14 Amazing Benefits of Kettlebells

14 Amazing Benefits of Kettlebells

Kettlebells have gained global fame in a short period. Due to the countless benefits they bring with them, from the wide range of exercises you can do with them and the goals you can achieve, they have become part of the regular assortment of every commercial and home gym.

There are a large number of benefits that training with kettlebells brings, and it isn’t easy to single out the most important ones. 

But don’t worry, in this article, I will present all the benefits of training with kettlebells, some of the best exercises you can do with them, and answer why I should train with kettlebells.

Quick Summary

  • Kettlebells have countless benefits that make them better than other weights, from increasing core strength and stability to saving space in the gym.
  • Anyone can exercise with kettlebells, from beginners to bodybuilders and powerlifters.
  • Incorporating kettlebell training into your training routine and warming up properly to prevent potential injuries is essential.

14 Benefits of Kettlebells

Kettlebells have many uses and are a synonym for benefits in the world of fitness.

They have many advantages, from the possibility to train any part of the body, build strength without bulk, burn a lot of calories, and benefit in terms of the space they occupy, which is significantly less than other weights.

Now I will explain in more detail all the benefits that kettlebells bring that you should know about.

“Kettlebell training is more than just swings: it can be used to develop explosives for athletics and martial arts. It can be used to develop functional stability and core strength. And it can be used to raise the metabolism and increase mobility.” – Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, author of the Functional Fitness and Beyond

1. Builds Strength Without Bulk

Kettlebell training builds strength without bulk, so it’s great for those who want to work on their core strength, endurance, and lean and fat-free body [1]. They are much more often used for maintaining the health of the body than for muscle bulking. 

They are perfect for training the glutes and lower back and can be excellent for cardio training. With just a few light kettlebells, you can strengthen your core strength without any problems.

Check our ultimate guide on functional training equipment to pick the gear that builds strength without bulk.

2. Burns More Calories

Kettlebell training burns more calories, as shown by various studies. According to research by the American Council on Exercise, it has been shown that the average person burns about 20 calories per minute during training with kettlebells [2]. 

That means you would spend about 600 calories during a half-hour training session, which you cannot achieve with practically any other type of training without it is much more tiring.

3. They Are Easy to Store

Kettlebells are easy to store, which makes them an excellent option for those who train or plan to build their home gym. They take up significantly less space than, say, dumbbells. 

Due to their round shape and durability, you can hide them anywhere on the floor of your home gym because they do not require to be held on any stands or the like.

You can check our article on different types of kettlebells to see which one suits you the best.

4. Functional Workout Enabled

With kettlebells, you have a functional workout enabled, which can help you perform everyday activities more efficiently.

What stands out in training with kettlebells is the functional training, which, according to many, is the best with this type of weight.

Functional training is excellent for those who want to stay in shape and maintain their body’s core strength and endurance. It will help you perform daily activities in an office or a physical job [3].

5. Offers Great Physical and Mental Workout 

Kettlebells offer a great physical and mental workout because this training requires focus.

Constantly changing movements, a combination of different activities of weights, and various body parts require focus and strain of the brain, which positively affects the development of coordination and mental endurance [4].

If you want training that will be stimulating for your brain and an excellent physical activity, then kettlebells are the right choice!

6. Improves Core Strength and Stability

Kettlebell training improves core strength and stability, making them an ideal type of weight for beginners but also for those a little more experienced in this training area. 

Whatever exercise you do with kettlebells positively affects the development of your core strength. If you want to focus only on core development, then kettlebells are your best option. 

Coordination is what is critical with kettlebells. Some exercises with these weights are demanding, such as the Turkish sit-up, which you cannot perform without developed movement coordination. 

you don’t need to worry about that. Even if you are a beginner and do basic exercises such as swings, you will develop the ability to coordinate movements and efficiently perform more complicated activities over time.

7. Great Non-running Cardio Alternative

Kettlebell training is a great non-running cardio alternative because you can burn many calories with just a few weights.

Cardio training with kettlebells is far more exciting and consumes many more calories than traditional cardio training, such as the treadmill and similar [5].

Movements with kettlebells are based on basic ballistic activities, such as lifting, lowering, swings, squats, and other moves, which are excellent for maintaining the cardiovascular condition of your body.

With just a few light kettlebells, you can do an excellent cardio workout and improve your endurance and core strength.

8. Develops Explosive Hip Power & Speed

Kettlebells develop explosive hip power and speed because most exercises require the movement of this part of the body.

Many kettlebell exercises are based on basic ballistic movements, which often include hip movements, especially with activities requiring turning the kettlebell right around the hips.

That is quite important for those older gym lovers, for whom the speed and explosiveness of the hips are critical. The development of speed and explosive power of the hips will help you in performing other exercises and facilitate training.

9. Increases Range of Motion

Kettlebells increase the range of motion because they require different movements when performing exercises [6]. 

Exercising with this type of weight can significantly improve your range of motion during exercise. If you want to improve your squat position, the goblet squat that you perform with kettlebells will enhance the performance of this exercise.

10. Increases Grip Strength

Training with this type of weight increases grip strength because you control their position during various exercises.

In this way, you develop grip strength the most, which is often mentioned as the most crucial benefit of kettlebells. When performing any exercises, you move the kettlebell in different directions with your fist.

Grip strength is essential for performing more serious exercises with kettlebells, such as the Turkish sit-up.

11. Address Muscle Imbalances

Kettlebells can help address muscle imbalances, which they do through exercises that strengthen core strength, corrective exercises, and unilateral training [7].

Many exercises, such as swings and deadlifts, are performed with one arm, which can be a great way to help you in solving muscle imbalance by strengthening one side of the body individually.

In addition, many exercises with kettlebells require the activation of the whole body, i.e., core strength, which is an excellent form of developing the entire body’s power.

With kettlebells, you can also perform corrective exercises targeting clearly defined muscle groups, which is an excellent way to help solve muscle imbalance.

12. Trains You to Move Better

Kettlebell training trains you to move better due to the many movements this type of training requires. During just one kettlebell workout, you will perform ballistic activities such as lowering, lifting, swings, snatches, etc.

What will result as a result of training that requires focus and coordination is that it will teach you to move much better every day.

13. Improves Joint Health

Kettlebell training improves joint health by strengthening the muscles around them, increasing their mobility, and putting minimal pressure on them during exercise [8].

During various exercises, kettlebells engage the whole body, especially the joints in different body parts. Joint muscles are no exception, so by performing other activities, you will strengthen them as well. 

You will develop the flexibility and mobility of the hip joints, shoulders, and spine by performing various exercises such as the Turkish sit-up, windmills, and snatches. Also, most activities with kettlebells are low-impact, so you can strengthen them with minimal pressure on the body joints.

14. Offers Versatility to Your Workouts

Kettlebells offer versatility to your workouts, and you will be able to constantly change the format of your training. 

With kettlebells, your training will never be boring because there is a wide range of exercises for different muscle groups of the body that you can perform with them. 

Beginners need to do only basic exercises in the beginning. When they gain some experience, they are offered a versatile set of activities that they can do and adapt to themselves.

Who Should Try Kettlebell Training?

Everyone should try kettlebell training because it is adaptable to any type of training.

Whether you are a weightlifter, bodybuilder, powerlifter, or a fan of functional training, training with kettlebells is an excellent option.

What makes it better than other types of weights is that it offers you a wide range of exercises you can perform during training, so you will never get bored working with this type of training.

Now I will present to you the benefits of kettlebell training for individual types of people who train.

Weightlifters

Weightlifters base their training on explosiveness and training with heavy weights, which kettlebells fully provide.

They are an excellent option for weightlifters because they help them develop strength and technique for lifting weights under heavy weights.

It represents an excellent option for preparation for complex and demanding weightlifting training without excessive over-exertion.

Powerlifters

For powerlifters, training with kettlebells can contribute to the diversity of the training.

Kettlebells are easy to adapt to powerlifting training because they are suited to slow grind weight lifting training.

Training with this type positively affects cardiovascular health, which is excellent for powerlifters whose training often does not include this.

Kettlebell training develops explosiveness and flexibility, which means a lot to powerlifters for performing squats and deadlifts.

Bodybuilders

Kettlebell training has many benefits for bodybuilders, from increasing functional strength and developing muscular endurance to developing cardiovascular fitness.

Increasing functional strength is critical for bodybuilders because exercises that mimic different movements from everyday life develop strength and endurance, which can be adapted into bodybuilding training.

Kettlebell training develops muscle endurance due to intense activity that requires many repetitions with small breaks between sets. This helps bodybuilders a lot in their high-intensity training to build mass.

The development of cardiovascular fitness is significant because high-intensity training with kettlebells is excellent for losing fat and maintaining a lean body, which is essential for bodybuilders who maintain low body fat levels while building muscle.

Functional Fitness Athletes

Kettlebell training is most suitable for functional fitness athletes because most exercises are based on the basics of functional activity.

Whether you’re a regular at the gym or a cross fitter doesn’t matter. Functional training with kettlebells is an excellent option for you. Exercising with kettlebells will build core strength, increase body strength and endurance, and lose a large number of calories.

Top 5 Kettlebell Exercises

You can do countless exercises with kettlebells that can contribute to strengthening your body’s strength and endurance. Among many activities, I have singled out five practices best for kettlebell training. 

Turkish sit-ups, kettlebell swings, snatches, goblet squats, and clean and press are the best exercises you can do with kettlebells. Now I will explain each of these exercises in more detail.

1. Kettlebell Swing

woman performing kettlebell swings

The one-hand swing is one of the most common connections you’ll find people working with kettlebells. You need to stand up straight, spread your legs and swing the weight between your legs.

You must swing the kettlebell to chest height and hold it there to get the most out of this connection. This exercise strengthens your gluteus, arms, back, core strength, and obliques.

Regular practice of this exercise positively affects your balance, stability, and overall fitness.

2. The Goblet Squat

Woman performing a goblet squat

The goblet squat is one of the best exercises you can do with kettlebells. It is an excellent exercise with which you can build core strength and endurance, as well as the muscles of the hips, glutes, and lower back. 

Perform the exercise by spreading your legs shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with two hands at shoulder height, and slowly lowering yourself into a squat. After going down, save for a few seconds and return to the starting position. 

This exercise is an excellent replacement for the classic squat because it is much easier and brings almost the same results.

3. The Turkish Get-up

Woman performing a Turkish Get Up exercise.

This exercise is much more complicated and complex compared to others. To start, you need to lie on the floor with a kettlebell in one hand.

Then gradually move to a sitting position until you are fully up and standing upright with the weight extended above your head. Then, with the same procedure, you return to the lying place. It is essential to fix the elbow so that you always keep the kettlebell upright.

This exercise is excellent because you exercise the whole body with just one move

4. Clean & Press

Woman performing kettlebell clean and press exercise.

Clean and press are one of the more straightforward but also the best exercises to mix cardio and strength training.

Lower the kettlebells to the floor in the direction of the shoulders, then bend down and take a weight in each hand. Raise them and hold them for a few seconds at chest height, then raise them as high as possible.

Hold them in that position for a few seconds, lower them to chest height and finally, hold them on the floor.

5. The Snatch

Woman performing a kettlebell snatch.

Kettlebell snatch is one of the most complex exercises you can perform with this type of weight. Although it is demanding, this exercise is excellent for increasing strength, endurance, core and hips, and lower back. 

The exercise works by spreading your legs at shoulder height, bending down with a straight back, and lifting the weight at hip height. So suddenly, lift the weight above your head and hold it briefly.

Then lower the weight to the height of the hips and then to the floor.

How to Warm Up for Kettlebell Training

To warm up for kettlebell training, start with light cardio, dynamic stretching, and joint mobility exercises. In essence, warming up before kettlebell training is not much different from warming up before any type of training.

First, start with light cardio to get your heart rate up and warm up. Jumps, running in place, and skipping are great ways to warm up. Then do basic dynamic warm-up exercises, such as leg swings, arm circles, and walking lunges.

Finally, do joint mobility exercises to prevent potential injuries. Hip circles and shoulder dislocations are great ways to warm up your joints. Then start with a slow pace of activity, after which you can continue to exercise regularly.

Be sure to stretch after training to prevent muscle inflammation etc.

How to Program Kettlebell Training

If you already have an exercise system, inserting kettlebells into your exercise routine won’t be easy.

That’s why it’s essential to subordinate training with kettlebells to specific goals and use them in a particular aspect of training. Kettlebells can be used for warming up, as accessory lifts, for active recovery, or at the end of the exercise.

Now I will show you how to use kettlebells for each goal in more detail.

As Accessory Lifts

Kettlebells can be used as accessory lifts to do specific exercises exclusively with them. If squatting with a barbell is too demanding, replace it with kettlebells. 

You can do this for individual activities or groups of practices to make training more exciting or compelling. The fact that you will replace average weights with kettlebells in some training areas will not change your training pace. Still, it may bring specific positive results of performing certain exercises with kettlebells.

For Active Recovery

Kettlebells can be used for active recovery because they are less demanding and low-impact. This weight can be great for days when you are resting from demanding training and don’t want to skip exercising.

Take less weight off kettlebells and perform different exercises. In this way, with less strenuous training, you will work on endurance, strengthening of core strength, mobility, and coordination of the body.

In a Warm-up

Kettlebells can also serve as a warm-up because they can activate your body with a few simple exercises.

Before training, you can do several one-hand swings to activate your lats and core and move your joints. If it’s leg day, a few goblet squats can be a great way to warm up your body for more strenuous exercises like dumbbell squats.

As a Finisher

Kettlebells can also be used as a finisher to engage your body at the end of training.

It doesn’t matter if you lifted kettlebells the whole workout or not. Feel free to do a few sets of your favorite exercise with kettlebells at the end of the training to improve it further.

FAQs

What Do Kettlebells Do for Your Body?

Kettlebells for your body improve strength, increase cardiovascular fitness, core strength, and endurance, and burn fat. You can achieve the above by exercising during one training session.

What Kind of Physique Will Kettlebells Give You?

The kind of physique that kettlebells will give you is lean muscle mass, good posture, and low body fat. You achieve a lean definition by training with kettlebells while increasing your body mass.

Are Kettlebells Good for Losing Belly Fat?

Yes, kettlebells are good for losing belly fat. Training with kettlebells is highly intense and consumes many calories, so you will quickly lose unnecessary fat.

Is It Good to Do Kettlebells Everyday?

It isn’t good to do kettlebells every day because your body requires rest and recovery. If you exercise daily with kettlebells, you risk injuring yourself, so it is recommended to exercise 3 to 5 times a week.

Will Kettlebells Get You in Shape?

Yes, kettlebells will get you in shape. Exercising with kettlebells will build your strength and muscle, endurance, and reduce body fat.

What Are the Best Kettlebells to Start With?

The best kettlebells to start with are cast iron weights from 8 to 16 kilograms for men or 8 to 12 kilograms for women.

It is important to note that beginners should take lighter weights to learn to perform the exercises correctly without fear of injury. You can gradually increase your weight when you know how to perform the activities properly.

Kettlebells are a great way to achieve all your goals with a wide range of exercises that will make your training extremely interesting. That’s why they are recommended to experienced fitness fans and those who are just entering this world.

In the comments below, I invite you to say which weights you chose and which benefit is the most important for your training.

References:

  1. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2012/04000/Effects_of_Kettlebell_Training_on_Aerobic_Capacity.28.aspx
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-council-on-exercise-ace-study-reveals-kettlebells-provide-powerful-workout-in-short-amount-of-time-83876187.html
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21107513/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489677/ 
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273176106_Effects_of_Kettlebell_Training_on_Aerobic_Capacity 
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273176106_Effects_of_Kettlebell_Training_on_Aerobic_Capacity
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21107513/ 
  8. https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4663/10/12/203/pdf
Vanja Vukas

Vanja Vukas

Student at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education and a hardcore functional training enthusiast. Heavily inspired by Michael Boyle, a strength & conditioning specialist, and by Adam Sinicki, the founder of Bioneer. Vanja believes that transitioning to a movement-based exercise program can drastically improve your fitness, balance out your muscles, and support your current lifestyle.

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