Five Benefits of Kettlebells
I’ve been training with kettlebells for almost 10 years, and I’m so grateful that I was introduced to them early in my training career. No one single training tool can do it all, but if you were forced to pick just one, you could make a strong case for the kettlebell.
Kettlebells are great, but watching someone do a swing or Turkish get up can look ridiculous, even scary. If you’re considering working out with kettlebells but still have some doubts, here are five benefits of kettlebell training that might convince you to give them a try.
1. Power without the Pounding
Power is sometimes thought of as something that only athletes need, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As we age, we lose power at one and a half times the rate we lose strength. When we’re older, the loss of the ability to do functional tasks like get out of a chair is due more to a loss of power than it is strength. How do you prevent the loss of power? You train it.
Power is the product of strength and speed, so to train power, you have to do movements quickly. The kettlebell swing is an excellent option for building lower body power.
There are lots of other ways to train power. Medicine ball throws. Doing squats and deadlifts with speed. Jumping. But these are a little rougher on the knees than the swing style movements done with kettlebells. I’ve had two knee surgeries, and find the kettlebell is an invaluable tool for staying powerful and keeping my knees happy.
2. Grip Strength and Shoulder Mobility
The unique shape of the kettlebell makes it a superior option for developing grip strength and shoulder mobility. Contrast the kettlebell with the dumbbell. A dumbbell is designed so the weight is nicely centred around the hand, making it easy to grip and stabilize. In contrast, a kettlebell’s centre of mass is well outside the gripping hand, requiring a higher degree of grip strength to control the weight.
Similarly, when you hold a kettlebell overhead, your wrist and shoulder have to work extra hard to keep it in place. Doing overhead presses with a kettlebell does wonders for shoulder strength, and doing overhead carries with a kettlebell will build a degree of shoulder stability that you wouldn’t have thought possible. You can get greater benefits from doing the same movements, at the same weight, as you would with a dumbbell.
There is no a single joint, movement, or muscle group that can’t be trained with a kettlebell. With one piece of equipment, you can make serious progress with strength, power and mobility. And you can add a new dimension to more traditional body building style movements by doing them with a kettlebell. A hammer curl is a great example.
4. Convenient, Compact, Economical
Three benefits in one! If you were looking to start training at home, start with one kettlebell. Don’t have a lot of space to train? No problem, a kettlebell hardly takes up any space. On a tight budget? You can get a 12KG or 16KG kettlebell (a good starting weight for many people) for $30 to $40. Don’t have a lot of time to train? In about 20 minutes you can do a full body, heart pounding, strength and power building circuit that will have you near exhausted. Check out Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline for a great example.
Something I hear A LOT from new clients is they don’t like the gym because weight training is boring. I get it. Three sets of 10 of one exercise after the other, training one body part at a time, can get dull fast. For people looking for something more dynamic, a kettlebell is a great option.
I’ve had a few clients who have tried more than once to find the gym routine that worked only to give up a few weeks later due to boredom and a lack of results. Then we start swinging kettlebells and, before you know it, they’re hooked. If you’re someone who has a hard time staying consistent in the gym for longer than six weeks, then kettlebells just might be the solution.
These are just a few of the reasons why the kettlebell makes a great addition to your training routine, regardless of your training goal. If you want to make kettlebells part of your training but aren’t sure how to start, then get in touch, I’d love to help.