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What are the Basic Kettlebell Concepts?

By Patrick Lynch
Updated May 17, 2024
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Kettlebells were used many years ago as a means of improving people’s physique and fitness levels but were lost for a time amid the array of new machines. They have made a comeback, and millions of people all over the world have turned to them for a strenuous workout. Kettlebells are cast iron weights that range from 5 pounds (2.3 kg) to 175 pounds (79.4 kg), though the traditional Russian kettlebell weighs about 35 pounds (15.9 kg). The basic kettlebell concepts include its unusual design, the caution that it requires to use and the learning that is required to master kettlebell techniques.

The center of mass of kettlebells go away from the hand, which is a contrast to dumbbells. This is one of the basic kettlebell concepts, and it means that the user can swing it, which is ideal for those trying to build strength in their core, shoulders and back. The basic movements of a kettlebell workout are very similar in nature to regular work, such as shoveling and chopping wood.

Another major one of the kettlebell concepts is the caution that must be exercised when using them. Those who have weak shoulders and a suspect core will benefit from kettlebells, but using too heavy of a weight could result in a serious injury. It is best for newcomers to try a variety of exercises and weights to ensure that they find one that gives them a hard-but-functional workout.

Learning how to utilize kettlebells effectively will work wonders for those who work out with regular weights. Traditional dumbbells have the weight evenly distributed on each side, whereas one of the chief kettlebell concepts is the fact that they have the majority of their weight compressed into a little ball that descends from the handle. Every time the user swings a kettlebell, he or she is not only fighting the weight, he or she also is fighting centripetal force. This serves to make a 35-pound (15.9-kg) kettlebell a greater challenge to work out with than a dumbbell of the same weight.

Another of the primary kettlebell concepts is learning the basics before trying to master other techniques. The three core moves which must be learned are how to swing, how to clean and how to snatch. Although users also can utilize other moves, such as the front squat, one cannot become a kettlebell master until he or she knows the basic moves.

The simple nature of kettlebells means that there is little in the way of loading up and putting away equipment. All one has to do is find one place to keep them. There is no assembly required, which means that the exerciser either gets to spend more time doing a kettlebell workout or gets to do a workout in much less time than it would take to do the same workout with dumbbells.

Last in the list of kettlebell concepts is the fact that although they are simple to look at, learning how to master them is extremely difficult. Kettlebells have been used since before the 1700s, but there are very few top-class instructors. Despite their simple design, kettlebells take a lot of time to master, so potential users should look long and hard for information from one of the better kettlebell instructors.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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