How Do Kettlebells Affect Your Physique? (Many Positive Benefits To Consider)
Kettlebells in recent years have become more popular and caught the attention of many, due to the fact a variety of athletes and MMA fighters use them in their workouts.
From their Russian origins, they have now become a respected and required piece of equipment in any gym or studio.
What does a kettlebell physique look like?
If you haven’t really used them before, you may be wondering…
How Do Kettlebells Affect Your Physique?
With regular use and depending on certain factors like diet, genetics and volume of training etc, your physique can change dramatically, by becoming leaner and more sculpted. You will gain strength and endurance with the type of exercises that are performed with just a single kettlebell. Your cardiovascular output should also sky rocket and you will get a stronger core and better stability. You have to realise that you will never get that “body builder look” using them (not that this is the look you’re going for), but a more athletic and toned torso, with bags of functional fitness in your locker. Interestingly on the flip side, by lifting very heavy kettlebells, you can gain a thicker physique (Olympic lifter), should this be the look you aspire to?
A kettlebell physique can affect your body in a number of ways, so let’s look at what these may be and how improving one aspect can complement others.
Providing you iron out any beginners postural problems which are natural when attempting any new kind of training, you will find over time that your posture in general will be better and you will notice a difference to the way you hold yourself.
Kettlebells make use of so many muscles at one time due to the compound nature of the exercises that are performed.
A lot of kettlebell exercises work the posterior chain, these are the muscles that run down the back of your body:
- Upper back
- Lower back
As you will know, kettlebells involve the use of swinging exercises (swing, snatch, cleans etc) that will utilise the muscles above more than a regular isolation exercise would.
You can also expect to see a rapid improvement in your core strength, which in turn will help improve your posture.
In any movement stabiliser muscles act to stabilise one joint so that the desired movement can be performed in another joint.
These muscles usually aren’t directly involved in a movement, but work to keep you steady so that your primary muscles can do their job.
Stabiliser muscles will not only help improve your posture but help increase your strength too.
One of the first things you will notice from training with kettlebells is the strength in your forearms and also grip strength.
Due to the kettlebells weight being offset, this means that the majority of the weight is in the “bell” itself and not the handle.
This makes training interesting and more demanding due to the fact you are always having to control the kettlebell more than a dumbbell for example.
As you will know, a dumbbell feels more comfortable due to the fact the centre of mass is through the handle.
As mentioned above, due to the fact kettlebells use a large variety of muscles when doing certain exercises, you will gain great “functional fitness” strength.
Functional fitness involves doing movements that mimic everyday actions, these incorporate multiple muscles groups at the same time, to build strength, stability and mobility across the body, allowing the body to move and operate as it should.
Doing these type of exercises with a heavy kettlebell will have the same desired effect, just as it would when using a barbell or other weights.
Some common functional exercises include:
- Bodyweight squats
- Jumping jacks
- Jumping, lunging, or box jumps
- Jump squats
- Lateral bounds (running from side to side)
- Movements done while balancing on one leg
- Walking lunges
There are two types of training when it comes to kettlebells and they are Grinds and Ballistics?
Grinds involve kettlebells being lifted up and down (presses, squats, windmills, get-ups etc).
Ballistics involves the kettlebell to be swung through two-planes of motion (swings, cleans and snatches).
For weight loss or improving conditioning, ballistics should supersede grinds.
Ballistics using two heavy kettlebells are good for boosting testosterone levels for a good hypertrophy session, but the bulk of a session should be made up of grinds.
You will gain explosive power when using kettlebells and all round strength, which will help alter your physique.
Kettlebell exercises will also help with any muscular imbalances you have, as the type of functional movements will encourage the correct use of the body as opposed to isolating the muscles with regular weight lifting methods.
Some kettlebell exercises may feel awkward and cumbersome to begin with, but preserve and you will also feel the use of muscles you didn’t think or know you had.
Exercising with kettlebells will dramatically improve your cardiovascular output, as kettlebell routines are a fusion between strength and endurance.
High repetition kettlebell lifting over time will build your endurance levels up and with that you will find your stamina levels will get way better too.
With the majority of kettlebell exercises being compound movements, you will be getting more of a full body workout, than you would with other equipment and thus improving your fitness levels in the process.
This ties in to increasing fitness levels across the board, while altering the shape of your physique to be more athletic due to the nature of the workouts.
Kettlebell training is different from regular training in that you don’t really go to failure with them as you would with regular weights.
Although lifting very heavy kettlebells will give you same desired effect as lifting a barbell or dumbbells.
So training this way will build a thicker physique, more similar to an olympic weight lifter, as opposed to a more athletic look training for longer with a medium to heavy kettlebell.
Once again, find the right balance to see what works for you.
However, if you are lifting very heavy kettlebells, you won’t build the same endurance as you would with a medium to heavy kettlebell doing longer sessions.
Incorporating kettlebell training with running for example, will be beneficial and work in conjunction with each other very well and you will see rapid improvements in your running if you do so.
Check out my Runners kettlebell workout here.
This type of training works well with fat loss, as a 20 – 40 minute kettlebell routine will burn some serious calories, while also improving your cardiovascular output and strength.
Although, if you aren’t really keen on traditional cardio methods (running, bike, elliptical machine or rowing), kettlebells will be a great alternative to that and work just as well and you will get the added bonus of increasing your strength no end too! Win Win!
4. Other Things To Consider
You can’t over look certain factors when it comes to how kettlebells can alter your physique. As your diet is an essential component regarding any kind of muscular or fat loss gain. Not to mention you’re genetics too.
You will know that diet and genetics work both hand in hand with a solid kettlebell schedule to give you the best possible chance of achieving any given goal you are working towards.
Related – Are Kettlebells Good For Hypertrophy?
What Is A Kettlebell Physique – Final Thoughts…
From my experience, kettlebell training has altered my physique to be more athletic and lean. This is down to the sessions I do which last between 15 – 30 minutes and incorporate a range of different workouts – from full body, upper body and lower body workouts.
I have a range of different kettlebell weights between 10kg – 20kg and go between them depending on which exercise suits the weight.
The use of functional training will help not only your physique, but the general daily running of your body with the methods used.
You will gain explosive power and strength, as well as better endurance and stamina.
There isn’t really many drawbacks to using kettlebells, other than the fact you can go too heavy too soon and do some damage and get injured.
However, play around with different weights to see how they feel to you. Don’t worry about how this influencer or that person uses a 30kg kettlebell etc.
Start off light, get your technique down and then you can progress to heavier kettlebells in time.
Workouts This Way…
If you enjoyed this, then please check out the YouTube channel, with over 60 workouts which include the use of kettlebells, resistance bands, dumbbells and even body weight exercises too.
Don’t forget, I will be adding more workouts weekly to help you stay fit and healthy at home with just the use of a kettlebell.
Heres one for you to try below…
With workouts of all types, for all fitness levels. You know that we have you covered, so stay tuned for more.
Keep practising this workout and increase those reps until the next workout drops in a weeks time. You won’t regret it!