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Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? | The Many Benefits of Kettlebell Training

Jan 23, 2018

Why are kettlebells so effective? What makes these specific weights so useful for fitness?

Well, there is no doubt that the kettlebell itself looks really strange — like a mini bowling ball with a luggage handle.

But once you learn about the many benefits it can provide, you will appreciate their construction, usefulness, and effectiveness.

For those out there who aren’t confident in doing kettlebell workouts due to the high intensity and expected grip strength, don’t turn away yet!

Our patented Dark Iron Fitness lifting straps are made of durable cowhide suede and are the perfect accompaniment to kettlebells.

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Dark Iron Fitness Lifting Straps

Kettlebells are used for explosive workouts that combine strength training, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility while strengthening your core and improving flexibility.

Their numerous benefits include strength gain, endurance, flexibility and weight loss.

Let’s discuss more in depth about kettlebells, their effectiveness and how you can implement them into your daily workouts.

Related: Kettlebells for Beginners


Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? — The Basics

Kettlebell Anatomy and Purpose

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Kettlebell

Many of the kettlebell lifts are variations of the classic Olympic lifts, with one huge difference.

Kettlebell ballistic lifts are much easier to learn than traditional Olympic lifts.

Olympic Lifting is difficult to master, but with the kettlebells, some basic instruction can help anyone learn these lifts.

Kettlebells are great for teaching proper speed from the hips — essential in power and speed sports, which is why they are a CrossFit staple.

Many of the movements and skills required in CrossFit focus on learning to have fast and effective hips.

Kettlebell workouts differ from workouts using machines or dumbbells (free weights) because when you train with a machine you are forced to move in a predetermined path.

Dumbbells have a tight center of gravity and mainly utilize the major muscle groups.

A kettlebell’s odd shape and off-center mass forces you to use muscles that mimic real-life activities.

They are often referred to as one of the top 10 tools for physical strength and endurance training.


Total Body Exercise

One of the biggest benefits of kettlebell training is that all of the exercises are essentially total body exercises.

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Kettlebell Swing

You get total body strengthening and conditioning with one single tool.

You can easily find the one that fits your needs.

They come in several sizes: ranging from 8lbs, all the way up to 105 lbs, for those who are very strong and experienced.


Easy to Learn and Use

The shape of the kettlebell lends itself to unique exercises.

Its odd center of gravity forces you to do more work involving your stabilizing muscles to create explosive movements with the bell.

It’s much gentler on the wrists and shoulders to perform and finish kettlebell cleans.

Also, kettlebells are easier to use for front squats than a barbell, and you can learn one-arm kettlebell snatches faster than barbell snatches.

Enjoy the ease of use and appreciate that such a unique weight can help streamline other exercises you already do.

Related: 22 Different Kettlebell Exercises


Safe Workouts

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Dark Iron Fitness Lifting Straps

Kettlebell workout routines are safe, quick, full body workouts that do not strain joints or lead to other possible injuries often found with conventional weightlifting.

Of course, injuries can still occur, but often they stem from the high-intensity aspect of the training.

Always practice correct form and safety in all exercises, but be content in the fact the kettlebell is one of the safer weights to work with.

With a stronger grip, or the use of something like suede lifting straps, you can really get the most out of kettlebells.

If you have previously been avoiding barbell exercises due to safety concerns, look into the kettlebell alternatives.


Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? — The Workouts

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective for Strength and Endurance?

Whether your focus is strength, endurance, or both, the kettlebell will be beneficial and effective.

You’re super tight when you lift a heavy weight, but become loose when you do conditioning.

The kettlebell alternates periods of intense contraction and controlled relaxation, to give you a superior workout that combines strength, as well as endurance.

Kettlebell workouts will help you build muscle and allow for the endurance to build to further progress in both areas.


Why Are Kettlebells So Effective for Strength and Flexibility?

Many kettlebell exercises allow you to build joint strength and flexibility along with strength and conditioning.

Even the basic kettlebell swing provides a great hamstring stretch.

Other exercises such as the windmill, and single leg deadlift, also build flexible strength.

Flexibility is key, especially for those using kettlebell workouts in CrossFit, because flexibility optimizes the exercises.


Why Are Kettlebells So Effective as a Core Workout?

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Kettlebell Upright Row

The kettlebell stimulates tremendous abdominal contraction because of the explosive conditioning movements.

Basically, this means you’re working your abs even when you’re “not working” your abs.

The abdominal contraction and coordinated breathing provide a very high level of conditioning that has made it popular among fighters and other elite level athletes.

A strong core can be considered the foundation for most sports and fitness as a whole.

The fact you can work your core indirectly, just through the dynamic aspect of kettlebells, is truly amazing.

Exceptional Conditioning

Kettlebells are so effective because they stimulate the muscles and surpass standard cardio exercises.

They enable you to increase your strength, build up speed as well as your endurance level at the same time.

Many kettlebell exercises flow together. You don’t really even need to put the weight down.

You can string a sequence of exercises together and perform them continuously.

This gives you a great strength and endurance workout in a shorter amount of time.

Related: Are Kettlebells Good for Weight Loss?


Progress Without Having to Spend More Money

Kettlebell progression can include weight progression, but it is often based on doing more repetitions or moving on to a harder exercise.

So rather than moving on to a heavier kettlebell you simply complete more reps or change the exercise to a more difficult option.

Killer strength and endurance work can be achieved without necessarily having to use the heaviest weight you can find.

The exercises just need to be adjusted for the results that you want.

You only need one or two kettlebells to get in great shape.

For an example, look at these recommendations below:

Women – 8kg (18 lb), 12kg (26 lb), 16kg (35 lb),

Men – 16kg, 20kg, 24kg

Some people are naturally stronger, but ultimately the kettlebell isn’t a strength tool—it’s a strength-endurance tool.

The savings from purchasing only one or two kettlebells and having a variety of workouts is great.

If financials are important (they usually are), and you are on a budget, kettlebells won’t break the bank!


Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? — Other Advantages

Kettlebells are Fun

The more fun and simple something is, the more likely you are to do it.

You can learn basic exercises in about five minutes and there’s enough variety to keep you interested.

If you find yourself becoming bored with traditional exercises or having to be in the gym, consider using kettlebells.

The numerous things you can do with kettlebells make it enjoyable, and you can even use them outside.

What’s better than bringing your weights to a public park and working out?

Doing such things with a barbell is almost impossible (possible, but silly and not worth the effort).

Related: The Best Kettlebell Workout DVDs 


The “Movement Advantage”

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Kettlebell Swing Muscles Worked

The movement advantage is learning to move better through the use of kettlebells.

This is especially valued by physical therapists because kettlebells actually teach you to move in a way that is better, stronger, and safer.

Unlike the traditional exercises that keep the body in a linear plane, kettlebell exercises are ergonomically natural to the body’s range of motion.

Unfortunately, many of us today lose some of our basic movements as a result of sedentary occupations and lifestyles.

When you don’t use it, you lose it.

That’s what happens when we don’t move our bodies with the full range of motion or become used to certain unhealthy postures (like sitting in front of a computer all day).

The kettlebell can help facilitate getting you out of these habits and jumpstart better movement and posture.

Don’t let your laziness or 9-5, inactive job be the death of your body!

Related: What’s So Special About Kettlebells Anyway?


Conclusion as to Why Kettlebells are so Effective

Kettlebells are relatively inexpensive, small enough to be portable, and easy to store away.

Why Are Kettlebells So Effective? - Dark Iron Fitness Lifting Straps

They are terrific for overall fat loss, improving lean body mass, and helping teach proper use of the hips (important for speed and power sports).

Kettlebells give you a great workout, either on their own or as a part of your dumbbell/barbell/machine routine.

They are so effective that serious lifters should definitely consider them as a way to enhance and supplement their barbell or dumbbell workouts.

And, when the kettlebells start getting heavier, don’t forget to think about securing your grip.

Dark Iron Fitness leather suede lifting are guaranteed not to rip, tear, or fall apart — the perfect compliment for your kettlebell.

The effectiveness is half driven by the ergonomics, exercises and variety, while the other half is determined by your personal drive.

Give kettlebells and kettlebell workouts a shot to see if they’re right for you, maybe they’ll be the most effective for your goals.

Related: Why Are Kettlebell Workout Routines So Effective?