Top 10 Reasons To Grab A Kettlebell And Swing

by TaylorR

Guess what… right now there is a really good chance that I am flying the friendly skies. We’re headed to {hopefully} sunny California… San Francisco here we come!

Neither Dan or I have ever been to California, so we’re pretty ecstatic about this trip. Not just about seeing the west coast, but also because we’re going to get kettlebell certified.

This has been a goal of ours for quite a while so to be following through and taking action to make it happen feels amazing.

When I tell people the reason for our trip, I have been met with a lot of questions.

What are kettlebells and what on earth is so great about them that I would fly across the country to train with them?

Both are good questions, but since I am going to assume that you know what a kettlebell is, I am going to jump straight to question number two…

What is so great about a kettlebell? 

Top 10 Reasons Grab A Kettlebell And Swing Away

1. Huge Calorie Burn

Kettlebells work your entire body. By doing dynamic moves like swings and snatches you’re not only working your muscles anaerobically but also you will feel your heart rate skyrocket… fast.

In fact, the burn you can experience can be your body burning as much as 20 calories. in a single minute. That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile! Check out this study from Ace which explains the 20 calorie/min burn.

2. Increase Range Of Motion

One of the issues we see in the fitness world is people suffering from joint pain and lack of range of motion. It all comes down to tight muscles! While I’ve talked about how important yoga can be for this, kettlebell training can help too.

The large moments help to open joints; stretch muscles and tendons; and overall help to improve flexibility and range of motion.

3. The Triad Workout

When you do bench press or use a squat rack you’re working on strength (aneorobic exercise). When you go for a run, you’re working your cardiovascular system (endurance). And when you do yoga, you’re working on flexibility and range of motion (as discussed above).

BUT when you use kettlebells, you get the benefits of all three. I love that! I love that my muscles are getting stronger while simultaneously getting in my cardio workout and some flexibility.

4. They’re Off Centered

A kettlebell is off balanced. The center of gravity isn’t in the center like you would find with a dumbbell or barbell.

Because of this your core is activated with most moves. The stronger your core, the better shape your body will be in overall. But it also means that more muscles are being activated and are firing which translates into more calories burned.

5. It’s Fun

Exercise is suppose to be fun! It’s playtime. It is the time to get all that pent up energy out. And kettlebells… swinging, lifting and even throwing them is fun! It makes you feel like a kid again. You can take them anywhere you want. Though I have to admit, the beach is the best!

Who doesn’t want to be more child-like from time to time?

6. Functional Training

I know that word gets thrown around a lot in the workout world. Everyone claims their workout is “functional”. Functional meaning it imitates movements that will make you stronger in day to day life… lifting grocery bags, getting up off the couch, etc.

What isn’t functional are isolated machines that cover the gym floors and even a lot of barbell and dumbbell moves.

Kettlebells on the other hand really are functional. You are practicing picking things up and putting things down. If you grab your book bag, do you gently pick it up? No, you grab it and fling it over your shoulder (swing).

7. It’s Not Mindless

Mindless is sitting on a treadmill and running while reading a magazine. Trust me, I get it, I do that often. Sometimes mindless is good.

Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes our minds need exercise too and that comes from doing focused activities. Think about kettlebells as the chess of the world world. You have to stay tuned in to your body, your motions. When you don’t… injuries can happen.

Plus, when you’re focused on your activity, you aren’t thinking about the pile of clothes that need to be washed, the run-in with your boss earlier in the day, or that your husband is annoyed because you forgot to do something.

It’s just you and your workout. Live it up!

8. It’s Badass 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t get some satisfaction simply by walking into the gym with my own kettlebell (our gym doesn’t have them).

There is a feeling of power, strength and confidence when you’re tossing an iron ball with a handle around. It’s cool.

I feel like I am able to become a fitness badass… always a work in progress!

It doesn’t hurt to think about the history of the KB… Russian secret ops used them for training and were envied by others for their strength, endurance, and power.

Here’s a fun quote I found:

“ We’d be totally exhausted and the Russian’s wouldn’t even be catching their breath,” says Jeff Shaffer, an off-duty Secret Service agent watching the Sterling event. “It turned out they were all working out with kettlebells. Now, half the Secret Service is snatching kettelbells and a set sometimes travels with the president’s detail on Air force One.” – Patrik Joneson, Christian Science Monitor, June 2004

Russian soldiers training

9. Switch In Intention

Before when I used to workout, it was all about muscles. What muscles am I using, what muscles do I need to workout, etc. Now it’s about the movement. Like yoga, kettlebell training is more about proper movement patterns than it is about working the quads, hamstrings, biceps…

Do the proper movements and those muscles will get worked and the results will show.

Talk about making workouts much easier!

10. Diversity Is The Spice Of Life

And to end… kettlebells are amazing because they are completely different than any other weight training method. Dumbbells are great, barbells are okay, but sometimes we need to change things up.

The kettlebell has personally changed the way I not only workout but the way I look at working out. The change has made me appreciate the other forms of exercise more and motivated me to improve in so many areas. Not just kettlebells.

Don’t fall into a workout rut, change things up!

Before I close up, may I offer a piece of advice? If you haven’t worked with kettlebells before but are interested, seek out professional help. Form can be tricky to conquer and learning which weight is best for you can also be a challenge.

So let me ask…

What should we do in San Francisco!?

 

  • http://abs-of-steel.com Abi@AbsofSteel

    I love my kettlebell, it makes my workouts seems a little more like playtime. Also because of #8 for sure ;)

  • http://lindsayslist.co Lindsay @ Lindsay’s List

    KB Swings are surprisingly easy with a belly so I’ve been doing them as add-ons to my bootcamp classes! Love that feeling of moving weight quickly!

    • http://www.fitwomensweekly.com TaylorR

      Awesome!

  • http://delightsanddelectables.com Brittany @ Delights and Delectables

    I love KB! You will love San Francisco! We were just there in May, and I fell in love!

  • http://day-with-kt.com Kim

    Have a super trip to CA!!! I would try to go to Napa if you have time!!
    I hope you are going to be sharing lots of new kettle bell exercises and routines with us!!!

  • http://energywebring.com Francesca

    Thanks for the tips…oh and the picture ;) -xo-

  • http://www.TheTinyTerror.com Amy Lauren

    I hope you have a great trip to CA! Sorry you have to miss the 10K, but hopefully you will be back by Tuesday so I can hear about your trip?

    I like how functional kettlebells are. I first used them in CrossFit in Florence, and my gym there had them, so I did work out with them. I wish East Shore would get them, I would invest in some but good quality kettlebells are a bit pricey (btw, I am practically begging my friend who works at East Shore hoping they will buy a few! I know I am not the only one wanting em!)

  • http://www.cottercrunch.com lindsay

    functional!!! yes yes. It’s so effective,for everything. gosh , take me with you!

  • http://www.roamingraspberry.com Kim @ Roaming Raspberry

    Have you tried one of my Kettlebell workouts yet? Cause I want you to! Ha ha! Hope you enjoy California! I was in sandiego last week and it was awesome. Probably a bit colder in San Fran though, actually probably colder than South Carolina. Darn, you might not enjoy the temperature then. But you’ll love the sights can’t wait to hear about the trip! I’ll be stocking!

  • http://itzlinz.com Linz @ Itz Linz

    so much you can do with kettlebells!

  • gypsy_nurse5

    Run to Hopper’s Hands (iconic SF route with a great story), meet up with November Project San Francisco for a free workout in Alamo Square (and see the Full House painted ladies!), rent a bike at Sports Basement near Crissy Field and cycle across GGB to sausilito/tiburon and take the ferry back. Hike Batteries to Bluffs trail or Land’s End trail. If you have a full day, drive north and do some hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore then drive over to one of the oyster farms to shuck your own on the beach (bring a picnic!). Highly recommend the Mission/Castro/Lower Haight areas for food and people watching. Also catch a sunset from Twin Peaks. The view on a clear day is amazing….enjoy :)

  • http://www.bonnielangfitness.com bonnie

    Hands down one of my favorite tools in the gym. Have an awesome time and I can’t wait to hear about the cert!!

  • http://Www.frenchinspirationblog.com Karen -Fit in France

    Hope you are having a great time in California. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Rachael

    That pic of the Russian soldiers training is fabulous !

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