What Is A Kettlebell? The King Of Swingers
With home gymnasiums becoming more and more popular especially after certain global events, some of you may be thinking of converting a room or just having a space to workout in. With so many pieces of equipment to consider it can be over whelming to the newbie what to go for. You don’t need the old “Argos special” multi gym that takes over the entire living room from back in the day to get a decent workout in.
In the first of an ongoing series of posts I am going to cover what different types of training equipment you can use at home and if they are any good. First of all i’m going to look at what a kettlebell is and are they worth using at home or back at the gym?
What Are We Dealing With?
A kettlebell is a ball with a handle attached to it that resembles a shot put or cannonball. They come in all shapes and sizes from 2kg all the way to 50kg (i’m keeping well away from one this heavy). I have found that the best ones to use are cast iron, as they are correctly balanced and the handles are thicker and easier to grip, which is better for grip strength. Given the option I wouldn’t use a plastic one unless it had a chunky handle, as most of the plastic ones I have seen or used feel flimsy and uncomfortable to use.
The kettlebell originates from Russia where they were used as weights in agriculture, then in the 19th century they started being used by strong men in the circus and gradually they were adopted recreationally and in competition. The first documented case of this was in 1885 with the founding of “The Circle of Amateur Athletics” in Russia. Use in Europe followed with a gradual spread across the globe. Recent use by numerous athletes and more notably MMA fighters across the world for functional training before and after competition.
Different Kettle Of Fish
The thing with a kettlebell is how versatile they are and how they can work the entire body in a single workout, which will leave you regretting ever picking one up in the first place (they can be brutal). Don’t let this put you off, as using just a 6kg to start will be more than enough for you to keep a good posture, get through the workout and prevent any injuries trying to be a hero using a heavier weight, just because Joe Rogan does (he’s my hero). A kettlebell combines strength training with cardiovascular training, which means you can get both elements with one killer workout.
By doing basic movements which include the swing, snatch and clean & jerk build strength and endurance in areas like the back, shoulders, legs and hands with increased grip strength make a kettlebell one of the most important pieces of kit to use, not just for beginners but seasoned veterans as well.
Be The Bell Of The Ball
So where do you begin? Well, light and short. Take a light weight such as a 6kg (I know it doesn’t sound heavy enough, but it will be) and practice some basic exercises to get used to how the kettlebell feels as it will be working various muscle groups at once, don’t worry about how you look swinging a lightweight, just concentrate on your posture and how the kettlbell moves.
Once you get the hang of using it, increase the time spent on said exercises to lengthen the workout, but build up slowly. One of the obvious dangers of using this type of equipment is dropping them, losing grip while swinging or having the kettlebell over extend or buckle your joints when tired or not concentrating. Take care to not smash the weight into your body and take time to practice flipping it onto our forearm for certain exercises, as it can leave big bruises if you don’t cushion the flip.
You can work up to lengths of an hour if required, but i’ve never done this and don’t think you need to, if you have the correct weight for yourself. I normally do a maximum of around 30 minutes with a 16kg cast iron kettlebell and by the time I have finished I feel like i’ve been in a MMA fight (I feel battered). The difference with this type of training is that you do a larger number of reps compared to lifting normal weights which can be similar to high intensity interval training. You can also progress to using two kettlebells at once when you have experience using one, just make sure you use two lighter weights, to start as it does feel very different using two, after only using one for so long.
Check out the clip below for some of the basic exercises you can do with a kettlebell.
I think kettlebells are one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment anyone could use at home or the gym. They offer a solid full body and cardiovascular workout, just make sure if you are new to them you start off light and don’t go too hard too soon. We don’t want any unnecessary injuries and always be aware of your surroundings…especially when using these.
If you don’t want to end up accumulating a lot equipment or to take up too much space at home, then look no further than a kettlebell for all your fitness needs. Just be careful where you are swinging it…enjoy.
Click any image below to grab your own kettlebell
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