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Kettlebell workouts: Why you need to pick up a kettlebell

Heard the fitness buzz on kettlebells? Not only is the kettlebell one of the most versatile fitness tools, kettlebell exercises give you an all-in-one cardio and strength-training workout that can burn up to 20 calories a minute. Here’s why you should pick up a kettlebell and get moving.

Woman using kettlebells

What is a kettlebell?

If you haven’t see a kettlebell, it is a cast iron cannonball with a handle. You use it to perform dynamic movements like swings, cleans and presses that tax a major portion of your body’s musculature.

Get full-body fitness with kettlebell workouts

Unlike traditional methods of weightlifting, kettlebell exercises work all the major muscle groups simultaneously, so you get a full-body workout with almost every exercise. In addition, kettlebell exercises don’t isolate muscle groups like traditional weightlifting, so your heart rate goes up — and stays up — throughout the workout, which translates to a major fat-burning workout routine.

Benefits of kettlebell training

Kettlebell training has become wildly popular among Hollywood stars, professional athletes and regular folks. So what exactly is the allure of kettlebells?

The benefits of kettlebell workouts include:

  • Burning up to 20 calories a minute and building your cardiovascular endurance to a high level.
  • Increasing your mobility and flexibility and giving you functional strength — strength for real-life movements and circumstances.
  • Working all your major muscle groups in a single workout.
  • Helping you get lean and strong muscles in half the time of a traditional workout — and with less equipment, too!
  • Challenging you mentally because they involve trying to tame and conquer a piece of iron!

Kettlebell workouts get you fit fast

With traditional methods of exercise, you usually need to get on the treadmill for 45 minutes, then go into the weight room for 45 minutes. Kettlebell workouts are a combination of strength and cardio, so you get better results in half the time of a traditional free-weight or machine workout — you really sweat during a kettlebell workout. The heavier the weight, the higher your heart rate will be, so you burn more fat.

Dumbbells vs kettlebells

Kettlebells for dummies

You may also be wondering why you can’t just swing around a dumbbell as you would a kettlebell and get the same fitness gains. Here are a just a few reasons:

  • The handle of a dumbbell doesn’t allow you to move the dumbbell smoothly and rotationally in your hand without risk of dropping it.
  • A dumbbell’s center of gravity is completely different from a kettlebell’s, so you don’t get the same core-strengthening or cardiovascular workout.
  • The awkwardness of trying to use a dumbbell for kettlebell exercises doesn’t make for a smooth workout. (Try swinging a 35-pound dumbbell between your legs; it isn’t easy!)

Give kettlebells a try – and you’ll become a fit kettlebell fan

I understand if you’re skeptical, but trust me: You could run on the treadmill for an hour, then lift weights for an hour and still not get the same benefits of a half-hour kettlebell workout.

Buy an authentic cast iron RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified) kettlebell for the best performance and search for kettlebell classes and instruction in your area by searching for kettlebell gyms that offer instruction from RKC instructors.

More on getting fit with kettlebells

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