Barbells and dumbbells have long been the staple of an effective strength training program. And while those are still valuable pieces of equipment, kettlebells have continued to increase in popularity in the fitness industry. This is particularly true with the advent of social media, because, let’s face it....those kettlebell flows look way better on Instagram.


We’d like to share some information on kettlebells and explain why they are so omnipresent throughout the one-on-one training sessions and fitness classes we offer at MOTIVNY. They are a large component of our group classes and are a reflection of our take on how mobility, strength, and conditioning should be performed.‍

kettlebells vs. dumbbells

History of Kettlebells

The Kettlebell first originated in 18th century Russia and is a ball of cast iron with “horns” that shape into a handle. The handle is what is used the most, but the horns are useful when different holds are needed, like during squats for example. They are great tools for metabolic conditioning and can be used for resistance work, too, if you can’t access dumbbells or barbells. This makes them a very versatile piece of equipment.

Kettlebells vs Dumbbells?

A kettlebell’s weight is not distributed evenly like it is with dumbbells. This creates the need to counterbalance and stabilize your body during kettlebell exercises, which is beneficial for core strength, balance, and coordination.


Because a kettlebell has an offset center of gravity (usually about 6-8” away from your grip on the handle), it is harder to control. They can be swung, thrown, juggled, pressed, held, moved, and manipulated in hundreds of ways. Dumbbells will make you strong, but kettlebells will make you efficient.


Why are kettlebells so effective? Let's take a look.

Advantages of kettlebell exercises:

  • Compact & portable: you only need a few different options for weights to train the entire body and they don’t occupy much space, which is valuable in New York City.
  • Grip strength: an underappreciated aspect of strength training and often a limiting factor in exercises. A 2016 systematic review found that grip strength “has a predictive validity for decline in cognition, mobility, functional status, and mortality”
  • Increased power: training with kettlebells improves power output, which is a prerequisite for athletic performance.
  • Versatility: kettlebells offer a wide range of movements that target multiple muscle groups for a total body workout. They also challenge movements in different planes while traditional strength training lives primarily in the sagittal plane.
  • Enhanced coordination: the dynamic nature of kettlebell movements necessitates that you are aware of your body and helps solidify your mind to muscle connection. Build stability through instability and work those smaller stability muscles.
  • Better posture: a lot of traditional kettlebell moves focus on targeting the posterior chain. This is often neglected in training and can help to reverse some of the maladaptive behaviors of our sedentary lifestyles.
  • All-in-one conditioning tool: they can be used for strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance training. It just depends on what your goals are.

Where to get some experience with kettlebells or sign up for a class?

We’re in the process of creating a ‘Kettlebell School’ set to launch in the coming weeks where the video tutorials and programming will all be available through our web-based and mobile app. You'll be able to enjoy full body kettlebell workout programs from the comfort of your own home!

Until then, we have IG LIVE kettlebell classes practically everyday at 12PM which include workouts requiring equipment. Additionally, our coaches also offer tutorial videos on Instagram and also one-on-one virtual sessions to help sharpen your kettlebell technique. Please email us at connect@motivny.com for more info.



Having played football from his youth through college, Michael has spent years in the gym as an athlete and coach. He was first introduced to weightlifting as an early teen, and has worked with many styles of training since. Michael holds experience in various roles in coaching, management, sales, and membership. He joined the MOTIVNY team in 2019, and is available for one-on-one training (both virtual and in-person), as well as Kinstretch and Kettlebell classes. When teaching or coaching, you can find Michael dancing around to one of his playlists or cracking jokes. He creates a fun, yet challenging environment and invites others to join along. Certifications include FRCms, FRA, Kinstretch, and SFG2.