness from the painted finish. If you order through the company’s website and have a problem, Kettle bells USA will “make it right, period!” by sending a replacement and taking care of return shipping fees.
Photo: Mark Blythe Matrix Elite kettle bell has a slightly different handle dimension and more distance from the ball part of the bell to the handle to create a larger opening for more comfortable two-handed positions. The Matrix bell clearly outclassed the competition for two-handed work, as the smooth, e-coated handle with a wider grip was consistently easy on the hands, even when doing high repetition sets of 20-plus kettle bell swings.
Even when the user advances to the one-handed moves, both two-handed swings and goblet squats should remain essential parts of a kettle bell program. Any flaws in a kettle bell will be exposed when you use just one hand, but the attention to detail in forging a smooth, seamless handle was clearly on display with this bell.
Besides the handle shape, the Matrix Elite (right) looks almost identical to the Dragon Door ROC, which costs anywhere from $30 to $50 more. Photo: Mark Bixby Another thing that sets the Matrix Elite apart from other kettle bells (including Kettle bells USA's own “classic” line) is the fact that it’s designed to have the same “rack” position (where the round part rests on your forearm) regardless of weight and size.
Most companies use standard molds repeatedly, and inevitably, residue from previous castings creates uneven surface textures like edges or gaps. Finally, Kettle bells USA showed awesome customer service throughout my process of testing.
If you're used to standard Dragon Door ROC kettle bells (or any of its many clones), the Matrix Elite's rack position might feel strange at first, since the ball part sits higher up on the forearm by comparison. If you see the bell offered at full price (with no discounted shipping), wait seven to 10 days, and you should find it available more cheaply.
If the Matrix Elite is unavailable, or if you just want a standard-shaped bell without the wider handle, the Perform Better First Place Kettle bell feels the same in use as the high-end Dragon Door, but costs about 25 percent less. In fact, its dimensions are identical except for the extra half inch of flat base diameter on the bottom of the Perform Better bell.
This means it performs identically, but is easier to hold in a push-up position for the sometimes-precarious renegade row —typically done with two kettle bells of the same size. Like the Dragon Door and Matrix Elite, the First Place has a smooth, seamless handle, few surface defects, and a high-quality finish.
While Perform Better wouldn’t divulge what process it uses, I noticed that it’s somewhere between a matte powder coat and a glossy e-coat. Reading user reviews (see here and here) that slam performs Better for having noticeable seams on the underside of the handle or other defects isn’t helpful considering the construction specs on their bells currently.
The bell I received from them was really well-made, and it showed no signs of being defective in build or user experience. I contacted Perform Better about this discrepancy, and company reps explained that among other small changes, they’d since switched to a gravity casting process, which creates a more uniform surface, as you recall.
It’s also worth noting that Perform Better frequently has sales on its kettle bells, and while it’s usually cheaper to buy Perform Better bells directly from the company, it's worth checking Amazon and Strongest before buying to find the best deal. If budget is your bottom line, then we’d recommend the CAP Cast Iron Competition Bell.
But unless you really need to save a few bucks, it’s worth investing in our top pick, since these things last forever. In fact, none of the five baseball player panelists said they would pay extra for any of the other bells for the basic routines they were testing with.
The powder-coated CAP (left) and Rogue (center) bells are rougher than the e-coated Dragon Door (right). Photo: Mark Blythe CAP bell has a powder-coated matte finish and a slightly gritty (though it’s evenly dispersed grit) handle to provide a good grip (though a bit on the coarser end of those we tested) and a flat bottom so it doesn’t rock when used for push-ups or rowing moves.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Dragon Door ROC Kettle bell should feel pretty good about itself. Unfortunately for Dragon Door, other companies have been able to duplicate its design at a comparable level of quality for a lot cheaper.
Interestingly, the Rogue bell has a 4.9-star rating on its website, with more than 100 reviews at the time of this guide's publication. Chad Settler, John Forward, Carl Foster, and Mark Andes, Kettle bells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?, ACE Fitness Matters
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. If you are wondering what kettle bell weight you should be using for which exercises then this is the article for you.
Although the answer to this question is relatively straight forward it is also important to consider your goals and what exercises you will be performing. You certainly don’t need a wide variety of weights in order to achieve your goals.
Let me show you how I use my current selection of kettle bell weights: I don’t use my 12 kg kettle bell very often, I could easily do without it but for male beginners or more advanced females it is necessary.
For me I use it for warm up exercises before starting a workout, practicing new movements, and exercises that don’t necessary need a kettle bell but help with counterbalance like the Pistol Squat. Watch a video of the kettle bell deck squat where I often use a 12 kg for counterbalance
For my goals of strength endurance and frequent workouts is a great weight for me. Many of my workouts include short flowing circuits that transition from one exercise to the next quickly, so I need a weight I can keep a hold of without putting it down.
The 16 kg is also great for warm up exercises where I don’t want to over challenge my system. Good Morning Halo Windmill Bottoms Up Cleans One Arm Swings Snatches High Pulls Overhead Squats and many more
Often I’ll perform a warm up circuit with the 16 kg and progress to this 20 kg kettle bell. I’ll also use the 20 kg weight for pre-warm ups for more strength based exercises before using the 24 kg kettle bell below.
There are other more challenging exercises including the: side lunge, single leg cleans and bottoms up presses that I prefer to use the 20 kg kettle bell for rather than a 24 kg. Snatches Single Arm Swings Single Leg Cleans Bottoms Up Presses Renegade Rows Side Lunges and other more challenging exercises
Watch the single leg kettle bell clean exercise that I usually perform with a 20 kg The 24 kg kettle bell tends to be my swinging weight and the one I use for the strong basics including: squats, cleans, presses, lunges, rows etc.
I also like to use the 24 kg kettle bell as my go-to weight for Turkish get ups, single leg dead lifts and snatches. However, this weight does not challenge be fully for swings and get ups so for these I go a little heavier.
Watch the kettle bell clean and press which is my usual 24 kg exercise Turkish Get Ups One and Two Handed Swings Overhead Push Press Dead lift Variations (single arm and single leg) Cleans
I’m strong through the Turkish get up, so I use the 32 kg kettle bell (2 Food KB) frequently for working my core and shoulder stabilizers. I also enjoy performing 60 second of cleans with the 32 kg kettle bell along with overhead push presses.
I don’t use two kettle bells together as often as one at a time but I do perform the following exercises: However, by using two kettle bells together you can overload your legs and save training time.
If I had to choose just one kettle bell it would be the 16 kg purely because I can make exercises more challenging without adding more weight. Beginner women buying a set of three kettle bells should choose:
It’s clear that kettle bells have become a staple training tool for the entire fitness industry. However, there are still some people, potentially yourself included, who are skeptical about whether they should incorporate kettle bells into their training plan.
All-In-One Total Body Conditioning Tool Kettle bells can be used for strength, endurance, flexibility and balance training…the four main aspects of fitness. In a fast-paced complex world, the ability to do total body conditioning with one tool is a nice change of pace.
In fact, we’d go out on a limb and say kettle bells are one of the best tools in existence for truly effective, result-achieving, safe, full-body conditioning. Ballistic training works on explosive power through maximizing acceleration and minimizing deceleration.
These explosive movements stimulate the abdominal muscles tremendously well. They require core contraction and coordinated breathing as the movements are intense.
Second, kettle bell movements are multi planar, so you will be working your core from all directions. When moving the kettle bell around on one side, you will be working your core stability and strength big time.
Athletes need core power to explode through opponents, quickly change/move in multiple directions without risking injury (twisting, turning, accelerating/decelerating), and handle loads and pressure from one side while remaining upright (think a running back taking a hit on one side during a play). Kettle bell training offers a dynamic way to accomplish these important physical capabilities.
Remember, your core generates and controls force, so having a powerful trunk is essential to kicking ass at life. Enhances Body Awareness & Coordination Kettle bell movements are very dynamic.
This focus and mind to muscle connection will develop, leading you to improved proprioception (coordination; the sense of movement of the body and its parts). This is very different from conventional training with barbells or machines because the movements are linear and less dynamic.
It’s very important to develop your sense of movement (aka proprioception or kinesthetic). This ability will carry over into improvements in your fitness and life, and it’s certainly a very important aspect of athleticism.
Improves Balance & Stabilizer Muscles When training with machines, you are producing force and moving in a predetermined path. This requires you to double down on strengthening the stabilizer muscles for each particular movement.
Having strong stabilizer muscles in all ranges of movement, coupled with increased core power as we discussed in one of the benefits of kettle bells above, means your balance will be exceptional. Serious Fat-Burning Workouts Kettle bells offer crazy calorie-burning potential, which means FAT LOSS.
ACE did a study that showed swinging a kettle bell burns as many as 20 calories per minute. What’s more, kettle bell training for losing fat is often high intensity, so you have the after-burn effect as well.
For those who don't know, this means you will be burning calories at a higher rate long after your workout has finished. If you are looking to burn calories in a short space of time, a lightweight kettle bell HIIT or metabolic workout (low weight, high rep, high intensity based workouts) will do the job incredibly well.
In fact, many think it is more effective than steady-state cardio for burning fat, boosting metabolism, muscular endurance, and improving cardiovascular health. The key is to maintain a high heart rate for the entire workout.
As mentioned in the benefit above, kettle bell cardio training induces Epic, which means you will be burning fat long after your workout is completed. So, if your goal is to have long-distance endurance, for say a marathon, don’t stop doing your typical cardio.
Moreover, kettle bell cardio workouts are not as boring (sorry runners) as running on a treadmill is, so that’s another plus. The benefits of kettle bell swings are that they train the hips to produce force in both strength and speed.
The reason hip strength is so important is because it ensures stability and helps prevent injuries. Also, the hips play a very important role in many athletic movements, such as jumping, sprinting and coming out of a sports stance explosively.
Knowing how to maximize hip force is essential in power and speed sports. Naturally, you will be improving your mobility by slowly increasing your limits.
When it comes to sports and the real world, this is crucial as it will decrease the chance of injury in your joints, ligaments, and muscles. They have lean muscle mass, not big bulky bodybuilding type bodies.
Kettle bells can build dense muscle, which is achieved by higher repetitions and shorter yet intense workouts. Note: if you are new to fitness, you will surely be able to put on some serious muscle mass with kettle bells if you know what you are doing.
Exercises like the Kettle bell Swings are ballistic movements done from a hinge position, which will make your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, middle back, and traps exceptionally powerful. This translates to jumping higher, running faster, and kicking harder.
By regularly doing kettle bell workouts, you will rapidly develop the major muscles of your hips, core, shoulders, and neck too...and these are all vital aspects of having good posture and a strong backside. Well, many people in the mainstream fitness world don’t think grip strength is that important.
Plus, having a strong grip is a primal feature that naturally makes us appear powerful to others. Anyway, this isn’t about why grip strength is important, we’ve done a whole article on that which you can read:
If you do kettle bell workouts consistently, you will develop supremely powerful grip strength. Kettle bells have an offset center of gravity, usually about 6 to 8 inches away from your grip on the handle, so it is harder to control.
This is going to make your forearms, wrists and fingers work overtime as you try to control the kettle bell during exercises. Kettle bells are definitely one of the best tools for building vice-like grip strength, as are steel maces too…
You may notice that you lack mobility in the overhead position or that your right side is stronger than your left. When you notice this, you can easily target specific areas and perform movements that will help you even things out.
It is said that kettle bells get you comfortable in uncomfortable positions, and this is very true for those who have been training with barbells and machines for a long time. Low Risk, High Reward (Safer and More Effective) Kettle bell training is generally safer than traditional lifts like heavy barbell squats, dead lifts and bench press.
In the end, both heavyweight lifts and intense kettle bell workouts are effective. However, the risk to reward ratio is far better with kettle bells than heavy barbell lifts.
Moreover, dynamic kettle bell routines will improve joint flexibility and mobility, as we have already mentioned above. As you develop more elasticity in the tendons and ligaments of your joints, you will become more resilient to injury.
What’s more, lightweight kettle bell exercises can help to reduce inflammation and swelling. So, if long term joint health is important to you, which it should be for all of us, you should definitely take on kettle bell training.
Simplifies Your Training You don’t need tons of equipment or to overcomplicate your workouts for them to be effective. So, if you are overwhelmed with all the equipment out there, simplify your life by attacking kettle bell training.
If you want to have a little more versatility in terms of your training tools, we’d add steel maces, resistance bands, and potentially a suspension trainer into the mix. Compact and Portable You really only need one or two kettle bells to get a killer full body workout in.
If you are looking for home gym equipment that will truly train you for strength, endurance, balance and flexibility (the 4 key components of fitness) then kettle bells are the most cost-effective, space-saving option. Instead of getting a squat rack, barbell, weighted plates, dumbbells, a bench, etc., all you really need is a set of kettle bells.
You could leave them in your living room or garage without cluttering it, which is definitely not possible with a conventional gym set up. Comparing to simply moving through the motions with machines and typical conventional training, kettle bell exercises require you to be more mindful.
Lastly, but most importantly, kettle bell training methods are extremely versatile. The best way to keep your body guessing is by throwing new methods of training at it, and when it comes to kettle bells, the options are extensive.
They can be implemented into your current training program as a supplemental tool for achieving specific goals and changes in physique and performance, AND, kettle bells can be used as the main training tool, basing an entire fitness program around them. Individuals with back injuries who don’t want to put a lot of stress on their spine (i.e. barbell squats/dead) but still want to train for strength and muscle growth.
The kettle bell swing is a tremendously effective exercise for building serious hip power. This movement will burn fat, build lower body strength and powerful glutes, and improve your mobility.
It’s a total body juggernaut of a movement and it is very simple to learn and do with proper form. The Turkish Get Up is a slow, deliberate exercise that’s extremely effective for building impressive trunk and hip strength, mobility, and strong resilient shoulders.
The Kettle bell Clean & Press is one of the best full body, compound movements without a doubt. This movement is very physically demanding and technical but it’s worth learning as it is outstanding for total body strength and conditioning.
If you want to build explosive strength, especially in the hips, and strong, powerful shoulders, this is the movement. In any case, it’s best to keep your body guessing, so switch it up from single to doubles.
How to Create the Perfect Budget & Space Friendly Home Gym November 26, 2021 The kettle bell halo is also a great strengthening exercise for seniors to use for the shoulders.
Keep the elbows tucked in and nice and close to the body all the way around the head. Ensure that the kettle bell stays as close to the base of the neck as possible.
The closer you can keep the kettle bell to your neck the more you will work on improving your shoulder mobility. The halo especially works your shoulders, triceps, and upper back and is a great mobility warm up exercise.
You can use the Kettle bell Halo as a simple warm up exercise before starting your kettle bell workout or as an active recovery movement in between exercises.