Why Kettlebells?

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Kettlebells are Versatile

There is an abundance of ways to use the kettlebell for exercise. Steve Cotter’s Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting- Series 1 and Series 2 covers a pretty wide range of them. Series 2 alone provides 220 new techniques. The good thing about this is that you can fine tune kettlebell workouts to meet the specific needs of just about any athlete or fitness buff. Athletes from football players to free runners and more have used kettlebells to develop a level of fitness that benefits their needs. You can too!

Kettlebells Provide Functional Fitness

Functional fitness means that it is fitness which easily translates into your daily activities. Kettlebells will quickly build strength and conditioning over your entire body, in a way that carries over into all areas of your daily life. Your joints and ligaments will become stronger along with your larger muscles. The weight of the bell helps develop strength while the dynamic movements help develop the joints, ligaments and general flexibility.

Whole Body Conditioning

Kettlebells bring the whole body into the exercises. For example, the kettlebell swing engages the legs and arms, the core muscles, the gluteal (buttock) muscles, the chest and back. As pointed out by the video Mastering the Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing this one exercise can provide massive benefits to the entire body. Tracy Reifkind, the primary instructor, used the swing alone to trim a significant amount of weight and keep it off (coupled with dietary adjustments as well).

Cardio-vascular Fitness Reduces Disease Risk

Intense, regular and active kettlebell workouts has been shown to have a positive impact in reducing blood pressure which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes. The dynamic nature of active kettlebell workouts gets the heart pumping blood out into the vessels helping to flush it out so to speak. Meanwhile you are building muscular strength.

Kettlebells Help Improve Stability and Balance

As you are swinging and balancing the bell, switching hands and more you very naturally improve your overall balance and posture. Kettlebell exercises emphasize proper form to do the exercises correctly, prevent injury and derive maximum benefit. Without even thinking about it you are improving your overall balance and stability and posture. Side effects that happen naturally as you focus on the form of the movements. For example, the Skogg System gives details on how to perform the clean and press correctly. Before you know it, your functions follow your form and while getting fit you are also improving your overall stability and posture.

Kettlebells Embrace All Levels of Fitness

An undetected benefit of kettlebell training is that it can be applied to beginners or elite level athletes alike. The beginner can learn and profit from kettlebell use performing the same exercises as the elite athlete simply by adjusting weight and repetitions. The nice side effect of this is that the lower weight and reps does not mean the beginner is not getting benefits because their experience shows them that they do. As the beginner grows with regular exercise, they too can reach the higher weights and reps as well.

However, the elite athlete is not left out either. A single bell can exceed 100 pounds so if super strength is your goal, kettlebell training can meet that need as well.

Kettlebells Improve Endurance and Strength

The dynamic movements of the kettlebell routine naturally help you develop stamina as you perform more reps with heavier bells to develop strength. The movement aspect of the exercises keeps the blood flowing to reduce lactic acid build up and reduce muscular soreness. A little stretching after your workout can also help to further this aim.

Fat Loss and Body Toning

Kettlebells have been shown to reduce fat by efficiently burning calories. A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise noted that a 20 minute workout using the kettlebell snatch burned on average 272 calories. They concluded: “They were burning 20.2 calories per minute which is off the charts. That’s equivalent to running a 6 minute mile pace. The only other thing I could find that burns that many calories is cross-country skiing up hill at a fast pace.”

Summary

Kettlebells provide one heck of a workout. As suggested in the American Council study above, a kettlebell snatch routine workout provides a much higher-intensity workout than standard weight training routines while Kettlebell Outdoor Swingoffering all of the other aforementioned benefits.

When you consider all of the benefits above,  if you haven’t already, isn’t it time you considered giving kettlebell training a whirl?

If you already are engaged in kettlebelling, keep the above benefits in mind as an incentive to keep up the good effort. As you can see, it pays off in ways you never even thought of. All for your best benefit too!

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