14 Health Benefits Of Kettlebell Exercises
There are lots of benefits to using kettlebells.
From a practical standpoint, they offer a total body workout from a single, small piece of gym equipment. They are inexpensive compared to dumbbell sets and machines, even if you buy a set of three good quality bells.
You can exercise anywhere that you have a few square meters of space and you don’t require any specialist clothing or other equipment. It’s no surprise they’re found in most gyms and also many home gyms.
Here are 14 amazing health benefits of doing kettlebell exercises:
#1 – Burn 20 Calories per Minute
Kettlebells aren’t just good for explosive strength training. In fact, research shows that kettlebell swings are a highly effective means of burning calories.
You can burn up to 20 calories per minute with a kettlebell workout, which equates to 1,200 calories per hour and is the same amount of calories burned from running 6-minute miles over the same period – even if you can’t run at that pace.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or increase your cardio workout efforts, kettlebell swings are an invaluable form of exercise.
#2 – Improve your Range of Motion
Kettlebell movements exercise groups of muscles and joints, rather than exercising muscles in isolation.
As well as moving areas up and down or side to side, you will be exercising across multiple planes of motion. You also have to control the force, speed, and motion, as you perform the exercises.
As you exercise and especially as you increase reps or the weight lifted, you will also be improving your range of motion. You will increase your flexibility and minimize the risk of injury to joints and muscles.
#3 – Total Body Workout
With a single piece of equipment, you can give your entire body a workout.
The kettlebell swing alone works the glutes, quads, hips, core, back, trapezius, shoulders, forearms, and hamstrings. To mimic this without kettlebells would usually take multiple pieces of home gym equipment.
#4 – Strength, Cardio, and Flexibility Training
Kettlebell exercises can do pretty much everything.
They offer the strength training of weightlifting, the cardio equivalent to running 6-minute miles for the period of your workout, and they offer the flexibility training of yoga. They even improve your balance.
#5 – Reduce Pain in the Neck, Shoulders and Lower Back
Another study, albeit with relatively small numbers, showed that kettlebell exercises can reduce pain in the shoulders, neck, and lower back. 46% and 57% of respondents in that study reported a reduction in musculoskeletal pain intensity in the lower back and neck/shoulders respectively.
What’s more, because the exercises strengthen the muscles, including the muscles around these joints, this type of exercise can prevent future and further injuries from occurring, too.
#6 – Can Improve Posture
The posterior chain is made up of a series of muscles including hamstrings, glutes, trapezius, and deltoids.
Having a strong posterior chain encourages better posture which, in turn, enables you to run faster, jump higher, and move smoothly. These actions are used throughout athletics and sports, so no matter your discipline, you can improve by strengthening the posterior chain.
Kettlebell swings exercise all these muscles, and you can add extra bell exercises to change up your routine and further intensify work on the posterior chain.
#7 – Increase Grip Strength
Grip strength is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. Your grip determines how much weight you can lift, how long you can hold it, and you use it in everyday life.
Whereas barbells place the center of the weight in the palm of your hand, a kettlebell’s center of gravity is offset. The weight is no longer balanced in your hand, so you will have to use your finger and other hand muscles, forearms, and wrists work harder to effectively keep hold of and control the weight of the bell.
#8 – Improve Coordination
All exercise involves some repetition, including kettlebell exercises.
However, multiplanar movements combined with the control required to balance the offset center of gravity of a kettlebell, means that you have to concentrate during every second of a kettlebell workout. This link between mind and muscles will improve coordination and increase body awareness over time.
#9 – Low Impact Exercise
Low impact exercise is any form of exercise which isgentle on your joints and does not involve heavy contacts.
Low impact exercises include swimming, cycling, and walking. Kettlebell exercises are also low impact, in most cases, and they offer much better strength, cardio, and flexibility training.
You will struggle to find any other low-impact exercise that offers the same of kind calorie burning and muscle building benefits wrapped up in one.
#10 – Functional Movements
Functional exercise is exercise that mimics real world movement. It is considered important for general health and is vital for athletes because functional exercises can mirror the movements involved in sport without having to take part in a game.
Kettlebell exercises are performed through all three planes of movement, and your body will have to perform the transitions between these movements. Whether you’re looking to strengthen for running, gymnastics, or rugby, kettlebells can help improve your performance as well as your strength.
#11 – Activate The Core
Activating the core really only means using the core, but it is considered an important part of any exercise regimen.
Because kettlebell exercises are considered a form of ballistic training, this means that they use the core muscles to maximize acceleration and minimize deceleration.
What’s more, they exercise the core from different directions, which improves all-round core strength. Improving core power is great for explosive strength, another reason why athletes rely on this form of exercise.
#12 – Build Lean Muscle
Weight training with heavy weights offers a method of bulking up muscle as well as increasing strength. This means hitting the weights will increase your strength and also your size.
It’s possible though that too much size will restrict some of your movements. Lean muscle is muscle without much additional mass. If you’re looking to condition your muscles and build lean muscle, kettlebells and their ballistic strength training capabilities are the way to go.
#13 – Improves Muscle Imbalance
Muscle imbalance is a common problem. Most of us have a dominant side, and we naturally tend to favor that side when we perform almost any action.
This is just as true of lifting heavy weights as it is of writing or pretty much any other daily task. When you use both hands to lift a weight, it’s common, but bad form, to favor your dominant side.
Kettlebells can be used to identify imbalances through a combination of unilateral and multiplanar movements. You can then work the imbalanced area to improve its strength and redress the imbalance.
#14 – Keep The Body Guessing
Kettlebell exercises are very popular and while some users concentrate solely on swings, kettlebells can be used to perform a host of different exercises.
Include kettlebell lunges, kettlebell squats, and kettlebell deadlifts to increase strength in the legs and overhead presses, halos, and push presses for an upper body workout.
Mixing up exercises also ensures that your muscles don’t become accustomed to performing the same motion time and time again. When this happens, the gains you make will slow.
If you don’t already do kettlebell exercises, it is this variety of workout that makes them a great addition to your plan.
Kettlebells are reasonably inexpensive, conveniently sized, and portable. They don’t take up much space but they can be used for cardio, strength, and balance training.
Combine a variety of exercises including kettlebell lunges, squats, halos, and presses, as well as kettlebell swings to create an intense, full body workout.
If you’re ready to incorporate kettlebell exercises into your workout, check out our guides to the best kettlebells and the best adjustable kettlebells.