A kettlebell workout may not be the first type of workout that comes to mind when you visit a gym but using kettlebells is an increasingly popular way of training. The question that comes to mind when you see people practising these workouts is do kettlebells work?
What Is A Kettlebell?
A kettlebell essentially looks like a cannon ball with a single steel handle protruding from the surface. The kettlebell is made from steel or cast iron and some of the weights may be hollow shells with a sand infill if they are not of complete metal construction. Generally you can get a wide range of sizes, but the common sizes for beginners tend to be either 8kg or 12kg for women depending on fitness level and 16kg or 24kg for men dependant on fitness level. Once you have mastered the basic moves with good form and your strength has improved you can move on up to kettlebells weighing as much as 50kgs.
Are Kettlebells Effective Exercise?
Most kettlebell workout routines are ballistic, dynamic sets of movements that are built around three basic moves: the swing, the snatch and the clean. The ballistic or non stop movement within the routines promote and rely on whole body strength. Unlike other forms of weight training, using kettlebells requires you to use many more muscle groups simultaneously, you need strength, balance, mobility and coordination to use kettlebells and regular workouts will improve all these facets of athletic performance as well as improving functional fitness.
Do kettlebells build muscle? Yes, lean muscle. Using kettlebells won’t help to bulk up like a power lifter but will promote lean muscle growth for strength. Do kettlebells burn fat? Kettlebells are great for burning fat, as well as promoting strength and mobility, kettlebell workouts are great aerobic exercise improving cardiovascular function. You will burn lots of calories working out with these babies which with a calorie controlled diet and increased lean muscle development will see you shedding excess pounds of unwanted fat. Do kettlebells tone? Building lean muscle and providing a fat stripping cardio workout is a guaranteed tone-up plan. Can a kettlebell workout strengthen bones and joints? Yes, being a weight bearing exercise Kettlebells can help to strengthen bones. Joint strength can be improved by properly working the muscles that surround the joint with natural movements to improve functional strength and add support to the joint.
Kettlebells are effective exercise for men and women, if you want to lose weight, increase lean muscle resulting in more functional strength and power without bulking, improve endurance and strengthen joints then using kettlebells is a good choice for you.
Are Kettlebells Safe?
We have discussed what these weights are and how they are used. You should have got the picture that essentially you will be swinging heavy, hard objects around. Clearly the obvious question is can that really be safe? Sounds like the fast track to plenty of injuries. Correct, have respect. DO NOT go watch a DVD or read a book and start flailing heavy objects around the place.
Incorrect use can lead to serious injury. You seriously need to take classes with a certified trainer. As well as demonstrating basic moves and providing a workout routine, a decent trainer can act as your spotter and monitor/advise on your form. It may not be obvious to you that you are bending your back at the wrong moment which could lead to injury or pain but a trainer will point out issues quickly and get your form correct so you can use the equipment safely. A trainer will also be able to see if you are pushing to hard using the incorrect weight and advise accordingly.
Do Kettlebells Work? Are They Good Or Bad?
Kettlebells do work, they are great for losing weight, toning and developing strength, power and endurance. Both men and women can effectively use kettlebells to improve fitness. But, be careful ballistic workouts using additional weight can be dangerous. Form is crucial for avoiding injury. Before you embark on kettlebell workouts take some lessons and feel you way into the exercises.