They have an odd center of gravity that requires you to recruit your stabilizing muscles to do traditional exercise moves. They’re a great piece of workout equipment to use to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
One study found that during a twenty-minute kettle bell workout, participants were burning about 20 calories a minute. Kettle bells are a great investment for your home gym because they give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Many of the workout moves allow you to be stationary on a mat or in a small section of your home that allows for movements like swings, squats and overhead presses while lunging. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of exercises that you can perform using a kettle bell.
As you squeeze your glutes and straighten both legs to stand, use the momentum to swing the kettle bell out in front of you. With this simple exercise, you're working your entire backside and core, while also getting your heart rate up.
Kettle bells do provide a better cardio workout because of the swinging action and extra movement involved in the exercises. Kettle bell exercises also activate all the muscles in the back of the body in a way that dumbbells do not.
Plus, since the weight isn’t balanced like a dumbbell, your body needs to work harder to stabilize your core because the center of gravity constantly changes. Stephanie Man sour is health and fitness expert, certified personal trainer, yoga and Pilates instructor and weight-loss coach for women.
If you've been doing the same workouts, kettle bell training can breathe new life into your exercise routine. The kettle bell originated in Russia and was popular in the U.S. decades ago, but has hit a resurgence in the last few years with a flurry of classes, videos, and books.
Kettle bells offer a different kind of training using dynamic moves targeting almost every aspect of fitness—endurance, strength, balance, agility and cardio endurance. The idea is to hold the kettle bell in one or both hands and go through a variety of exercises like the two arm swing, the snatch, the loaded carry, and the high pull.
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.
The greatest improvement was in the core where strength increased a whopping 70 percent. It's time efficient — You train multiple fitness components in the same session including cardio, strength, balance, stability, power, and endurance The exercises are functional and weight-bearing which helps increase bone density and keep the body strong for daily tasks.
Improved back pain — One interesting study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that kettle bell training offered some unique loading patterns we don't see with traditional strength training. Simplicity — the exercises are simple, the workouts are straightforward and you only need one piece of equipment, although you may need a variety of weights.
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.
It's very easy to hurt your back if you don't use good technique, so get some guidance from an expert and start with a lighter weight, Risk of injury — The real injury risk often comes from doing the moves wrong rather than the exercises themselves. If you're interested in getting started with kettle bell training, it's best to take a class or get some guidance from an experienced instructor to get detailed breakdowns of the exercises.
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. A 16-kilogram (35 lb) “competition kettle bell” Arthur Saxon with a kettle bell, cover of The Text Book of Weight-Lifting (1910)The Russian girl (, plural girl) was a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops in the 18th century.
They began to be used for recreational and competition strength athletics in Russia and Europe in the late 19th century. 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). 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.
Renegade row: Also called a plank row, the trainee starts in the plank position holding the handles of two grounded kettle bells. 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. Squat: The basic squat is performed holding one or more kettle bells in the rack position, or a single a bell in the goblet position, which can help develop hip mobility by using the elbows to push the knees out at the bottom of 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).
“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”.
The workout gets your heart pumping and uses up to 20 calories per minute: about as much as running a 6-minute mile. Buy a DVD or sign up for a kettle bell class at the gym to learn how to do the moves safely.
It won’t take long to understand why celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Hall are huge fans of kettle bell workouts. You’ll work up a sweat doing a series of fast-paced cardio and strength-training moves like kettle bell swings, lunges, shoulder presses, and push-ups.
Most kettle bell workouts include squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that work your abs and other core muscles. The kettle bell is used as a weight for arm exercises like single-arm rows and shoulder presses.
Lunges and squats are among the most popular moves in a kettle bell workout. Your tush will be toned by using the kettle bell for added weight during lunges and squats.
Using a kettle bell for a dead lift helps tone your back muscles. The kettle bell is an effective weight that will build muscle strength.
You may want to buy DVDs or sign up for classes to learn the basics of a kettle bell workout. Yes, if you take a class or pick a DVD that's for beginners and use a lighter kettle bell.
Depending on the program, you may be getting both your strength training and your aerobic workout at the same time. If you choose a kettle bell that is too heavy or if you have poor form, you are likely to lose control of it.
Start out with an experienced trainer who can correct your technique before you hurt something. Adding a kettle bell to your existing workout is great if you want to burn more calories in less time.
This type of high-intensity workout is not for you if you would rather do a more meditative approach to body sculpting, or if sweating isn’t your thing. With your doctor’s OK, you can include kettle bells in your fitness routine if you have diabetes.
Muscle burns energy more efficiently, so your blood sugar levels will go down. Depending on the workout, you may also get some cardio to help prevent heart disease.
Using kettle bells in your workout puts some serious demands on your hips and back, as well as your knees, neck, and shoulders. If you have arthritis or pain in your knees or back, then look for a less risky strength-training program.
If you have other physical limitations, ask an experienced instructor for advice on how to modify your workout. If you worked out with kettle bells before becoming pregnant and are not having any problems with your pregnancy, then you will likely be able to continue using them -- at least for a while.
Talk to your instructor and your doctor; they might suggest switching out your kettle bells during your last trimester. Sources American Council on Exercise: “Exclusive ACE research examines the benefits of kettle bells.”
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What if I told you there was an exercise modality that was so efficient that you would reap faster gains in far less time than more traditional methods? I would then tell you that you would no longer need to spend time doing separate strength and cardio sessions because it would be all encompassed in this one workout.
Next I would tell you that you would improve your balance, power, coordination and flexibility while building amazing core strength, blasting fat and seeing beautiful muscle tone. Author, Pamela Micks Will Show Youth Many Benefits Of Kettle bell Training.
When I am recruiting people to try kettle bells, they often balk at first, telling me they are not into the latest fitness “gimmicks”. This is a shame because what is often seen as a “gimmick” is actually an amazing and efficient training tool that will challenge the beginning exerciser as well as the seasoned bodybuilder.
As anyone who is serious about their workout knows, variety is essential to truly challenge your body and keep making gains. This design makes kettle bells different from training with dumbbells because the weight of a kettle bell is not distributed evenly, thus creating the need to counterbalance and stabilize during your workout (Aha ... core strength!
Not only is it a great workout, but the methods used with it make women feel empowered! The most common feedback I get from women while using the kettle bell is that it is a great workout, that it's so much fun, and that they feel strong and empowered!
Additionally, working out with a kettle bell guarantees to get your heart pumping which translates into aerobic and metabolic benefits. With rest breaks and the increase in heart rate, it's like getting a cardio interval workout while lifting and gaining strength.
Kettle bells are great for men and women, overweight or skinny. If you are overweight, you will melt fat by burning tons of calories.
The kettle bell is an amazing tool for obtaining your ideal body composition no matter which way it needs to go. As a personal fitness trainer, I have yet to find any client who has not benefited from the kettle bell and seen rapid improvements.
I Have Yet To Find A Client Thomas Not Benefited From Kettle bell Training. Millions of people spend tons of money on gym equipment that ends up being a fancy clothes hanger.
Best of all, the power involved in using kettle bells makes them fun and addicting. Don't feel like being cooped up inside or in the gym on a pretty day?
Since I am a woman, the trouble I have when introducing men to the kettle bell is that they think it is a tool just for women. Granted, an experienced bodybuilder could easily start heavier, but my point is that you can't underestimate the power of the kettle bell.
The following is a sample kettle bell workout that will be sure to get your body swimsuit ready in record time this summer: Never start lifting heavy weight without warming up your muscles.
I know you'll want to kill me after that last one, but luckily I can probably run faster than you by the time you've finished this routine! So if you have been wanting to start an exercise program or are tired of spending so much of your precious time doing workouts, I challenge you to give kettle bells a try!
Get in touch with a qualified instructor to teach you proper form and give expert guidance. Author Contact: Pamela Micks is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer specializing in Kettle bell classes and In-Home Personal Training in the Dallas, Texas Retroflex.
She also offers Online Training for clients living outside her traveling area. Kettle bells, which look like cannonballs with handles, have become a popular strength training alternative to traditional barbells, dumbbells, and resistance machines.
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. 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. Engage your abdominal muscles and set your shoulders back.
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.
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. Hold a kettle bell by the handle so that it rests against the outside part of your shoulder.
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. If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises.
Kettle bells tend to swing, so get used to the feel and movement in your hands before using one. 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. Think fitness devices like cable machines, boxes for jumps and even some free weights, specifically kettle bells.
To me, kettle bells always seemed too clunky and heavy and I couldn’t fathom how to stash them in my living room — my workout area — in a way that would be both stylish enough and functional enough for my preferences. All that aside, kettle bell workouts also just didn’t seem necessary since I have dumbbells and resistance bands to cover lots of fitness routines.
However, given the inherent difficulty of attending gyms right now with a face mask and the potential risk of exposure, I decided to shake things up and took the plunge: I ordered a kettle bell. If you’re likewise looking for the best kettle bells to buy, you’ll quickly find lots of options and some might seem very similar to others.
I’ve found a lot of value in even basic exercises, which challenged my body in gym-worthy ways, an especially significant value in workout gear as we head into winter. Other fitness pros I talked to had predictably different takes on the best approach to equipping your home gym with kettle bells.
Peter Bahia, director of personal training at Athletic Development and Performance Training, told me he realizes a kettle bell can be a substantial investment for some, but still considers it a unique piece of equipment that can build functional strength and improve range of motion — both worthwhile endeavors in the work from home reality many of us face. It’s easy to use and ultimately gives you unrivaled flexibility with what weight size you want in your kettle bell given you have the appropriate dumbbells to match with it.
Heidi Pocono, a personal trainer and manager of training at GYMGUYZ, recommends a vinyl coated cast iron kettle bell. “This is my go-to piece of equipment, no matter where I’m training,” Pocono said, noting the “comfortable” cast iron handle glides smoothly in her hand whether she’s performing a kettle bell swing, snatch or a windmill.
“The vinyl coating is great when putting it on the floor, but is also comfortable when holding it bell -side up.” Former gym owner and personal trainer Alicia McKenzie said that a kettle bell is always one of the first pieces of equipment she recommends for anyone attempting to start a home gym — it took me more than eight months of in-home workouts to find the motivation to test a kettle bell.
Are you worried about bringing such a heavy piece of equipment into your home and the associated risk of denting your floors? “It is durable, can withstand general wear and tear — but most importantly, it isn't going to damage your home or hurt (as much) if you slam it into your foot.” The handle on this kettle bell is relatively large, too, which gives you plenty of grip space for two-handed movements like a kettle bell swing.
Kettle bells challenge your balance because they change your center of gravity, turning regular exercises like lunges and squats difficult.