Can You Lose Weight with Kettlebells?
Kettlebells have taken the fitness world by storm. They can be used for many different exercises, are easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. Their popularity has led to the question “can you lose weight with kettlebells?”
How to Lose Weight
In order to lose weight, you need to use more calories than you consume. Experts generally agree that a deficit of around 3,500 calories is equivalent to one pound of fat, and a safe weight loss target is one to two pounds per week.
This means, on average, you need to be using between 500 and 1000 more calories, per day, than you are eating. If you can do this over a sustained period, you will lose weight.
Losing weight means making some changes to your lifestyle. Effective weight loss usually requires that you eat fewer calories and burn more through regular exercise.
A lot of people turn to jogging, running, or other forms of aerobic exercise because it elevates the heart rate, and it is true that these can help you lose weight.
But running isn’t for everybody. It can get boring, especially if you’re running an hour every day. But high intensity training sessions can prove just as effective.
The kettlebell is essentially a ball of iron, like a cannon ball, with a rounded handle on the top. It is heavy, although the actual weight depends on the size of ball you choose.
The best kettlebells can be used for a variety of exercises, kettlebell swings being the most famous. You can use kettlebells for strength training, but also to create a customized workout that will get the blood pumping, elevate the heart rate, and burn calories.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with Kettlebells?
The number of calories you burn during any workout varies according to factors like intensity and duration.
A kettlebell workout is very intense, but this intensity means that you are unlikely to be able to keep up that intensity for a long period of time. Therefore, workout duration is likely to be quite short. A good, high-intensity workout will usually last for 20 minutes.
- The good news is that, during this 20-minute workout, you can burn as many as 400 calories. This is equivalent to running at a 6-minute mile pace.
- A standard strength training workout will burn about 150 calories in 20 minutes.
- Running will burn approximately 250 calories in the same time.
So, compared to other techniques, kettlebell exercises can burn calories very quickly. However, the intensity of the workout means that you won’t be able to keep up a high-quality workout for much longer than this 20-minute period.
If you can sustain your workout for an hour, it’s unlikely that you are burning that many calories. You should aim for an intense 20-minute workout that leaves you unable to continue.
Kettlebells Stimulate Muscle Gain
It’s also worth noting that 20-minute kettlebell workouts build muscle. While you might be burning calories and losing weight in this way, you will actually be adding weight in the shape of new muscle mass.
Initially, you may notice your scales telling you that you aren’t losing weight. But you are burning fat. Your body is becoming leaner, your waistline slimmer, and your overall energy levels should also be increasing.
Can You Lose Weight with Kettlebells?
It is absolutely possible to lose weight with kettlebells, and kettlebell training offers one of the highest rates of calorie burn per 20 minute session of any exercise regimen.
The workout intensity means that you will likely only be able to perform three sessions a week, which will burn 1,200 calories. If your target is to burn 3,500 calories a week through exercise, you still have another 2,300 calories to burn.
The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Weight Loss
Kettlebell exercises offer a functional workout. They exercise the muscles and muscle groups that we use to perform everyday functions like lifting shopping or picking up the kids. They can also improve core strength and your balance, but which exercises are best for muscle loss?
The Kettlebell Swing
The swing is the classic kettlebell exercise. It works most muscles in the body with an emphasis on the back muscles.
Stand with your feet slightly wider apart than your hips and knees slightly bent. Bend at the waist and hold the kettlebell between your knees. Thrust your hips forward and raise your arms so that the kettlebell reaches chest height. Bring the kettlebell back between your legs and repeat.
One Arm Swing
The one arm swing is the same basic motion as the traditional swing, but you only hold the bell with one hand. This activates the core and it can improve stability as well as your strength. Make sure you work both sides by completing one arm swings with each arm.
Turkish Get Up
The Turkish get up is a more complex exercise, but it activates muscles in the whole body in a single exercise.
Lie face up with one arm to the side and holding the kettlebell straight up with the other. Keeping your kettlebell arm raised, stand using only your legs. This is a challenging move to perform but will exercise virtually all of the muscles in your body. This video will help you master the movement:
The kettlebell windmill exercises the obliques. It activates the core and improves flexibility in the hips when performed regularly. It can also help to alleviate back discomfort, is especially useful for office workers and those with a sore back and is beneficial to golfers that are looking to increase the power of their swing.
Clean and Press
The clean and press is a variation on the deadlift technique used to safely pick up heavy objects. It exercises most of the muscles in the body. This exercise comes in two stages, and if you’re just starting on your weight loss and kettlebell exercise journey, you should master the clean before adding the press.
Stand with your feet slightly wider apart than your hips. Have the kettlebell under the crotch. Keep your back straight, reach your empty arm behind you, and bend your knees to pick up the bell. Stand upright and bring the bell to your chest.
If you’re just starting out with the clean, lower the bell back to touch the floor before repeating.
When adding the press, lift the bell from the chest position vertically upwards so that your arm is straight above your shoulder. Lower the bell back to chest height before lowering it to the ground.
Weight Loss Exercises
You should try to combine several exercise techniques each week. Your body is extremely efficient, and if you continue perform the same routine day in, day out, it not only becomes mentally boring, but your muscles become accustomed to the workout.
You have to keep intensifying the workout by adding more weight or completing more reps. The number of calories you burn per hour will start to diminish.
While kettlebell exercises can be extremely effective for weight loss, you should mix them with other forms of exercise. If you enjoy running, don your running shoes and get outside. If you prefer working out at home, buy a skipping rope.
Resistance bands are an excellent weight loss tool because they’re inexpensive, easy to use and portable enough to put in your suitcase when travelling. You can even combine resistance bands with other forms of exercise and use them to intensify a workout. Check out our resistance band workouts here.