What is a Kettlebell? A kettlebell is a fitness training tool which originated in Russia and is used to develop full body conditioning. Resembling a cannon ball with a handle, or a steel ball with a curved handle on one end and flat on the other end, the shape of the kettlebell allows users to position their weight directly above their center of mass while keeping their hand and wrists in natural alignment. This allows for increased endurance and a higher volume of exercise, resulting in greater fitness and conditioning.
Kettlebells come in various weights or sizes, typically increasing in 4 kg increments (i.e. 12kg, 16kg, 24kg, and 32kg). However 14 kg, 28kg, and even 60kg kettlebells are also available. While one bell is sufficient for a great workout, many athletes train with a number of kettlebells of varying weights.
Kettlebell Training Benefits
Benefits of Kettlebell training and workouts include:
- Increased strength
- Improved flexibility, coordination, and balance
- Increased endurance
- More lean muscle mass
- Improved core strength
- Weight loss
- Prevention of injury
- Posterior chain strengthening
- Mental toughness
- Can be applied to sports and combat
The Kettlebell Swing
The most popular and core kettlebell movement is the Kettlebell Swing, which can be used for strength-endurance as well as cardio and metabolic conditioning.
To perform a kettlebell swing, start with a posture and hip drive. The weight is then:
- Swung up from between the legs
- Driven by a hip thrust forward to chest height
- Accelerated down by shoulders pulling the weight down
- Swung back through the legs
- Driven back up with the hips
- Back-and-forth sequence is repeated for reps
Depending on the mass of the kettlebell, sets of swings can be:
- Low-Rep (3-5)
- High-Rep (10-100 or more)
Kettlebell swings also work the grip and forearms and can be performed with two hands on one bell, one hand on one bell, or one bell in each hand for ‘doubles’ (two bells at a time).
Kettlebell Workout Movements
Additional kettlebell workout movements include:
- Kettlebell Deadlift
- Kettlebell Squat Thruster
- Kettlebell One-Arm High Pull
- Kettlebell One-Arm Clean
International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF)
Kettlebell training is available at the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF). The IKFF promotes mind/body fitness globally and helps members develop the skills they need to enhance their fitness level and/or accelerate their fitness business. On the cutting edge of athletic conditioning and training, kettlebell competitions are now held annually in North America, promoted by the World Kettlebell Club, and Kettlebell trainer certification courses (RKC) are also available.