The humble kettlebell can be intimidating to someone who is not familiar with how they are used, and they are often overlooked. Kettlebell training has some distinct advantages over other training tools, and using kettlebells in your workouts can challenge your body, build strength, stamina, endurance and flexibility unlike other pieces of equipment. They can be used for just about anything, from high-rep HIIT workouts to low-rep heavy strength movements, and they’re especially great for compound moves such as swings, squats and overhead exercises. The combination of explosiveness, strength, cardiovascular potential, flexibility and core strength required when moving a kettlebell through a workout is what makes it such a great tool for everyone.
The shape of the kettlebell is what makes it so unique. A dumbbell has a focussed centre of gravity, but a kettlebell's shape and off-centre mass creates a more functional aspect, encouraging you to use smaller stabilising muscles, especially in the core. This shape also improves grip strength which transfers to any other strength training you may do, as well as every day activities.
As a Personal Trainer, I use a kettlebell at some point with all of my clients, and I find it especially useful for teaching the essential hip hinge, using kettlebell swings and kettlebell RDLs. It's also a perfect introduction to the Olympic lifts due to the ability to use the kettlebell to teach speed form the hips and power in these movements. I also utilise the fact that in one movement such as the kettlebell swing, both strength and conditioning benefits can be achieved, and so this is an exercise I often add into my training programs. If you need any inspiration to pick up the kettlebell the next time you are in the gym, or even purchase one yourself, here are some great exercises you can use one for:
Kettlebell Swing RDL (and single leg variation)
Clean & Press
Overhead Walking Lunges
Turkish Get Up
If you are unsure on the correct technique for any of these exercises, get in touch and I would be happy to help.
So, if you find yourself becoming bored with traditional exercises or having to be in the gym at all, consider using kettlebells - they can be used anywhere and an intense full body workout can be created with just this one piece of equipment. If you are planning on buying one piece of equipment for a home gym, make sure it's a kettlebell!