What is a Kettlebell?

A kettlebell is a cast-iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a looped handle on the top. Kettlebells can be incorporated into exercise routines for whole-body conditioning, including the core. Kettlebells are becoming more popular amongst athletes and exercise amateurs, showing up in gyms across the nations. While not all gyms carry kettlebells, the majority do and some offer kettlebell training programs.

Size and Style

Kettlebells come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 2 pounds to over 100 pounds. Some kettlebells are your basic cast iron, while others have a vinyl coating, varying in color. When choosing a kettlebell, find one that has a smooth handle. For individuals with health concerns or physical issues that prevent lifting a certain amount of weight, choose the lighter kettlebell. Healthy individuals, with no known limitations, can generally begin with a 17 pound kettlebell and work their way up. For more advanced users, accustomed to lifting heavier weights or those that are stronger than average, find a heavier kettlebell that fits your fitness requirements.

Exercise Usage

Because kettlebells provide whole-body conditioning, they are the perfect addition to fitness routines. Impressively, performing kettlebell exercises at a moderate pace will result in approximately 20 calories being burned per minute. The benefits of kettlebell exercises include:

  • Increased lower back strength
  • Improved back endurance
  • Increased core strength
  • Effective method of cardio training

Though the options are limitless, some exercises that you can do with a kettlebell include:

  • Kettlebell basic swing
  • Kettlebell press
  • Alternating kettlebell press
  • Kettlebell squats
  • Kettlebell figure 8

Safety

As with all forms of exercise, using a kettlebell properly is critical to prevent injuries. In order to use a kettlebell properly, educate yourself about the proper use by finding an experienced trainer or educational material. Kettlebell exercises demand many muscle groups working together, often in ways that traditional weight machines and stretching exercises are not capable of. Learn the basic movements of the kettlebell and get accustomed to using a light weight kettlebell before attempting to use a heavier weighted kettlebell.

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