You've likely seen this weight before around the gym. The kettlebell or "girya" (in Russian) is a cast iron weight loosely resembling a cannonball with a handle. That handle provides a grip to provide a way to perform weight training with speed, momentum, acceleration and deceleration movements as well as traditional weight training movements, to sculpt your body.
So Why Are Kettlebells Awesome?
Kettlebells can range in weights from 3 to 50 pounds. Because many of the movements are generating speed, the bodies reactive and stabilizing muscles ( like the core muscles and abdominals) are forced to engage. This helps give your mid-section an added bonus in most movements.
What To Watch Out For...
But when speed and momentum are involved in weight training, the risks for injury tend to increase. Proper movements are important for kettlebell exercises to help prevent injuries to the joints like your shoulders, back and hips. It's important to get expert training or utilize mirrors to make sure you are performing the exercises correctly. It is better to move slowly with your kettlebells than to swing quickly.
Benefits of Exercising With Kettlebells
- Can be used for proper muscle development for any sport or athletic activity
- Combines development of strength and flexibility
- Provides overall muscle development
- Improves grip strength
- Improves fat to lean mass ratio
- Defines physique
- Expands stamina
The Swing: Swinging movements are common with kettlebells since they have a handle. It seems like a natural pattern. Keep in mind that muscles that help accelerate a movement will then have to decelerate that movement to change directions. Simple waist circles are a great way to swing the kettlebells. Start with kettlebell in right hand and swing the weight behind the back releasing the handle to the left hand when grip is established. Continue with this circular movement for eight repetitions to going clockwise and then switch directions to counter-clockwise.
The Lift: Because kettlebells are weights, they can be added like dumbbells or free weights to almost any movement. Many women like them because the handles may fit a smaller hand better than a thick handled bar or dumbbell. Perform dead lifts or squats with the kettlebell with proper alignment that you would perform with free weights.
The Balance: Kettlebells are unique that the handles can be used for grip while on the floor. They can provide a balance training tool in this manner or for many people provide an option for planks and pushups which doesn't put pressure on the wrist. Start with kettlebells under hands with wrists straight and then move from knees to plank. Perform push-ups, balances or plank holds for great shoulder and core stability.
Bottom line is kettlebells can help change up your workout regimen and help you achieve results faster.