Strength, Power, and Endurance with Kettlebells

by tinareale on November 21, 2012

This week’s guest post features a wonderful post from Lynn Gieger, a writer for Everyday Health – an online resource with numerous health and fitness articles, tools, recipes, and more. Lynn talks about kettlebells in today’s post and they they work so well.

I know I love incorporating some kettlebells into my fitness! Take it away, Lynn!

If someone told you to exercise with a cast iron cannonball, using a program designed by a Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, you’d think they were nuts until you try an energizing and fun kettlebell workout. Then you’re hooked.

Meaghan Kennedy Philip of Danby, VT says “I feel like I get a larger range of motion and get more bang for my buck” using kettlebells. She’s not alone. Kettlebell workouts are popping up in gyms, online, and on DVDs. Pavel Tsatsouline, a Soviet Special Forces coach, wrote The Russian Kettlebell Challenge in 2001, starting the fitness craze that increases strength, endurance and balance with dynamic total body movements swinging a kettlebell – basically a cast iron bowling ball with a handle.

Today’s kettlebells come in a range of weights from 8-48 kg and are made from steel, the traditional cast iron, or hard pliable materials. Some kettlebells are filled with sand, and others are vinyl-coated in black or bright colors like bright blue or neon orange. Instead of needing several different weights of dumbbells or a room full of exercise equipment, you can get a full-body workout in 30 minutes using just one kettlebell. Rachel Grabowski Payne of Bennington, VT says she loves the variety of exercises with kettlebells, “swings, high pulls, sit ups, cleans, deadlifts, squats, timed walks holding the bell – the list goes on and on!”

A May 2012 article in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reports that kettlebells are a useful alternative to more traditional strength and conditioning workouts. Use kettlebells to:

1. Increase muscle tone and strength
2. Burn calories
3. Build stamina and endurance
4. Improve core strength

Correct form when using kettlebells is essential to promote safety and avoid injury. Usually men start with a 16kg kettlebell and women with 8kg. Use kettelbells in place of dumbbells for any type of strength exercise, or increase aerobic fitness while building power in your core with the kettlebell swing. Swinging a heavy cast iron ball may sound simple, but try it without learning how to correctly perform the exercise, and you’re setting yourself up for injury. Look for a kettlebell-certified trainer to teach you the basics before you try any exercises on your own. Swing a kettlebell with incorrect form and you run the risk of creating back, shoulder or knee injuries.

Add a kettlebell workout to your weekly exercise routine to challenge your muscles, increase your overall fitness, and have fun while working up a sweat. You may not turn into a Soviet Special Forces fitness trainer, but you’ll feel amazing!

Guest blogger Lynn Gieger specializes in fitness and calorie burning exercise as a contributor for Everyday Health and its calorie counter.

Your Turn: Do you ever incorporate kettlebells into your training?


1 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian November 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I love kettlebells! They get your heart up quickly and are great for toning your whole body. I jave several exercise videos that use kettlebells and all are great workouts.

2 Lisa November 21, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Kettle bells are a fantastic workout! I’ve been incorporating them into my weight lifting routines 2-3 times a week for a few months. I noticed quickly that my core strength was improving. Also, kettle bells are my boyfriend’s sole source of fitness and it helped him fix his back injury!

3 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 22, 2012 at 7:15 am

Kettlebells are awesome but I honestly also find them a bit intimidating. Seeing as my gym is amazing with including all sorts of workout accessories (foam rolls, kettlebells, TRX, etc), I’m working to bash that intimidation and become a master! ;)

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