When you say ‘kettlebell,’ you are quite likely to encounter blank stares, even from avid gym enthusiasts. In fact, there are a lot of questions that come to mind when we mention this particular (and rather ignored) fitness equipment –
- How often do you see people using kettlebells at the gym?
- How much awareness exists when it comes to exercising with the kettlebell?
- What is the usage of the kettlebell?
- What to do and what to avoid doing while using the kettlebell?
Here is an article which sheds light on this tiny ‘bomb’ of an equipment called the ‘kettlebell’ (KB), and answers the questions above.
The kettlebell is one of my favourite equipments to use at the gym and at home. Simply because we can do a variety of exercises with the kettlebell, like swings, squats, goblets, clean and jerk, push, push-press, snatch, and so on. We can also use the kettlebell to perform compound exercises combining different muscle groups.
Kettlebell benefits – It works on building endurance, grip, strength, and focus. It is lamentable that people are not so aware of kettlebell exercises and their benefits – in fact, many gyms don’t even stock up on this amazing piece of equipment!
First off, what are kettlebells?
Kettlebells are small kettle-shaped equipment with a handle on the top for grip. They are made of iron, and come in different weights. Beginners can start with 2kg – 4kg kettlebells, and keep on increasing the weight every week.
You can buy kettlebells for home workouts as well. This is actually a great way of keeping your routine on point.
Few things to note while buying kettlebells – you should buy those that come in kilogram (kg) measures, and not pounds (lbs), and you have to keep in mind that you can easily lift heavier weights with kettlebells as compared to dumbbells.
Who all can use kettlebells?
Everyone can use the kettlebell. Whether your goal is to shred, or to gain muscles, or increase strength, or for overall body conditioning, you can perform kettlebell exercises that can help you achieve any of these goals. The KB is highly useful when it comes to improving muscular endurance, joint mobility, and cardiorespiratory conditioning.
From glutes, hams, quads, arms, core, and back, to total body workouts – the kettlebell has numerous benefits across all muscle groups. Your muscle contraction is faster when doing kettlebell workouts, which actually helps in burning more calories. Because of the weighted down centre, your body has to work harder to stabilize KB as compared to a barbell or dumbbells. That will also help in building endurance, and working the core.
What are uses of KB?
Here are the uses in a list:
- To improve endurance, focus, and to condition the body.
- Combine KB workouts after or before your weight training, it will work wonderfully when combined with resistance training.
- You can use the kettlebell for doing typically non-weighted exercises too, for example, circuit training, abs, or even HIIT. All you have to do is make a good routine and perform it with correct form.
- Kettlebells are different from dumbbells – unlike dumbbells, the total weight is not evenly distributed between both sides, but it is rather like one huge chunk of mass held by both hands. This is what makes kettlebell ideal for dynamic swinging exercises.
- With kettlebells, there are countless multi-joint exercises you can perform.
Some Exercises you can do with KB
- Swinging (single arm, Russian, two arm)
- Russian deadlifts
- KB lunge press
Swinging of kettlebells will help you strengthening your lower back, legs (hams, glutes, quads,) and arms. Swinging is the essential kettlebell technique, and the most important one of all in kettlebell exercises. You can combine and work various muscles groups simultaneously with the swinging technique. While performing the swing, take care to maintain correct form or it may lead to injury.
You can perform squats with kettle bell especially if you have APT (anterior pelvic tilt), disc bulge, disc herniation, etc. – conditions which may prevent you from doing barbell squats or if you just want to improve your squats form in general. You can combine variations like sumo squats and goblet squats for an overall lower body workout as well.
Push-press will give good strength to your arms. Doing overhead press with push will work on your legs and arms both, and especially on your shoulders and trapezius.
You can do a twist and a swing in combination for a great ab workout. This works specifically on your oblique muscles.
Other than these, you can find many other exercises with kettlebells which can improve your overall body form and strength.
Things to keep in mind
While swinging the kettlebell or while performing any other exercise with it, there are few pointers that you need to keep in mind to prevent injury:
- Always start with light KBs.
- Swinging is not squatting, so while swinging do not squat; you have to hinge, but do not go low to swing.
- Do not roll your back.
- Do not keep your body and arms loose, maintain the grip.
- Focus on movements and muscles.
- Keep the spine neutral and do not roll your back and shoulder while swinging.
- Your stance should be wide enough, and balance your feet at all times.
This was all about kettlebell – the small magic ‘bomb’ that can actually help you burn 400 calories in 20 minutes with a well planned routine! Kettlebells not only offer resistance benefits, but also help in burning calories, and ultimately, in improving functional training capacity. And what is best is that the kettlebell is easy to carry while travelling, and easy to store and use for home workouts.
So next time, don’t shy away from the kettlebell. Give it a try and experience its benefits!
Article Credits – Dr. Namrata Ghushar