Kettlebells aren’t only for elite athletes; they benefit all fitness enthusiasts of all ages from beginners to experienced weightlifters!
There are a whole variety of exercises and actions that can be achieved with kettlebells. The dynamic nature of kettlebell training promotes flexibility as movement takes place through an increased range of motion (ROM). The whole body is often involved as many parts are being challenged by gravitational force. This means that lower weights can be very effective. For example, swinging an 8kg kettlebell could equate to 56kg pulling force with each kettlebell swing action!!
Technique is key however, although exercises such as the kettlebell swing is really quite straightforward to learn. It improves posture, strengthens your posterior chain, strengthens the heart AND can help you to lose weight. If you learn more kettlebell exercises, this opens up the opportunity to vary the workout and create fun circuits or complexes (a number of kettlebell exercises completed using repetitions and sets).
Metabolism is quickly elevated with kettlebell training due to multiple muscle groups and your entire neuro-muscular system being activated. In a short time, you can get an excellent workout and keep your metabolism raised for a good while after you finish your training session, therefore using stored energy during and after your workout!
An example of this was found in a study of kettlebell complexes, which revealed that the body uses extra energy for up to 38 hours post training, therefore our metabolism can be elevated for 114 hours per week by just training 3 x per week.
Improved cardiovascular fitness
In a research study, a 12 mins stint of kettlebell swings using a 16kg kettlebell revealed that “continuous kettlebell swings can impart a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increaseVo2max” (maximum (max) rate (V) of oxygen (O₂) your body is able to use during exercise) and concluded that “team coaches may improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of their athletes.” (Farrar, Ryan, Mayhew, Jerry, Koch & Alexander2010)
Another recent study found that subjects used up the same amount of energy during a 20-minute kettlebell snatch test, as if running at a 6 min/mile pace.
Improved body composition
Decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle is a desirable outcome associated with resistance training. Kettlebell training targets the posterior chain including big muscle groups such as the hamstrings, gluteus maximus and erector spinae. Kettlebell swings are safer for your back than traditional weightlifting such as deadlifts. The core is involved in most kettlebell exercises and some, such as the Turkish-Get-Up work the body in a very controlled manner by holding the kettlebell stationary and above the head during the movement.
So, if you are looking for a fitness regime with maximum benefits … why not try kettlebell training?
Forever Fit with Fiona