by Ian Cutting
I was talking to someone recently about fitness and training, and the subject of the kettlebell came up. At one point during this part of our conversation they stopped me and asked, “What is it about kettlebells, how do they work…what makes them so special?”
First of all, I believe in in kettlebells as a training tool, and both I and many clients I train use them frequently to great success. I believe they can help almost anyone improve their health and fitness, and make progress towards and achieve practically any training or lifestyle related goal.
“Well, they…” and I went on to say a little bit about how they are a useful tool and you can do a lot with them. While I’m pretty sure nothing I said was wrong, I realized I hadn’t given them a good answer. It put me off to no be able to talk about them in the way I know I should be able to, and that would actually help someone who didn’t know anything about them. There needed to be a better explanation, especially for those who might have never used kettlebells before and are unsure of their benefits.
So I sat down and thought about a few of the key reasons why kettlebells work and what makes them so effective.
• They’re adaptable: You can perform many different variations of squats, hinges, pushes and pulls, lunges, loaded carries, and even rotations with kettlebells.
• They’re scalable: With many different weights and all of those movement patterns to choose from, you can more easily adjust the loading and exercises depending on your body and training needs.
• They’re portable: As fitness equipment goes, kettlebells aren’t hard to move around and don’t take up that much space. Keep a bell in your car or basement or garage and there’s no excuses not to get something done.
• They’re versatile: They can be used to build muscular strength, power and endurance, for cardio/conditioning, increasing mobility and improving balance, even more isolation work for rehab/prehab purposes.
• They’re efficient: You don’t need to spend all day training. You can pack a lot of work into a small(er) amount of time.
Ultimately, all of those add up to the most important point. Kettlebells are effective because they eliminate many of the most common excuses for why people don’t exercise.
You can perform virtually any movement with kettlebells, and they help keep training simple because there’s always a more or less advanced version of an exercise to work on. You can bring them anywhere because they don’t take up much space in your car. If you’re too busy to make it to the gym, you can exercise at home. If you don’t live near a gym, they’re a great, durable, low cost training tool that last a long time.
Kettlebells give you a way to train for any health and fitness goal, and help you train consistently by eliminating many common excuses. At the end of the day, consistency is most important factor of all in your making the progress and achieving the results you’re looking for.
Without diving deeper into more science-y answers for how kettlebells work (that’s an article for a later date), those are a few of the reasons for what makes them so special. So the next time someone asks you about the benefits of kettlebells, you’ll have some solid answers to give them.
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