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The Basics of Kettlebells

by Faith Judson


What do kettlebells even do? Traditional weights, like dumbbells and barbells, have been around in the fitness field for as long as anyone can remember. However, kettlebells seem to be the new, hot fitness trend. Many people may wonder if kettlebells are meant to replace traditional weights, or what the purpose of kettlebells is. Some may even see them as pointless since traditional weights have always done their job.

Kettlebells are not trying to replace traditional weights. Kettlebells will increase strength, but they also effectively increase power and endurance. Kettlebells are great to practice explosive movements, where the body must stabilize in a way it does not with traditional weights and exercises. These movements, such as kettlebell swings, provide the ability for the body to work in multiple planes, as well as work multiple muscles at the same time.  For example, kettlebell swings effectively work the hamstrings, glutes, and latissimus dorsi, as well as abdominal, shoulder, and chest muscles all at the same time. They also provide an aerobic aspect to resistance training, as endurance is a major component of exercises like the kettlebell swings. Kettlebells are effective for these explosive and high-repetition exercises in a way traditional weights may not be.

The good thing about traditional weights and kettlebells is that both can be used in a workout session. It is important to pick the right equipment for the exercises being performed, but one does not have to stick with either dumbbells or kettlebells the entire time. In fact, workouts as a whole are most effective when mixing both types of equipment into the session - that way strength, power, and endurance are being developed, while burning more calories and keeping the heart rate up. Choosing the right equipment for exercises and developing strength, power, and speed will create effective workouts.

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