7 Reasons We Love Kettlebell Training
Kettlebells are a great way to shake up your clients’ workouts. Some fitness professionals claim kettlebells are among the best pieces of equipment available today. Let’s explore that a little. This article covers the essentials of kettlebells, how they differ from dumbbells, reasons we love kettlebell training, and a few tips for beginners.
Kettlebells consist of a round metal ball with a flat bottom and a handle on the top. They typically range from 5 to 100 pounds. Most are known to have a cast iron look. However, the coatings, colors, and grip size can vary.
The actual origin of the kettlebell is a bit vague, but it appears to have been brought into the fitness world sometime in the 1800s by a Russian man named Vladislav Kraevsky. He is thought to be the catalyst for the involvement of kettlebells in the weightlifting world. Since then, kettlebells have slowly continued to grow in popularity with a huge movement in the last several years.
How is the Kettlebell Different from a Dumbbell?
The most obvious difference between a dumbbell and a kettlebell is the shape of the weight. A dumbbell has weight evenly distributed on both ends with the grip in the center. This allows for the body to try to stabilize the weight through slow and controlled movements. The off-set weight of the kettlebell, handles, and spherical shape allow a client to grip the kettlebell in different ways, move it smoothly through different ranges of motion and, in doing so, engage a variety of different muscle groups.
One isn’t necessarily better than the other. The way you use them will depend on the client’s goals. There can be some cross-over in the way that they are used. Meaning, some kettlebell movements can be used with dumbbells and vice versa. However, the grip and fluid movement of the kettlebell is typically best with many of the dynamic movements.
7 Reasons We Love Kettlebell Training
1. Kettlebell Training is a Total Body Workout
Many kettlebell exercises engage the entire body in a variety of multi-joint, functional movements. Just a kettlebell swing alone engages the core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and back. You can isolate the legs, arms, shoulders, and core or engage all of them in one movement. Not only do many of the moves engage the entire body but they also challenge many different components of fitness within the body (balance, power, etc.).
2. Kettlebells Are Relatively Inexpensive
Because kettlebell training has become so popular, there is a wide range of pricing, colors, sizes, and levels of quality to choose from. Kettlebells range from about $20 to a few hundred dollars for a set. However, most clients only need one or two weights for an effective workout.
3. Kettlebells Are Portable
Kettlebell training can be done anywhere. They are small enough to transport easily. So, for clients that don’t have a gym membership or don’t have time to get to the gym, kettlebell training is perfect for home or park workouts.
4. Kettlebell Training is Fun
Boring, stagnant, repetitive workouts typically aren’t fun for anyone. Kettlebell training exercises are unique, challenging, and can help clients breakthrough workout plateaus. They are a good change of pace from the weight machines, dumbbells, and cardio machines. Variety in workouts is an important element in challenging the body and keeping your clients engaged.
5. Kettlebells Training Provide an Effective Core Workout
Many kettlebell movements require clients to actively engage their core throughout the movement, serving as a great tool to build core strength. Controlled proper kettlebell movements not only help engage the larger core muscle but also many of the stabilizing muscles. This results in a solid core workout, no crunches needed.
6. Kettlebell Training Allows Clients to Train in Several Planes of Motion
The kettlebell can be used to exercise in the frontal plane, sagittal plane and the transverse plane. And, the shape and grip of the kettlebell allow for a fluid range of motion in all of these planes. Building strength and flexibility in all three planes of motion is essential for athletic performance as well as healthy mobility for quality of life.
7. Kettlebell Training Can Blast Calories
Remember, your clients can use kettlebells like dumbbells for isolated strength movements. Or, kettlebell exercises can be combined together to create a high-intensity interval training workout (HIIT). This can make the workout an effective way to burn calories during and after the workout to positively impact fat loss. Keep in mind, more isn’t necessarily better. A well-designed kettlebell training program, like any other high intensity workout, shouldn’t be done every day or take hours to complete. But, when done properly, kettlebell training is a great way to challenge the body and blast calories.
Three Tips for beginners
Are you or your client new to the kettlebell scene? Here are three tips to get you started:
1. The Correct Weight is Essential
You want the weight and workout to be challenging. Make the weight heavy enough that is challenges your client without it affecting their form. As with any weighted exercise, proper form is more important than heavy weight. So, start light during the learning phase of the exercise and advance to the more weight from there.
2. Proper Form/Instruction
Proper form is essential for safety. Although kettlebells are easy to use, injury can occur if exercises aren’t done correctly. Educate your client on proper form before they start adding kettlebells to their workouts. And, again, start with a light weight and advance once the client has proper form.
3. Control the Weight
Kettlebell exercises can be explosive movements. However, it is important to be in control of the weight during the acceleration and the deceleration of the movement. So, although clients will create power, they should always keep it under control. This protects their safety and the safety of people and items around them.
Kettlebells are a great addition to almost any training program, especially strength training and interval training. Although they are much like a dumbbell, they have their own unique role in the fitness world. There are many reasons you should consider adding kettlebell training to your clients’ workouts. As you start to add it to your clients’ workout plans, be sure you focus on weight, proper form, and control throughout the movement. Kettlebells are a versatile training tool and incredibly effective, if done correctly.
Not yet a personal trainer but interested in learning more or looking to broaden your skills? Want to help others achieve their health and fitness goals? Check out ISSA’s personal training course and start building a stronger future.