Kettlebells have been used for decades, but they have seen a great rise in popularity in the past few years. You may have heard of them, but do not really know what all of the hubbub is about. If you have ever wondered what a kettlebell is or why you should add it to your fitness routine, look no further.
The kettlebell itself is a cast-iron ball with a looped handle on top. Weights usually range from 2 – 100+ pounds. Unlike a dumbbell, which has its center of gravity in your hand, the kettlebell has a center of gravity outside of your hand which requires multi-directional movement to stabilize the kettlebell and better mimics real life movements.
The reason that kettlebell training has been getting to much attention lately is because it requires functional, whole body fitness. Multiple muscle groups have to work together and all at once to control kettlebell movements, especially those in your core. Believe it or not, this is both a cardio and a strength training machine. Two-for-one!
Because this is a total body workout, you can get an intense sweat going and not be spending precious hours in the gym away from school, friends, and family. The list of benefits is a lengthy one, but here are just a few:
- Improved coordination and agility
- Better posture and alignment
- Increased bone density from weight-bearing exercise
- Increased power and endurance
- Low risk of injury when correct form is used
- Time efficient and simple exercises
Just a word of warning before you dive in. Start off with a lighter weight and make sure that your form is perfect before you move up in weight to avoid injury. If your gym offers a class or coaches to help correct your form, take them up on their offer! Kettlebells are like nothing you’ve used before, so movements may take some time before they become second-nature.
No kettlebells at your gym yet? That’s okay! Voice your opinions and suggest that they invest in a set of kettlebells! They won’t regret it and neither will you. Here’s a nifty kettlebell workout from Women’s Health that you can do the next time that you’re at the gym!
Ellen Ratliff is a Senior Health Writer at College Lifestyles ™. She is a junior at Michigan State University, majoring in Dietetics with a specialization in Health Promotions. She started using kettlebells in January 2012 and hasn’t looked back since.