One of the most popular workout routines today—the kettlebell workout—was an accidental discovery made in Russia. Used in the Soviet Union as early as the 18th century, kettlebells measured the weight of grains and other crop. In a masculine show of superiority, farmers began swinging them around to emphasise their muscular prowess—the first step of recognising them as a legit fitness tool. Over the last few years, kettlebell workouts have sprung into the spotlight (and our Instagram feeds), with both men and women relying on them to burn calories efficiently, strengthen core muscle groups and give home workouts a killer upgrade. If you’re ready to take the heavy leap and jumping on the kettlebell workout bandwagon, here are a few things you need to know…
- The kettlebell itself is a cast iron cannon ball with a thick handle on the top. It owes its popularity to a cameo on the weight loss game show—The Biggest Loser—and in recent times, its prevalence in Crossfit routines.
- Kettlebell workouts are popular owing to the flexibility they offer—a beginner who has just joined the gym can benefit from them just as a much as a gym rat, albeit with a difference in the weight of the kettlebell.
- Given the fact that most people barely manage to squeeze in an hour-long workout into a schedule that’s already splitting at the seams, kettlebell routines provide the perfect bang for anyone’s buck. A 20-minute, high intensity sesh can help you burn close to 400 calories!
- There’s a reason that kettlebell workouts can help you torch all those calories—it’s because they’re a mix of weightlifting and cardio. Don’t forget that unlike weighlifting, that’s done in a slow and steady manner, kettlebell workouts come with tempo and momentum, which is imperative to getting the most out of your workout.
- A common misconception is that kettlebell workouts only help tone and strengthen your arms. If you’ve attended a kettlebell session you’ll know that the kettlebell itself is just an apparatus used in the entire workout, so technically, get ready to incorporate them into your squats, lunges, crunches as well as other workout moves that will work your core, back, glutes and legs…just at a much tougher level.
- Unlike dumbbells and barbells that allow for an equal distribution of weight, the design of the kettlebell makes for a much better workout. It’s hard to handle which means when you’re using it, your abdominals and other muscle groups need to get in on the action and provide assistance. The result? A more holistic workout that, over time, helps to build muscle endurance.
- One of the first moves that a kettlebell rookie will learn is the two-hand swing. While it might seem like all the work is being done by your arms, it in fact requires the strength of your legs, your core as well as your hips!
- Can kettlebell workouts be done in the comfort of your home? Yes!
Should they be done by beginners? Probably not!
These workouts are rather intense and wrong form (from the very start itself) can cause injury. Experts recommend that you sign up for a kettlebell class with a certified coach at your nearest gym. Once you’re more comfortable with all the workout moves, you can fly solo.