Are Kettlebells Worth It?

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Many people have seen kettlebells lying around in the gym, or maybe you’ve seen a fitness guru hyping up their benefits. They look a little strange – like an iron bowling ball with a handle, but some personal trainers swear by them. Is it worth it to invest in a kettlebell or two? Let’s take a look at some unique advantages offered by kettlebells, and you can decide for yourself if it’s an excellent addition to your current regimen.

Benefits of Using a Kettlebell

While kettlebells may not be for everyone, depending on your goals and personal health journey, they could be a useful enhancement to your workout routine. There are a lot of benefits of the kettlebell as an enhancement or a main staple in your workout. Here are a few of the best features that serve everyone, no matter which way you choose to go. Kettlebells are also beginner-friendly!

One-Stop-Shop

A cool aspect of kettlebell use is that you get a full-body workout using just the bells. You can perform kettlebell squats to build muscle, lunges, presses, curls and more with them. Kettlebells help you move through your exercise more efficiently.

Due to the kettlebell’s versatility, you can achieve increased flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance. These are the fitness world’s hallmarks, and the ability to do total body conditioning with one tool is the main selling point for many that choose to use kettlebells.

Great for Home Use

Due to the small, compact size of the kettlebell, they store easily in your home without taking up much space. They come in numerous sizes, weights, and colors. That means that you would be able to mix and match depending on your workout, especially when you choose to acquire a set that varies in weight.

You can even buy an adjustable kettlebell, like the Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Kettlebell (available on Amazon.com) which is one kettlebell. See my full Bowflex SelectTech Kettlebell review here.

Improved Stability and Balance

The weight of the kettlebell is uneven. While this may seem like a negative at first glance, it contributes to several other benefits. The kettlebell’s weight is very dense at the bottom, which is beneath the handle. With dumbbells or barbells, you’ll notice that the weight is more equally distributed.

The uneven weight is beneficial for the kettlebell because you have to engage your muscles to stabilize your movements. When working out with the kettlebell, you have to try harder to keep your body balanced as you perform your reps. This gives you strength training and balance in one.

Movement Fluidity

When you’re using a kettlebell, your muscles are engaged during the entire movement. This is because most kettlebell exercises involve some form of swinging or rotating in the process. Therefore, you are not only using your targeted muscles and keeping the tension high for the duration of the movement (an aspect that’s crucial to muscle growth), you’re also using muscles you’ve probably never used before.

This makes for more fluid weightlifting movements. Your entire body is getting a piece of the action when you’re performing your reps. With traditional weight training, you may notice that your movements get stiff after a while. This is due to the mechanics and limited range of motion you have when using dumbbells or barbells. But that’s not so with kettlebells!

More Calories Burned

Looking to burn fat with kettlebells? This specific benefit may be more geared towards those who are interested in weight loss. Since kettlebells allow you to do strength training and cardio in one, you burn way more calories than you would with traditional weights.

You can burn up to 20 calories a minute with a kettlebell. This means in about 20 minutes of doing a kettlebell workout, you can burn roughly 400 calories. That’s the equivalent of a 6-minute mile, so if you don’t particularly fancy running, kettlebells are an excellent alternative for weight loss, and the after-burn effect (burning calories for days after the workout ) is crazy high!

Grip Strength

Kettlebells test your grip in ways that other free weights don’t. One of the main reasons is that many kettlebell exercises consist of high reps and explosive movements. That, coupled with the swinging motions that most kettlebell movements require, will surely force you to grip for dear life!

Related to the design, the very structure of the kettlebell with the weight at the bottom will cause you to use your grip to stabilize and hold the kettlebell while you’re doing the exercises. Why does grip strength matter?

Pull-ups anyone? Or maybe deadlifts, curling, tricep dips? The point is, you need your grip to be reliable for a variety of exercises. Grip strength is essential for any weight training program you engage in, kettlebells, or not.

Injury Resilience

One of the key benefits of using a kettlebell is that it helps you keep injuries at bay. Kettlebells can help you focus on and pinpoint your weaknesses and muscle balance.

The kettlebell is known to really help with your posterior chain and your overall posture. Couple this with the enhanced mobility and flexibility that you get from a good kettlebell workout, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much looser your body feels in previously uncomfortable positions.

Essentially, your form will be better in your day-to-day life. Also, it helps you for when you are performing other exercises that don’t require the use of the kettlebell due to its ability to improve the strength of key muscles such as your shoulders, back, and core.

What Types of People Benefit From Kettlebell Use?

  • Those who prefer working out at home
  • Athletes or others who’d like to improve their conditioning
  • People with back injuries who want to rehab and still strength train
  • Those looking for versatility in their current workout.

Final Thoughts on Kettlebells

Ultimately, the decision is yours as to whether you think a kettlebell could take your workout to the next level or if you’d rather pass.

There are a plethora of benefits listed here, and this isn’t exhaustive!

At the very least, if you don’t want to invest in your own kettlebells, you should definitely use them if they’re available at your local gym. Or if you already have dumbbells at home you could use a cool gadget like the Kettle Gryp to turn your dumbbells into kettlebells — see my KettleGryp review here.

Bottom line: Get on aboard the kettlebell train. This one’s worth the hype!