If you’re a regular gym-goer, you know what a Kettlbell looks like:a circle-shaped cast-iron ball donning a handle big enough to accommodate two hands. Even though they've been around since the 19th century, these primitive looking weights have gained superstar popularity in the last ten years.
Not Just a Boy’s Toy
Up until recent years, Kettlebells were rarely spotted outside of the sweaty confines of bare bones gym fully loaded with huge men in ripped t-shirts clapping their hands together to see who could make the bigger cloud of chalk dust. Today Kettlebells can be found in every color of the rainbow at fitness facilities everywhere. With a broad and manageable spectrum of weights starting as low as five pounds, more and more people, particularly women, are finding a great way to shape their bodies through these iron-clad balls.
So where is the benefit?
1. They’re a “Whole Body” Workout
Kettlebell exercises are performed by gripping the handle (with one or two hands) and forcefully swinging the object in different ways. The type of swinging motion combined with the additional weight of the Kettlebell puts your body through an intense workout in a short period of time. Traditional strength training typically uses one muscle or muscle group, Kettlebells, however, engage muscles throughout the body, making it a “whole body workout” that can be customized for men and women at any fitness level. What’s more, many Kettlebell workouts really work the heart rate up, chipping in “cardio” time as well. Using Kettlbells works all the big muscles of the body.
2. They’re a Metabolism Booster
One area both men and women hone in on during a workout is losing fat and boosting metabolism. Kettlebells are a great tool to use to fire up the body’s furnace by building more muscle, thus boosting metabolism – thereby burning more fat! Think of Kettlebells as a lean body tissue builder. Your body keeps working long after your workout is over.
3. They’re Functional to Life
Many strength training exercises done with machines work muscles in a way that aren’t typically used in a normal way throughout the day. These “non-functional” movements can cause problems as muscle doesn’t develop in a way that is consistent with daily movements. Kettlebells work the body in a way that helps with everyday encounters (bending, reaching, turning, and lunging). Using Kettlebells, your body moves the way it would outside of the gym. Strengthening your body in a way you naturally move means fewer "lifestyle-related" injuries.
**Like any exercise, if you don’t have proper guidance or a good base, Kettlebells can do more harm than good. If you’re interested in incorporating Kettlebells into your workout, take the time to get advice from a trainer certified in Kettlbell instruction.**
If you’re looking for resources for a home workout, take a look online. Popular Kettlebell DVDs include The Kettlebell Goddess Workout and From Russia with Tough Love, which give the basics (and a great workout) when it comes to Kettlebell use.