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 off-set 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.
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 under appreciated 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. Until then, we have IG LIVE 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.