I mentioned that Dan surprised me on my birthday earlier this month with several kettlebells. It might seem a strange gift to some, but for this fitness freak I was in heaven.
In fact, in just the 3 weeks since my birthday, we’ve added a few more to our collection.
When kettlebells first came out and were all the rage, I just turned my head away. I thought they were over priced dumbbells, unworthy of all the attention they were receiving.
However, I can be woman enough and say when I am wrong.
“I was wrong.”
I think that it’s important to clarify this…
Dumbbells and kettlebells should not be compared.
They are two very different instruments used for getting two very different workouts.
Just like barbells have their place, so do kettlebells.
If you’r goal is to get strong (period. The end.), studies show that barbells/dumbbells are the way to go.
This is because the load can be increased easier, the weight is distributed differently and you’re able to focus on a single (or a few) muscle group(s) per exercise.
On study carried out at California State University found that people who trained with “traditional” weights for 6-weeks increased their squat max by 14% (or an average of 18 pounds). The kettlebell lifters only saw a 4% increase.
I think that Jason Brown, a certified strength and conditioning coach explained it well when he recently said:
“If your goal was just to get strong, you don’t need kettlebells,” Brown says. “If your goal is to burn fat, increase power endurance, and get strong, then kettlebells are a great tool.”
What Are Kettlebells Used For?
For everything. Like Jason said, it you’re looking for more than just getting stronger then grab a kettlebell.
That means walking away from the traditional moves of squats and lunges to really unlock the power within that awkward shaped weight.
The Perfect Combination Of Cardio & Strength
Kettlebells were specifically designed to be used for high, fast reps. To dial in a little more, they were created to be swung, flung, and even thrown. With movements like these, you won’t help but to not only feel your muscles burn but your heart rate to increase too.
Kettlebells = Cardio + Strength training in one little ball of iron. No 4 sets of 6 reps here.
By doing such powerful, dynamic movements you’ll end up activating dozens of muscles instead of just a few (with dumbbells or barbells). And the more muscles you activate, the better your metabolism. You’ll burn more calories not only during the workout, but during recovery as well.
Time and time again, kettlebells have been highlighted for their ability to not only help their followers get stronger, but also leaner, faster, and more in shape.
Who Needs Yoga
I am only partly kidding here. I love yoga!
But I have learned that because of the large range of motion that many kettlebell exercises lead you through, there will also be an increase in flexibility. If you experience a tight back, shoulders, etc then it might do you some good to place the dumbbells back on their rack and change things up with kettlebells for a while.
The Core Truth
One of the things that both Dan and I have noticed since our kettlebell training is the amount of work our core is doing. When you’re only using one weight at a time, in one hand your core is working double time to keep you balanced.
By the end of a good workout, my obliques are burning like crazy. I don’t think I am a lone when it comes to loving core work. It might not deliver a 6-pack over night, but I get some satisfaction knowing that I am keeping my back healthy and perhaps working on my running at the same time.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing a lot of my favorite kettlebell exercises here on the blog as well as my Facebook page. So keep your eyes open! Can you tell I am really excited?
Update: Here are some great kettlebell exercises to get your started… fundamentals that don’t risk injury!
While I love traditional lifting, the kettlebells have added some much needed pizzaz to my workouts.
Have you ever done a kettlebell workout?
Favorite form of strength training?