Most everyone is familiar with the kettlebell by now, but if you are not, it looks like a cannonball with a handle, and it is one of the best pieces of fitness equipment ever developed!
The shape is what makes the kettlebell so effective. You can swing it, clean it, or snatch it overhead for a great ballistic workout. Or, you can use it to build strength with presses, squats, and Turkish get ups.
Each of these movements demands unique physical qualities that will provide you with amazing benefits. Here are 5 reasons why:
#1 Kettlebell Exercises Build Total Body Strength
Training with kettlebells can rapidly improve your strength and provide a total body workout. Because you are training in all planes of motion (front-to-back, side-to-side and rotational), you build strength in all muscle groups, simultaneously.
#2 Kettlebells Improve Posture
Hinging exercises, in which you bend from the hips, such as the swing, clean and snatch, activate muscles that are often “sleepy” in our modern world: the glutes and the lats. These muscles are the two most important players in our posterior chain.
Gluteus maximus (your butt muscle) is the biggest and strongest muscle in the lower body. By performing kettlebell hinging exercises, your glutes become active, which causes your hip flexors to relax. This allows your spine to go into a neutral position, the foundation for a natural s-shaped spine.
The second muscle group, the latissimus dorsi (the lats) is the largest muscle in the upper body and it is primarily responsible for upper body pulling movements. But in hinging exercises, the lats stabilize the upper back and prevent the kettlebell from pulling your shoulders forward, thus opening up your chest and improving upper back posture.
#3 Kettlebells Burn More Fat in Less Time
Kettlebell training is one of the best ways to burn fat. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that there was an acute hormonal response to the kettlebell swing, consisting of an extreme rise in both growth hormone and testosterone, two fat burning hormones for men and women.
When you perform kettlebell circuits, correctly executing a series of multi-joint exercises, you recruit an enormous amount of muscles. The more muscles you use, the more energy that is required, the more fat you burn.
#4 Kettlebells are Functional
Training with kettlebells can develop strength and stability from head to toe. Kettlebell exercises train your body to move as one coordinated unit, by linking muscle groups and joints together by way of the kinetic chain (a linkage system). These movements emulate the way your body moves in everyday activities and sports, such as: squatting, hinging, pushing, pulling, lunging and twisting.
#5 Kettlebells are Fun!
Surprisingly, kettlebell training is actually fun. The movements require so much focus that you cannot think about anything but the task at hand. So the training keeps you totally engaged; you are never bored.
The challenge of training with kettlebells and the experience of constantly learning new skills will give you a great feeling of accomplishment as you understand the movements and increase the weight, resulting in a leaner and stronger body. This training is very different from other modalities and in time, you may find yourself totally addicted to these workouts!