Historically, kettlebells were used to counter-weigh market goods in Russia. Now, they line the racks of gyms all around the globe. That’s because people began to realize that if they used these teapot-shaped weights for dynamic workouts, they could get a great workout in a short amount of time. So, today we want to look into using kettlebells for muscle building. Is it efficient? Let’s find out.
Kettlebells are round, weighted objects, with a handle on top for your grip. This handle holds the magic of the kettlebell. It allows you to swing the kettlebell while displacing the weight. The way the weight is displaced requires you to utilize your core to counteract the weight and efficiently lift or perform kettlebell swings, making it required to use multiple muscle groups at once. These are compact tools that are a great addition to your home gym and can give you a full-body, aerobic, and strength training workout (all at once).
Whether your goal is to build muscle mass and strength, or you enjoy gains as a nice added benefit of working out, kettlebells are a dynamic workout that will make your muscles scream. A healthy workout routine has a mix of cardio, strength, and—you guessed it—rest. The beauty of the kettlebell is it can give you a powerful cardio workout and build your strength, which we all need to focus on as we age. Kettlebells are unique because they allow you to move with resistance. You will be forced to work on balance, mobility, range of motion, core strength, and you will be able to challenge yourself with higher weight once you have your form down. A tool like this is perfect for building muscle where you need it most. Some people have reported burning through 900 calories in one-hour of a kettlebell workout! That’s a whole lot of calorie burn.
When you are building strength with kettlebells, you will typically be completing a functional movement. Functional movements, according to Wikipedia, “are movements based on real-world situational biomechanics. They usually involve multi-planar, multi-joint movements which place demand on the body’s core musculature and innervation.” Meaning, basically, the movements that you use to function, such as walking, lunging, core rotations, and the like. With dumbbells or barbells, you might be sitting or lying on a bench while lifting. But, by using kettlebell movements for strength training, you are typically squatting, standing, swinging, and engaging your core through each movement. All of this allows you to build strength in the areas that assist your functional movement (known as functional mass) where you use it and need it most.
Whether you are new to weight lifting or not, if you are starting with kettlebells, you should start small. Because this equipment requires you to move and engage your muscles differently than with a regular weightlifting workout, it is essential to perfect your form to avoid injury. Once your form is down, and you are comfortable with the exercise, then you can up the amount of weight. It can be tempting if you are lifting heavy with free weights, to want to dive right in. But, just because you can lift a more substantial amount, does not mean you should. Starting with the lightest kettlebell while you practice is probably your best bet. We want you to stay injury-free during your kettlebell exercise so that you can continue practicing as the years go on.
You can find kettlebells in most gyms across the USA, or online to have them handy for your at-home workouts. You will need quite a bit of space for a successful workout as you will be swinging the weight around, and you do not want to interrupt anyone else’s workout (or damage your beautiful home). So, find a spot with ample room, and try these moves for beginners, or look up other resources online. If you have been wondering, do kettlebells build muscle? You can try a kettlebell workout at home or stop by a Chuze Fitness near you. We cannot wait to be a part of your fitness journey.