Kettlebells have exploded in popularity over the past decade. Where a gym might have just had a simple rack of dumbbells against a mirror, now you can find Kettlebells just about anywhere strength conditioning is performed.
Kettlebell workouts can be fantastic and benefit everyone- from beginners, to Crossfit practicioners, to professional athletes. But what exactly are Kettlebells, how are they different from old school Dumbbells, and how do you incorporate them into your fitness routine?
First off, Kettlebells are singular handheld weights usually composed of iron. They can range from quite light to extremely heavy. Their appearance looks a little like a black cannonball with a smooth rounded grip welded on top. The grip is where the “bell” part of the name comes in.
This rather distinctive appearance is what makes Kettlebells different from Dumbbells; principally in the manner in which they distribute weight. A Dumbbell is gripped in the middle of the short bar, with the two heads distributing the weight evenly on either side of your hand. However, the Kettlebell’s weight is located under your hand so your arms and grip are challenged a little differently when performing the same movement.
The most important and most beneficial part of the Kettlebell’s design is that it allows you to perform a lot of explosive and swinging movements with a greater range of motion that other handheld weights would not allow you to do. By swinging a Kettlebell out in front of you or to your sides or lulling it up and out from between your legs, you can condition your core, glutes, shoulders, and arms with just one simple piece of equipment.
The Turkish Get Up is one example of a challenging movement that is best performed with a Kettlebell.