Let’s face it, finding the perfect exercise regimen that works for you can be just as hard as having the discipline to stay committed to a training program in the first place. With so many workout plans flooding the fitness world and with the next trend always being better than the last, it’s easy to be indecisive.
A breath of fresh air from traditional weight training, kettlebells offer flexibility and versatility to your regimen that may be just what you’re looking for. A good kettlebell, or a whole set, can save you time and money. But are they all you need? Can you do away with your gym membership and just rely on the kettlebells? Well, that all depends on your fitness goals.
Are Kettlebells Worth Buying?
A kettlebell is a piece of gym equipment that resembles a cannonball with a handle. It’s made out of cast iron and is easily defined by convenience. Kettlebells are compact, and you can train in your apartment, garage, or even outside to feel the refreshing air as you workout.
The benefits of kettlebell training are multidimensional. We’ll make a comparison of the different weights that you can use, and you be the judge! Decide if kettlebells are enough on their own or whether they function better as an add-on to what you’re already doing.
Kettlebells Vs. Dumbbells Vs. Barbells
So how do kettlebells stack up against dumbbells and barbells? And what are the fundamental differences?
Kettlebells will produce more balanced results; not only can you sculpt your body and improve your physique, but you can build your strength and grow lean muscle at the same time.
Kettlebells can also help you improve four main components of fitness:
Pretty much every muscle in your body will be engaged during the rotating and swinging movements that kettlebell reps require. This helps to get optimal results and shore up muscle weaknesses and imbalances that you may or may not have been aware of.
Kettlebells are also a great way to build muscle (see: Can Kettlebells Build Muscle), however, if strength is your number one priority, then kettlebell training is not the most effective workout to build strength. There are obvious limitations of the kettlebell as it pertains to weight. They range from about 8lbs to 100lbs per bell. Therefore, it may be better to go with barbell training if strength or a discipline like bodybuilding is your number one concern.
But when it comes to athletic training movements, the kettlebell reigns supreme due to the high repetitions and the explosive power required within each workout.
Dumbbells can be looked at as a great alternative to the kettlebell because, in many ways, these two pieces of equipment are interchangeable. Dumbbells provide an element of versatility to your training program much in the same way that a kettlebell does.
Dumbbells can be used to tone and sculpt the body. They can even be used during cardio routines to add a form of resistance. And when it comes to biceps and shoulder training, the dumbbell is probably the best choice to make over the kettlebell due to how much muscle growth you can achieve.
Dumbbells are similar to kettlebells in that they also don’t take up a ton of space should you choose to purchase them for your home gym.
When it comes to packing on muscle and maximizing your strength gains, barbells remain king. Currently, there is no other more efficient way to gain strength than to simply grab a barbell and throw as much weight on it as you can stand. The exercises wherein the barbell shines are the squat, deadlift, and bench press.
High intensity and low reps are the names of the game, and barbell use is the best and quickest way to build strength and pack on some muscle. However, being the strongest doesn’t necessarily correlate to being the fittest, and at their extremes, these two things are opposites.
Plainly put, strength is about how much weight you can lift over a short period, and fitness is about how much work you can do over more extended periods or higher repetitions. With that said, having huge muscles and incredible strength does not do much to become fit or build stamina and endurance. Kettlebells and maybe even dumbbells are best for this.
Working Out Only with Kettlebells Depends on Your Fitness Goals
Your fitness goals will determine which route you take to choose an effective workout plan. If you are someone who is looking to fill out their shirt better with a couple of more pounds of muscle, then it is highly recommended that you grab yourself a barbell and begin training your muscles to grow. There is just no substitution when we’re talking about building strength and putting on muscle mass.
If your goal is to make yourself a better athlete, increase your explosion and endurance, and build lean muscle, then incorporating some kettlebell training along with dumbbells into your workout regimen will go a long way to build strength and stamina. Perhaps your goals are not to be a better athlete; maybe you just want to burn fat and get toned – kettlebells will still be the best choice.
If you’re looking to build muscle in the shoulders and bicep, then dumbbells are the best choice. If you’re looking to build the chest, legs, and shoulders, then the barbell is the best course of action. And if you want to train like an athlete and focus on burning fat, then the kettlebell is still the best for you.
So What’s the Verdict On Working Out Only with Kettlebells?
Kettlebells, dumbbells, and barbells are all very viable options in the world of health and fitness. Neither choice is intrinsically better than the other. While the kettlebell can be all you need to workout, a combination approach will still probably be the best option. However, if you don’t have access to a gym, kettlebells should definitely be your top choice.
So before you set out to choose a piece of equipment, envision yourself how you would like to be and let that serve as the launching pad to guide you in your fitness endeavors.