A kettlebell is not a commonly used word outside the fitness scene. In fact, most people have never even heard of these peculiar weights. Shaped just like a cannonball with a sturdy handle loop, kettlebells have been around for centuries, but only recently has the weight caught on in the States. The reason why kettlebell workouts are so popular is because thy are very effective in building functional strength, building muscle and conditioning.
Shape is the key
Because of the odd shape of the kettlebell, the center of gravity is not very centered at all. This makes the weight very difficult to control, which equates to more resistance. If you compare the same exact workout with a dumbbell versus a kettlebell, the person using the kettlebell will undoubtedly have burned more calories. This fact is why kettlebell workouts are here to stay.
When using kettlebells, it is best to completely replace dumbbells and other weights with them. The reason for this is that the extra resistance should be applied all over the body. If you are interested in strengthening your core, you should consider exercises like swings, cleans, snatches, and windmills. Although these are far from beginner techniques, working up to them is extremely beneficial. Being able to perform those kettlebell workouts will condition your core faster than any other method available.
Quads, lower back, chest, shoulders, and hamstrings
If you are more interested in training your quads, you should look into squats and split jerks. To strengthen your chest, consider utilizing kettlebells for floor press type exercises. Your lower back will improve with dead lifts, although be sure to correctly hold the kettlebells. The best shoulder kettlebell workouts are seesaw and military presses. Hamstrings can also be targeted with dead lifts, but also swings and snatches as well.
You do not have to use these particular exercises to target those areas, they are just some of the more proven ones. The key with any exercise is accommodating your lifestyle and needs. With kettlebell workouts, you will need to give yourself a while to build up to the target weight, because they are far from easy to use.
A sample kettlebell circuit
1. Kettlebell Pullthroughs, 15 reps, 30 seconds rest
2. Beyond the Range Push-ups, 20 reps, 30 seconds rest
3. Kettlebell Clean & Press, 12 reps each arm, 30 seconds rest
4. Lunge and Reach, 15 reps, 30 seconds rest
5. Russian Kettlebell Twists, 15 reps
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If you are used to dumbbells and then transition to kettlebells over night, you will lose interest in working out because of how hard it is, or even worse yet, hurt yourself. Kettlebell workouts are very effective, but some forethought must be given before jumping into using them.