Kettlebells are an interesting piece of equipment. Most gyms carry some and often people might give them a sideways
glance or watch as other people use them. But overall, unless you are an experienced gym rat or under the tutelage of an experienced trainer you probably haven’t picked them up.
Honestly that probably is a good idea. Kettlebells are a great piece of equipment but you typically don’t use them like you would a dumbbell. While there are some ways in which a dumbbell could be used instead, usually the kettlebell exercises involve slightly different movements so it is safer if you have someone show you how to do them rather than make a painful mistake in their misuse. Plus doing it wrong kills the potential benefits!
Benefit of K-Bells
Kettlebells shot into popularity as the hottest, coolest thing since sliced bread. But that is pretty common in the fitness industry. However there is an argument about how effective they are compared to traditional weights for getting the maximum size and strength gains.
Straight to the facts, studies have shown that kettlebell routines cannot compare to using traditional barbell and dumbbell exercises for gaining muscle size and strength. It just gets down to a simple matter that you can load more weight on a barbell for squats compared to using a single bell doing goblet squats. Other compound exercises like the bench press, deadlift, and barbell row are not going to be recreated with a kettlebell. Most kettlebells in the gym don’t usually even get that heavy.
But that isn’t what kettlebell exercises are all about. The goal of most kettlebell programs is to work on becoming leaner, stronger, and more athletic. You typically perform single exercises that activate multiple muscles along a specific motion that the shape of the bell accentuates. These movements are done for high reps for a minute or more using lighter weight comparatively. That is why generally in the gym you only have pairs of bells going up to 35 or 40 pounds.
What is Your Goal?
Kettlebell exercises do really work. But, you need to understand what they work and the general purpose behind a routine using them. If you just want bigger muscles as quickly as possible along with brute strength then you should stick to a standard barbell and dumbbell regimen that mimics powerlifting and bodybuilding.
But, if you are looking to burn fat, develop more lean muscle, add coordination, and generally build a more athletic body then kettlebell exercises are for you. For example, if you are really into being a weekend sports warrior and playing things like softball or basketball then you will benefit from a bell workout. It is going to help build muscle strength and endurance in a more useful manner than can directly relate to your athletic endeavors.
It is not that standard weightlifting can’t do these things like working on core strength and muscles used in these activities; it is just the kettlebell exercises do it better along with improving speed and flexibility which are vital components in athletics.