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Kettlebell Weight Training

Fitday Editor

Kettlebells, shortened from their original name of Russian kettlebells, are cast iron weights that resemble a weighted ball with a handle. Kettlebells are used in weight training but also provide a cardio workout. Read below to learn about the benefits of kettlebells.

What Are Kettlebells?

Kettlebells range in weight from 2lbs. to 175lbs. Average weighted bells are approximately the size of a bowling ball. Kettlebells began as a common strength training aid in Eastern Europe and Russia for athletes, in particular powerlifters. In recent years, they have grown in popularity and spread throughout the world. Kettlebells are now common pieces of strength training equipment at many gyms. Despite their beginnings with powerlifters, now all levels of athletes are recognizing the benefits of kettlebells.

What Are the Benefits of Kettlebells?

The benefit of kettlebells compared to your standard dumbbells or barbells is that kettlebells require you to utilize your entire body when lifting the weight. When lifting, swinging or controlling a kettlebell, you will have to contract several muscle groups at once, in particularly your core. This helps build strength, heighten balance and increase stability all at the same time. This multifaceted approach to working out allows for you to obtain a full body strength workout in a short amount of time.

With a handle connected to a weighted ball, holding a kettlebell mimics the way that you carry most objects, such as a grocery bag, suitcase or a purse. Through this motion, individuals are able to focus their strength training on the muscles that they use most often. Exercises that imitate everyday life help strengthen essential muscles and can prevent injuries.

Kettlebells Compared to Normal Strength Training

Kettlebell workouts typically are designed to maximize the effected muscle groups compared to standard strength training exercises that focus on one muscle group at a time. This allows for you to get a complete workout in less time than if you worked out with traditional strength training equipment. Additionally, unlike normal strength training equipment, when lifting a kettlebell, the weight's center of balance is extended past the hand. This allows for a swinging motion and a constant change in the weight's center of balance that is unavailable with standard dumbbells or barbells. By swinging a kettlebell, the user will have to engage her core to maintain control, which helps produce an excellent whole body workout.

Finally, unlike normal weight lifting, kettlebells provide both a cardio and strength training program simultaneously. Having to engage multiple muscles and the constant moving nature of the kettlebell will cause the user to have a higher heart rate than normal seated weight lifting.

Kettlebell Safety

Proper use of kettlebells is essential to avoid injury. Because these weights involve multiple joints at once, one must have both strength and coordination before beginning an intense kettlebell program. It is important to slowly adjust and master the moves when beginning kettlebell training. Often people attempt to lift or workout with a kettlebell that is too heavy. This can cause injuries to joints, the neck and the spine.

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