The Kettlebell Conundrum

Young woman training her body with a kettle bell on white screenClean. Jerk. Snatch. Halo. Windmill. What do these terms have in common? Theyre all exercises using a kettlebell. While you probably dont want to be shaped like a cannonball with a handle on it, the kettlebell can actually help get you into shape!

Russian Love Handles?

Picture this: Russian peasants hoisting sacks of freshly harvested crops onto scales and into horse-drawn wagons en route to markets in eighteenth century Russian villages. Little did these agri-cossacks know that they were pioneering a new fitness phenomenon.

In fact, the kettlebell, which was fashioned to emulate the workout they got in the field, eventually transformed these farmers as well as Soviet troops into award-winning bodybuilders who competed all over Europe. Now picture this: if you learn how to wield this curious looking apparatus, you too can slim down, beef up, and watch your love handles disappear one swing at a time.

Great Bells Of Fire

The first kettlebells were bags full of sand, water, or steel shot [translation: granulated steel]. Today theyre made of cast iron or steel, and the weights range from eight to 105 pounds.

Kettlebell training doesnt require a gym, or a gym membership fee. Any room in your house or a small patch in your backyard will do fine. All you really need, aside from a set of kettlebells, is a desire to be healthy and strong.

Right Pose + Proper Posture = Amazing Power

In the proper stance, hinging at your hips, kettlebell swings are designed to increase your strength and stability. Properly used, theyre a great way to sculpt your body, tone your muscles, and improve your balance and posture.

The kettlebell compels you to control the direction of the swing, the momentum of the swing, and which muscles you use. It engages large and small muscles for a total body workout.

And according to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse,

a 20-minute kettlebell workout can burn 400 calories; thats 20 calories per minute. This is great news if you want to lose weight.

And then theres something called ballistic exercise. No, CSI fans, this is no forensic science lab experiment. Its another one of those terms peculiar to kettlebell-ballers who want a powerhouse cardio workout. Its great for improving your flexibility, and as the name ballistic suggests, its a fast or rapid training regimen.

In a Russian swing the kettlebell is lifted to chest level. An American swing is an overhead power move. Hardstyle focuses on strength training; fluid style, on grooming for competitive kettlebell lifting. You can also undertake a weight training program using kettlebells for bench presses, curls, and rowing. Some swings require two kettlebells.

Leaner Tighter Faster
As with any heavy-duty exercise equipment, you need to exercise wisdom before you get started. If you have back or shoulder problems, or a weak core, the kettlebell may be dangerous. Consult your primary care physician to make sure you can handle the load safely.

To get the full benefit of kettlebell training, consider finding a certified trainer. A trainer can help you streamline the process, learn the proper use of the equipment, and make sure you execute safe and effective movements to avoid injuries and maximize results.

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