Discover how to tone without bulk, lose weight and build strength with kettlebell exercises.
Kettlebell lifting has been a competitive sport in Russia since the 1960s, but kettlebells have made their way into the gym. Essentially, they can do everything a dumbbell can do – with the bonus of handles. This makes them a go-to for dynamic strengthening exercises and high-intensity circuits.
Why you would: Kettlebells are a great way to combine weights and cardio in one dynamic workout. According to Ace Fitness research, a 20-minute kettlebell workout could replace half an hour of weights and another half hour on the treadmill. The same study estimated energy use in those 20 minutes to be around 272 calories.
Try it: “More functional movements can be used in kettlebell training,” says clinical personal trainer and author Jodie Hopkins. This usually means swings and rotations, as well as more traditional strength exercises (as you’d do with dumbbells). The introduction of momentum and movement means that newbies need to train with care: “Technique and postural imbalances can be a problem, and acceleration and deceleration issues can arise, bringing about injury,” says Hopkins.
Plan ahead: More recent research from Physical Therapy Reviews noted that kettlebell training improved explosive strength by 19.8 per cent, but had no effect on aerobic endurance. The conclusion? Use it to get stronger and burn calories, but don’t let it replace your cardio.
NEXT: Discover how you can benefit from plyometric exercises.