This research has proven beyond a doubt that kettlebells are one of the best exercises you can do for weight loss. But that’s not all they’re good for. Keep reading to discover 15 more ways that working out with a kettlebell can benefit your body:
A Time Efficient Workout
Don’t have time to fit both cardio and strength training into your gym session? Invest in a kettlebell!
While many consider kettlebells to be purely a weight-based exercise, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has shown that kettlebell workouts can raise your heart rate enough to count as cardio!
When the researchers tested kettlebells versus a treadmill workout, they found that the two workouts had similar calorie burn and an oxygen uptake high enough to meet American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for aerobic fitness. What’s more, the participants had a higher heart rate during the kettlebell workout.
Being one of the few exercises that combine cardio and weights in one, kettlebells are perfect for those who are strapped for time.
Maximize Your Fat Burn
Cardiovascular activity is one of the best ways to burn fat, particularly belly fat. But strength training is said to be a more efficient way of burning fat because it continues even after you’ve stopped working out…something that doesn’t happen with cardio.
Thankfully, when it comes to kettlebells, you get the best of both worlds – strength and cardio. Because of this pairing, you’ll burn plenty of fat during a high intensity cardio workout, but continue to burn after too, due to the muscle gained in the weightlifting aspect of the routine.
In fact, it’s said that for every pound of muscle you gain your body burns around 50 calories per day. If you gain 10 pounds of muscle from your kettlebell workout, you could stand to burn up to 500 more calories per day than you did before you started swinging the bells!
Boost Your Energy
It seems counterintuitive, but working out is actually one of the best ways to boost energy naturally.
2012 research, carried out at the University of Georgia, found that sedentary but healthy adults who engaged in some form of light exercise for just 20 minutes three times a week enjoyed a 20% increase in energy. They also found they had a 65% decrease in their feelings of fatigue!
Next time you feel sluggish, drained and just plain exhausted, drag yourself off the sofa and try a quick 20 minute kettlebell session – you’re guaranteed to feel uplifted and energized afterwards!
Get Your Blood Flowing
Because our circulatory system requires bodily movement to function properly, exercise is one of the best ways to prevent, or improve upon, poor circulation.
Nothing gets the heart racing or the blood pumping like a good kettlebell workout! Once you get into ‘the swing of things’, you’ll soon notice any signs of poor circulation (like numbness, tingling or cold extremities) disappear.
Say Goodbye to Cellulite
Cellulite – that upsetting dimpled skin suffered by so many women – is mainly caused by poor circulation, which is why exercise should be one of the first methods you try to reduce its appearance.
After just a few weeks of regular kettlebell routines, you should begin to notice a reduction in the puckered texture of your skin. If you’re really lucky (and dedicated) you may be able to make the cellulite disappear completely!
Make sure to check out these other tips to rid your skin of cellulite.
Increase Flexibility & Prevent Injuries
Flexibility isn’t just important for gymnasts or the young! No matter what age you are, or what kind of lifestyle you lead, you should know that maintaining and encouraging flexibility is an important aspect of injury prevention. Because muscles, tendons and ligaments all become less elastic with age, it’s vital to try and maintain flexibility as best we can.
And, if you are mainly sedentary throughout the day then you should be even more concerned about staying limber.
A kettlebell workout will assist you in avoiding injury through the development of supple joints and muscles as, depending on the routine you choose, it can involve bending, stretching, thrusting, reaching, twisting, turning, jumping…and a whole lot more!
Stay Bone Healthy Into Old Age
Healthy bones aren’t just down to genetics. Our diets and lifestyles both play a big role in staving off conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Of all the beneficial lifestyle changes you can make for your bones, regular physical activity probably tops the list. Not just any exercise though – strength training is key, which is why weight bearing exercises like those carried out with a kettlebell help maintain good bones and joints.
For more tips to save your bones, check out this article.
Strengthen Your Core
Our body’s core, as it is known, consists of the muscles, bones, and joints that link our upper and lower body. Because we utilize our core every single day in the course of our normal activities (think lifting heavy bags of groceries or reaching to grab a glass from the top shelf) it’s vital we work out this muscle group regularly.
Several kettlebell movements are known to work the core muscles, including the swing, snatch, clean, jerk, squat and lunge.
After some core building sessions, you should notice a huge improvement in your strength levels, and enjoy greater ease when carrying out everyday tasks.
Walk Like a Model
Like most exercises, using kettlebells helps to improve posture as you need to learn how to properly perform the movement to avoid injury.
The hips, core, spine and shoulders all play a role in kettlebell form leaving you with a posture that is upright, extended and open. Once you’ve got it down to a tee, you’ll soon notice this new and improved stance carry through to your daily life.
Stay Mobile And Balanced
Kettlebells work several muscles at one, and ensure that your center of gravity is always shifting – from one move to the next and even within moves.
This kind of exercise trains the body to stay flexible, mobile and find balance more easily. Of course, stronger leg muscles, core strength, bones and supple joints all contribute to mobility and balance too.
A ‘Functional Exercise’
Kettlebells are a functional exercise, meaning they have benefits that reach beyond the doors of the gym.
When undertaken regularly, kettlebell routines have the ability to make real life tasks easier because they don’t focus on single muscles, but are designed to utilize several groups of muscles all at once.
Through kettlebell routines, you build muscle and improve flexibility, core strength, bone health and mobility – giving you a more efficient body for tasks like shopping, cleaning and gardening!
Better For Your Back
Plenty of exercises are high impact, and can have a negative effect on your back. Fortunately, it has been found that the kettlebell swing does not pose a threat to those with lower back issues, if done right.
A recent Danish study of middle-aged workers even found that working out with kettlebells significantly reduces back, neck, and shoulder pain by strengthening core and upper body muscles.
However, moves like deadlifts may exacerbate the condition. So if you wish to burn fat while strengthening your lower back, consider the humble kettlebell swing (but always consult your doctor first).
An Aid To Detox
A healthy lifestyle – including regular exercise, a balanced diet and plenty of water – is important to detox the body as it enables our organs to do exactly what they need to do to keep us healthy.
By swinging kettlebells regularly, you will sweat more, enjoy increased blood circulation and benefit from regular bowel movements – all of which help to efficiently remove waste from the body.
Kettlebells Are Inexpensive
You need very little to begin working out with a kettlebell. In addition to a little space and a knowledge of the correct techniques, all you need is the bell itself – which you can get for less than $10…a massive saving on overpriced gym memberships! Take a look here for a wonderful selection of kettlebells.
You Can Bring Your Kettlebell Anywhere
Compact and easily portable, kettlebells can be done in the garden, the park, the beach or anywhere else you want to work out making for a challenging and scenic fat burning routine.
Getting Started With Kettlebells
Need a kettlebell? You can buy them in various weights to suit your body type and strength here. And if you want to learn more about getting started with kettlebells, invest in Kathy Smith’s Kettlebell Solution Workout DVD.
Another great thing about kettlebells is that there are moves and routines out there to suit and challenge every level – from beginner to pro.
When you’re getting started, it’s best to get the basic move down first – the kettlebell swing – before moving on to more complicated exercises like the snatch, clean, figure of eight, high pull and windmill.
You can also perform some exercises you already know, like squats, lunges and deadlifts, with your newly acquired kettlebell.
How To Perform a Double-Handed Kettlebell Swing
When you’re embarking on any new form of exercise, it’s incredibly important that you get the form right. If not, you won’t enjoy the benefits of the exercise and you may even injure yourself.
While the kettlebell swing can seem complicated when starting out it’s well worth practicing to get it right from the get-go. Always remember to power the movement with your hips, maintain the natural arch of your back throughout the exercise and keep your core and abs strong.
This step-by-step video shows exactly how to perform a perfect kettlebell swing, while addressing common mistakes.
Remember, if you have any health issues or physical ailments like joint problems or back trouble, always speak with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.
Not ready to tackle kettlebells just yet? The simple squat might be more up your street – learn more about squats here.