10 Reasons To Add Kettlebells To Your Home Fitness Gear

March 12, 2016

The word “kettlebell” used to bring to mind a hairy Russian strongman with a big mustache, hefting black metal weights with handles.

But in the last decade, kettlebells as a workout tool have been dusted off, covered in brightly colored vinyl, and incorporated into modern day fitness routines. Here we take a look at why kettlebells should be a part of your home gym, along with some exercises to do with them.

1. Kettlebells do not take up a lot of space.


Compared to treadmills, stationary bikes and weight machines, kettlebells take up almost no space. Most exercisers start off with just one or two kettlebells and these can easily be stashed in a closet or corner when not in use.

If you decide on a more extensive collection, they can be stored on sturdy racks or shelves designed to hold heavy weights, or simply lined up on the floor of your exercise area.

2. You can get a set of kettlebells for the same price as a larger machine.


Single kettlebells are not cheap if they are well made, running about $30-$50 each. They are solid metal, usually coated with vinyl to spare your floors, and resemble cannonballs with handles. They are comparable in price to well-made dumbbells, but much less expensive than treadmills and other machines.

You can start off with just one or two and add onto your set if desired. However, there are so many versatile exercises to do with kettlebells, you will be surprised how far just one kettlebell can take you toward your fitness goals.

3. Kettlebell movements are functional movements.


You rarely do a clean and jerk or a grapevine walk in real life, but most kettlebell exercises simulate real movements, and build the same muscles that you use in everyday activities.

For example, an exercise called the “farmer’s walk” involves holding a kettlebell in each hand like a farmer would hold a pair of buckets filled with milk, and walking in a slow and controlled movement back and forth or around your exercise area.

4. Kettlebells are great for cardio workouts.


Choose smaller kettlebells for cardio workouts, where you lift a lower weight amount but quickly and with lots of repetitions.

There are DVDs and online videos tailored for kettlebell workouts, but if you have a favorite aerobics video or even a simple “Walking off the Pounds” video, substituting your kettlebells for the small hand or ankle weights can up your workout significantly.

5. Kettlebell swings are great for the booty.


One of the most basic kettlebell exercises is the kettlebell swing, where you start with one kettlebell on the floor between and slightly behind your legs, which are shoulder-width apart. You squat and grab the weight with both hands and swing it up to chest height, then back down and through the legs.

In addition to arm and leg muscles, this is a great workout for your glutes, and will help you get a shapely behind. But this is not necessarily a movement you want to do in a gym full of dudes, so it is good to have the kettlebells at home!

6. Kettlebell exercises incorporate full body movements, meaning shorter workouts.


Many kettlebell drills work multiple areas of the body at once, which lets you combine different target areas into a one or two basic movements. You will see the same or better benefits in a shorter amount of time than from other forms of more narrowly focused training.

Try the lunge and lift, for example: Hold a kettlebell in each hand farmer-walk style as you do a lunge step, then as you bring the legs together and return to upright position, lift the weights to chest level (rack position) and then overhead, lower back to rack and then to your side, and do the next lunge.

This will target your legs, arms, glutes, upper back and core areas all at the same time!

7. Kettlebell exercises get the upper back into shape.


Personal trainers report that while abs and glutes are well known exercise targets, many exercisers are seeking toning and definition in the upper back.

That’s always been a key area for men, but with the fashion for strapless and backless dresses, this has become a more popular target area for women, especially brides-to-be.

Here’s a great upper back move: do a basic plank while leaning on a kettlebell under each hand, like you would with push-up handles.

Let one arm support you in the plank position while doing a slow row movement with the other, bringing the kettlebell back and up toward your hip, then setting it back down and switching sides.

8. Kettlebell exercises add strength training to cardio routines, and vice versa.


Do you prefer strength workouts to cardio, or cardio to strength workouts? You know you need both for the best overall health, but you have a hard time doing one or the other. Kettlebells let you do both at the same time!

Kettlebell exercises adapt to all kinds of routines, from cardiocentric fast-moving, low weight workouts, to exercises that focus on heavier weights lifted slowly, to popular HIT (High Intensity Training) routines where you do exercises in quick bursts with short rest periods in between.

You can even incorporate kettlebells into Pilates and yoga movements.

9. Kettlebells at home are always ready for you.


No one really wants to run in the rain, or drag themselves through cold pre-dawn darkness to the gym! With a set of kettlebells and some good exercise routines, you can jam out that workout in no time, and you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas if you don’t want to!

Keep a kettlebell near the recliner or sofa and even when you are in full couch potato mode, you can take advantage of a commercial break to do a quick set of lunges or swings as well.

10. Kettlebell training brings plenty of health benefits.


In addition to being a good overall workout for strength building and muscle toning, the full range movements of kettlebell exercises increase your flexibility and core strength as well. Staying conscious of proper positioning during exercises will carry through to better posture overall.

And strength training exercises help build your bones and protect you from bone loss and osteoarthritis in later life.

And a good workout busts your stress, raises your spirits and burns calories to boot.

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