With the great rise in kettlebell training popularity you may be wondering: why does kettlebell training work?
There are many benefits to kettlebell training over lots of other exercise options, let’s go through 6 of them here:
1. Full Body Movements Use More Muscles Per Exercise
Unlike many “body building” style workouts that isolate certain muscles, kettlebell training focuses on full body movement patterns that use up to 600 muscles at a time.
Take for example the kettlebell swing, that targets practically every muscle in the body with one fluid movement.
The more muscles that you use with each exercise the less time you have to exercise, the more muscles you condition and the greater amount of calories you burn.
2. Combines Strength & Cardio in One Workout
Kettlebells are used dynamically using flowing movements that change from one exercise to the next.
Most of the workouts progress from one exercise to the next in circuit format without the need to put the kettlebell down or even change the weight.
These flowing based circuits use huge amounts of energy that requires the heart and lungs to work hard to increase the amount of oxygen to the 100’s of muscles being used.
The result is not only a full body resistance / strength based workout but a cardio workout too.
Here’s a video of how the exercises flow producing both a cardio and strength based workout:
3. Strengthens Joints and Prevents Future Injuries
As the kettlebell is swung, held and pulled around during the kettlebell workouts the joints are often pulled apart as the kettlebell tries to escape.
The act of keeping the joints together is known as stabilisation as the smaller endurance based muscles work hard to keep the joints in perfect alignment.
The small stabilisation muscles get stronger and stronger as the kettlebell training is progressed and this leads to much more stable and resilient joints.
Good joint stability will prevent injury occurring from unexpected movements during sports and from daily life.
The Kettlebell Turkish Get Up, shown below, is the perfect exercise to improve joint stability as well as condition the full body.
4. Develops Explosive Movement Skills for Sports
Most of the dynamic kettlebell exercises are based around the hips and the buttocks where the majority of power is generated for most sports.
All 3 of these exercises demand an explosive movement from the hips in order to create the movement of the kettlebell.
Sports that use explosive jumping will greatly benefit from many of the hip based kettlebell exercises.
There are also explosive upper body based movements too that will assist any throwers or martial artists.
Watch a video of the kettlebell snatch below to see both explosive hips and upper body movement in action:
5. Increases Eccentric Loading for Additional Benefits
The classic full body kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing.
As the kettlebell is swung down and in between the legs the body has to decelerate the weight in order to reverse its momentum and send it back up to the top of the swing again.
When you decelerate a load like a kettlebell the muscles have to work eccentrically meaning that they are lengthening under load.
The hamstrings will do a great deal of this eccentric work during the kettlebell swing.
Eccentric exercises develop large amounts of strength in the body because the muscles are always stronger lengthening than they are shortening (concentrically).
One of the great benefits of kettlebell training over other types of resistance based training is that many of the movements force large amounts of eccentric loading as the weight needs to be controlled dynamically.
You also get a double conditioning effect as the body is required to work twice as hard both concentrically and eccentrically during movements.
Watch a video of the kettlebell swing to see how the muscles are loaded and unloaded at the bottom of the movement:
6. Fun, Convenient and Affordable
Many people get really attached to their kettlebell.
You can perform a large variety of exercises with only 1 kettlebell so they can work out very affordable.
Most kettlebell exercises only require a very small space as the feet are often not moved more than a step.
Once you have mastered the basic movements you can flow from one exercise to the next keeping your heart rate elevated and using 100’s of muscles at a time.
Flowing from one exercise to the next feels natural and fun as you develop and hone your skills.