8 Reasons You Should Use Kettlebells
As someone who has been weight training for most of my adult life, I’m always interested in adding new stimulus to my program. In general, I believe that an effective weight training program revolves around the 5-6 major movement patterns, repeated consistently. However, I do like to add in new things every now and again to compliment them.
I’ve found that adding kettlebell exercises to my training regimen is a great way to keep things fresh. Using kettlebells has helped me build more functional strength and it adds a new challenge to my regular programming, which I really enjoy.
Kettlebells have been around for a long time — since the 19th century in fact. They originated in Russia, where they were used for lifting contests. Kettlebells became much more popular around 1948, when kettlebell lifting became the national sport of the Soviet Union. Since then, they have remained a mainstay in many training programs.
If you’ve never used kettlebells in your training, here’s 8 reasons why you should start:
1.) Kettlebells will help you improve your grip.
Having better grip strength can transfer over to helping you with other lifts where grip is important — like the deadlift. A stronger grip is also helpful in many instances outside the gym. For example, those who work in construction or auto mechanics will greatly benefit from improving their grip.
2.) Kettlebells save space.
Kettlebells can be used in small areas of your home if space is at a premium. Gym equipment like squat racks, barbells, and benches take up a lot of room. With kettlebells, you can get effective workouts in even when you don’t have a large area to do it.
3.) Kettlebells can increase stability in your joints and core.
Kettlebells are designed differently than dumbbells, so their weight distribution and feel is very different. They are much more challenging to use for things like overhead pressing and various core exercises, as opposed to dumbbells which have a more uniform weight distribution. Due to this difference in distribution, your core and joints will try to compensate, causing them to become more stable over time.
4.) Kettlebells will increase your range of motion.
Looking at a kettlebell, you will see that the handle is situated above the weighted portion. This will allow for a larger range of motion on certain exercises, like the bent over row for example. A greater range of motion leads to more muscle stimulus and benefit over time.
5.) Kettlebells can improve your functional fitness.
Functional fitness is training movements that mimic everyday activities. The common movements you use with kettlebells are more similar to to everyday life movements that involve picking things up. Unlike dumbbells and weight plates, very few things in your real life will have uniform weight distribution. So using kettlebells can actually help make it easier to handle things like lifting heavy boxes or groceries.
6.) Kettlebells are extremely versatile.
Once of the great things about kettlebells is that they can be used in almost any movement you can think of in the gym. There’s no limits to what they can do, which means you can get more variety and effective training with limited equipment. You could build a great home gym with an adjustable bench, kettlebells and nothing else.
7.) Kettlebells allow for easier multi-planar movement.
Multi-planar movement means moving your body in different directions. These three “directions” are sagittal (forward and backward), frontal (side-to-side), and transverse (rotational movement). Many lifts only take place in a forward and backward fashion, but that’s not life. Being able to move in multiple planes of motion is important, especially if you’re athlete. Kettlebells can help you do that much more easily than a dumbbell can.
8.) Kettlebells can be a better or safer option.
If you aren’t an experienced lifter or have restrictions with your programming, certain movements can be intimidating. Some of the compound movements in the gym like deadlifts & squats are technical and require a high attention to detail to do correctly. Kettlebell variations can be an easy entry point for you to wade into these lifts.
Kettlebells are an outstanding tool to add to your training repertoire. In my experience, they provide additional benefits to a standard barbell and dumbbell training program. Give some kettlebell training a try and see for yourself!
Don’t know where to start with kettlebell-specific movements? Check out our tutorials!
Email [email protected] with any comments, questions, or concerns. Or if you are interested in becoming a blog contributor.