What are Kettlebell Workouts?

B. Miller

Kettlebell workouts are exercise programs that use kettlebells as hand weights. A kettlebell is a cast iron weight, often described as similar to a "cannonball with a handle" with a flat surface on the bottom to rest it. These weights were originally used by Russian athletes for strength training. Kettlebells come in varying weights, and are popular for use in strength training. Kettlebell workouts can help build muscle, lose fat, and condition the body.

It's important to warm up before a kettlebell workout.
It's important to warm up before a kettlebell workout.

Kettlebell workouts are often shorter than most weight-training workouts, yet similarly effective. People may use kettlebells instead of hand weights or dumbbells in traditional strength training moves, such as bicep curls, tricep curls, squats, and push-ups, just to name a few. Traditionally, however, kettlebells are used in specially designed kettlebell routines, with strength training moves that are not often performed elsewhere.

Kettlebell workouts frequently use exaggerated movements, and a lot of arm swinging while holding the kettlebell, to increase the power behind certain moves. Increasing muscular strength as well as power is a great way for athletes to focus on improving their techniques in a certain sport. For example, one who swings the kettlebell as if to throw it will have a great deal of power behind his or her throws when he throws baseballs or footballs. Most kettlebell workouts simultaneously work more than one area of the body, and are an excellent way to tone and condition the entire body.

These kettlebell workouts are popular with both women and men. In general, it is a good idea to start with a lighter kettlebell, and only switch to a heavier one as strength increases. Searching online will reveal plenty of kettlebell workout routines. A trainer at a gym will be able to provide instruction for safe use of the kettlebell as well. In addition, kettlebell workout classes are becoming more popular at gyms, due to their cardiovascular and strength training benefits.

It is especially important to warm up before performing any kettlebell exercises, because the exaggerated movements with such a heavy weight can easily lead to injury. Walk briskly for a few minutes before starting a routine, and do some stretches over the entire body. Always remain in control of the kettlebell and of the body, and if it feels too heavy or causes pain, it is best to stop and try a lighter weight. Wearing weight-lifting gloves is a good idea, to prevent the kettlebell from slipping from the hands, and possibly causing severe injury, such as a broken foot.

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