Kettlebells: An introduction to your best workout option
It’s easy to get bogged down with all the equipment options available for training nowadays as the variety is endless. Whether you’re looking for equipment online or in a
gym retailer, the selection can literally be overwhelming. From machines, to racks, to free weights, to bars, to dumbbells, to bands, where does the layperson start?! It’s no wonder so many people just give up.
Luckily, there is a counter to all the equipment backed by multi-million dollar advertising campaigns selling the benefits of this or that technology; kettlebells. When it comes to the sophisticated exercise technologies and advanced exercise gear, kettlebells don’t stand a chance. They are the polar opposite of complex routines and space-age equipment. A ball of iron with a forged handle screams simplicity, but when it comes to your training it’s the single best investment you could ever make.
Usually coming in at just over one dollar per pound kettlebells are very reasonably priced. Especially when you consider that unless dropped from a thirty storey building they’ll never break, and unless kept in salt water they’ll never rust, so you can count on having them for life. When you factor cost per year over 20 or 30 years they become ridiculously inexpensive. You can buy kettlebells in pairs or as singles in order to do both two-handed and single-handed movements. In the end, just having one each of a variety of weights would be fine. This cuts the cost by half and doesn’t affect your ability to perform any exercises. The bottom line for me is that I firmly believe that they are the best value for money out there when it comes to exercise equipment.
I’m assuming that if you’re looking to purchase a set of kettlebells that they’ll be for a home gym, which is actually ideal, as their size lends themselves perfectly to storage in small areas. A corner of no more than 16 square feet could accommodate a large variety of weights and sizes with no impact on the rest of the living area. If you add a small mat then you have everything you’ll ever need for a fully functional home gym. The beauty of their size is that they can be stored where they’ll never be seen; closets, spare rooms, garages, under your bed. It’s just a matter of pulling one or two out when you want to have a quick workout.
This is where kettlebells really shine. The variety of exercises possible with kettlebells extends only as far as your imagination will take you. They are infinitely versatile. Also, the mainstream media provides dozens of books and websites that cover kettlebell exercises and workout routine design, so there’s no shortage of information. If you’re one of the types that suffer from “analysis paralysis” when presented with such an overwhelming amount of information not to worry, kettlebells can be as simple as you need and want them to be. You can definitely achieve all of your goals with only a handful of exercises. The snatch, clean and jerk and swing would be at the top of my list, and depending on your goals, may be the only exercises you ever need. Don’t let a lack of variety fool you either, when it comes to progress concentrate on other factors such as sets, reps, rest periods, time under tension, etc. as these will have a much greater impact on your progress than the actual exercise. It’s worth mentioning too that the Bulgarian weightlifting team has dominated international competition for years, and are famous for performing the same six or eight exercises their entire careers. When it comes to reaching your goals variety isn’t necessarily the spice of life.
When I talk about efficiency I just mean “bang for the buck”. Traditional kettlebell exercises are metabolically tough and really work the entire body, rather than just isolating one particular muscle such as the bicep. A short, intense 20 minute workout could not only positively affect your strength and muscle gain, but increase your cardiovascular endurance as well, not to mention helping your coordination, as many of the exercises require a coordinated effort by many muscles simultaneously. By their very nature, traditional kettlebell exercises target what many would call the most important muscles in the body; the “core” and posterior chain. Your “core” muscles are located in your lower back, abdominal region and just above your hips on your sides. They are key in promoting good posture as well as providing a foundation for other exercises, as most kettlebell exercises do require the “core” muscles to be active. The posterior chain of muscles just refers to all the muscles that extend from your neck, down your back, to your buttocks, hamstrings and calves. When you think about everyday movements these muscles play an integral role. The problem is we only really notice them once we hurt a muscle in our back and suddenly can’t move. By developing your posterior chain you’ll be stronger overall and be much less prone to back injuries.
Weight loss is the holy grail for so many. Strength doesn’t matter, cardiovascular endurance doesn’t matter and flexibility doesn’t matter, as long as there is weight loss. Fortunately, kettlebells allow you to achieve all these things at once. Metabolically, muscle is very active. This means that even when “resting” a muscle uses a lot of energy to function and under the right conditions the energy it uses is fat. So if you want to lose weight fast, gain muscle mass. Kettlebells are champions of quick, effective fat loss which no amount of pure cardiovascular training can match. Losing weight fast is actually quite easy with kettlebells as your main weapon.
Yes, it’s true. Kettlebells are just that good. They can do it all. Whether you want strength, endurance, weight loss, or flexibility, kettlebells are the tool for you. There are numerous resources out there for kettlebells, and a great one is dragondoor.com.
There’s more information on this one site regarding kettlebells than you’ll ever need. All it takes is one kettlebell to start your transformation. Get one now, start training today and feel like a million bucks tomorrow. Kettlebells are the key.
Filed under: personal trainer
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