Despite their name, kettlebells are, unfortunately, not used in a sequel to the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit More Cowbell. However, they are crucial workout tools that help fitness professionals and beginners achieve more toned, in-shape bodies with each use.
A kettlebell is a type of free weight that looks like a cannonball with a flat base and an arced handle attached. We use kettlebells in various workout routines to increase things like cardio, strength training, and much more. These are all the great uses for a kettlebell.
The Many Uses of The Kettlebell
Kettlebells give you the ability to combine high-intensity cardio with weight training, so you can gain toned lean muscle. This differs from other weights, which help you bulk up your muscles. If you use kettlebells regularly, it won’t be surprising if you become more toned rather than bulky.
Kettlebells improve your functional strength by targeting several muscle groups that you use in everyday life. Kettlebells combine cardio, strength training, and flexibility training. The equipment itself is portable and compact, and relatively easy to maintain as far as gym equipment goes.
Their design is especially great if you’re looking for something easy to keep at home. You can train your whole body with just one or two kettlebells. Kettlebells are also super versatile—there’s a wide variety of workouts you can do with kettlebells to target any combination of muscle groups or even to get a full-body workout.
Kettlebells can be pressed, juggled, swung, held, thrown, manipulated, and moved in many different ways. Kettlebells help improve your strength and cardiovascular health while also toning your body and maintaining your mobility, flexibility, and joint health.
Kettlebell vs. Dumbbell
One of the most popular workout products, both at home and in the gym, is the dumbbell. People gravitate to dumbbells because the equipment distributes the weight evenly. Kettlebells, on the other hand, have an off-set center of gravity and are harder to control.
This change of gravity forces users to focus more on controlling their movements to counterbalance and stabilize their body during exercises. Maintaining correct kettlebell form during a workout focuses on improving users’ coordination, balance, flexibility, and core strength.
Already own dumbbells? Check out this article on how turn your dumbbells into kettlebells.
Do Gyms Have Kettlebells?
Unfortunately, it depends on the gym. Some gyms have kettlebells, while others don’t. If you’d rather workout in a gym than at home, be sure to do your research! Your local gyms will tell you whether or not they have kettlebells available for use.
Like we mentioned before, it’s also super easy to buy and store kettlebells at home. If you’re more comfortable working out at home, consider investing in a kettlebell or two to do some at-home workouts. There are plenty of beginner workouts that can help you get started.
Perks of a Kettlebell Workout
A kettlebell workout can burn up to 400 calories in 20 minutes! Kettlebells come in a variety of weights and pair well with lifts, lunges, and shoulder presses. Kettlebell workouts burn up to 20 calories a minute—that’s the equivalent of running a 6-minute mile.
Kettlebells range in price depending on their weight. Kettlebells are very sturdy gym equipment and work in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Those with diabetes or heart disease should check with their doctor before incorporating kettlebells into their fitness regimen.
It’s also recommended that those who are pregnant and have no kettlebell experience wait until after their pregnancy to learn. It’s also recommended that people with back pain, knee pain, or arthritis avoid using kettlebells in their workout routine, given the high-intensity strain it can cause.
Overall, we encourage everyone to check with a doctor and possibly consult an experienced trainer before incorporating kettlebells into their workout. Correct kettlebell form is the most critical part of the workout, and you don’t want to hinder rather than help your fitness progress.
What Are Kettlebells Made of?
There are two types of kettlebells: competition and traditional. There are advantages to both types, which are made of steel or cast iron. They come in many different weights, but some kettlebells, regardless of weight, will always rest in the same place on your forearm.
This exact placement helps ensure that you keep your technique consistent, no matter what weight you use. The handle diameter and the area inside the handle of competition kettlebells never change either, so your hand insertion never has to change, which further helps users concentrate on their technique.
Competition vs. Traditional Kettlebells
Competition kettlebells are always the same size, regardless of how much they weigh. Another name for competition kettlebells is Sport Kettlebells or Pro Grade Kettlebells. Competition kettlebells are slightly more durable than iron kettlebells since they’re made from steel.
Competition kettlebells have a broader, flatter base than iron kettlebells, making them more stable for floor exercises. On the other hand, traditional cast iron kettlebells get heavier as they get bigger, and each size rests in a different position on your forearm. Your workouts shouldn’t be affected too much as long as you know how to navigate the position change.
Where to Buy Kettlebells
It’s reasonably easy to find kettlebells in any store, both online and in-person. Major retailers and other specialized sports stores are sure to have kettlebells available for purchase. Just make sure you do your research prior to purchase, so you know the proper weight to buy.
Also, make sure you research the brand itself. Kettlebell price, quality, and style vary from brand to brand and retailer to retailer, so make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure you get the kettlebell that fits your workout needs.
My personal favorite is the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell. See my full Bowflex SelectTech Kettlebell review here.
Find Out How Kettlebells Can Help You
Working out, whether at home or at a gym, is crucial for your physical health. You can make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout with the use of a kettlebell. This equipment is excellent for increasing cardiovascular exercises, building lean muscle, and so much more. Invest in a kettlebell today—you’ll be glad you did.