Ah, kettlebells: Those giant industrial-looking blobs of metal. What’s the point of them when we have more “refined” weights like dumbbells and barbells? As it turns out, they may very well be the best weight in the gym. The simple but thoughtful design of the kettlebell gives it unique benefits that continue to make it a staple in any fitness routine.
If kettlebells look like something born out of bygone era, it’s because they are. They were first developed by Russian farmers in the 18th Century as tools to weigh crops. Because of their compact design and versatility, the Soviet army began using them in their physical training. They later caught on across the world.
Here’s what makes kettlebells so valuable, and why we still use them today:
One kettlebell can offer enough exercises to work out your entire body. Snatches, cleans, squats, presses, deadlifts, Turkish getups — the list goes on and on. There is hardly a body part that the kettlebell can’t target.
Kettlebells are compact and nearly indestructible. Unlike a barbell or rack of dumbbells, they’re small enough to keep and use at home. Two or three kettlebells is all you may need for a makeshift home gym.
The kettlebell’s center of mass extends outside the hand, unlike traditional dumbbells. This makes them ideal for swinging or ballistic movements – ones that accelerate a weight. Unstable force requires you to use more of your body to control the movement, which uses more muscles and makes it a better workout.
Power = Speed x Strength. Common kettlebell movements require fast muscular contractions, which help to build up your power endurance. This will help improve your body’s capacity for completing multiple reps of quick movements like the clean and the snatch.
Fat Loss & Conditioning
Power endurance training is essentially a form of metabolic conditioning, or what we call a “metcon.” These intense exercises, which we do daily in the gym, help to increase the body’s capacity for the storage and delivery of energy. Furthermore, metabolic conditioning has been found to be one of the most effective forms of exercise for fat and calorie loss.
Want to learn more about kettlebells and how to use them? CrossFit City of Angels is hosting a special Kettlebell Seminar on Saturday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. Certified kettlebell expert Anton Summers will help you improve your technique and teach you new exercises you never knew you could do with a kettlebell! Anyone is welcome to attend, but CFCOA athletes get a special price of $35. Sign up at the gym or e-mail Jino if you have questions.