Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ll now know just how popular kettle bell training has become, and will probably have even noticed your local gym has started to teach kettle bell classes on a weekly basis. But what is it about kettle bells that makes them so effective and popular, and what’s the difference between them and a dumbbell? Those questions, and many more on top of that, will be answered shortly, as we attempt to give you fundamental basics of kettle bell training.
What’s the difference between a kettle bell and a dumbbell?
Probably the most frequently asked question when it comes to kettle bells, and the truth is that both are absolutely great for putting you through your paces, and giving you a beneficial workout. The most obvious difference is the actual shape of the kettle bells themselves. Because they’re shaped as they are (circular with a handle on the top), they allow you to perform movements and exercises which wouldn't be possible with a dumbbell. Swinging for example, wouldn't be possible with a dumbbell. The handle is much thicker than most dumbbells, meaning that you get a perfect grip on it.
Which weights and sizes would be best for people new to kettle bells?
If you’re used to basic strength training with dumbbells and barbells, but are new to kettle bells, then try to use these guidelines as something to start from. For adult males, start off with 30 – 35lb kettle bells, and see where you’re at. Adult females should start with 20 – 25lb kettle bells and again, assess how they get on. No matter how big or strong you think you are, always start light. Kettle bells are entirely different than dumbbells so don’t take them for granted. A great rule of thumb to remember with kettle bells, is that when choosing a weight, go for one in which you can perform 20 – 30 swings without too much struggling or fatigue. If you get to 15 reps or so, and you’re screaming like a banshee, sweating buckets, and panting like a dog. Go for a lighter weight.
What are some of the more popular kettle bell exercises?
With kettle bells, never try to get too clever or fancy. Kettle bells can give you a great full body workout if you know what you’re doing. To work your core and back, kettle bell swings should be performed. To perform these exercises, grab a kettle bell firmly with both hands so that it hangs between your legs. Stand with your feet a little further than shoulder width apart, keep your back straight, and swing the kettle bell upwards so that your hands become level with your forehead.
Carefully allow the kettle bell to swing back to the starting position, and perform another 8 – 12 reps. To work your shoulders or chest, replace dumbbell shoulder presses, or dumbbell chest presses, with a set of kettle bells instead. The exercise will feel odd at first, but once you've adjusted to the new feeling, you’ll be amazed by how beneficial the exercises are. Finally, to work your legs, perform a set of squats while holding a kettle bell at arms reach in front of you. The next day your legs will be on fire!