Move over, dumbbells; kettlebells are cool again. The little weights with handles have been used by athletes around the world for centuries and gained popularity as the staples of 19th-century strongmen. Today, kettlebells have made it to the mainstream as the featured tools in exercise classes and gyms, with home versions of kettlebells available on the shelves of every big-box store.
What's the attraction? Kettlebells work multiple muscle groups at one time, so you get a lot of bang for your buck with each exercise.
How they help
Kettlebells are heavy: the smallest is about 3KG, but available weights go up to 30KG at the competition level. And they have many benefits. Holding a lot of weight by a handle engages your arm, leg, shoulder, back, and abdominal muscles. The pull on your muscles helps to strengthen them. The pull on your bones helps stimulate new bone cell growth.
Using kettlebells can improve your posture, with the weight in front of you, your back muscles must straighten up more to counteract the force of the kettlebell pulling you forward. Swinging a kettlebell also challenges your balance and helps to improve it.
Along with benefits, kettlebells have numerous risks. One is obvious: dropping the weight on your foot. But lifting too much too soon or lifting a kettlebell the wrong way can lead to muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, and falls.
If you have the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis or its precursor state osteopenia, lifting a heavy kettlebell may increase your risk for fractures, caution some experts. If you're at high risk for falling, using a kettlebell can add to your fall risk.
Should you try it?
Using kettlebells should be safe for healthy young and older adults, with some stipulations:
But you may want to stay away from kettlebells if you pick one up and can't control it or feel like you're losing your balance, or if you experience pain in your shoulder, low back, or leg.
Basic Starter Kettlebell Exercises
If you're cleared for kettlebell use, you'll be guided through simple but challenging exercises, such as these:
The farmer's walk. Pick up one kettlebell on each side, pinch your shoulders down and back, and walk 20 feet (across a gym) four times.
The suitcase carry . Pick up a kettlebell with one hand (like you're carrying a suitcase) and walk 20 feet (across a gym) four times. Don't lean to the side. Repeat the exercise while carrying the kettlebell on the other side.
The goblet carry . "Pick up the kettlebell with two hands and hold it in front of you as if you're taking a sip from it. "Then walk 20 feet back and forth a few times. That works your arm muscles, shoulders, biceps, and upper back muscles."
The kettlebell swings. Hold the kettlebell with two hands and swing it back and forth between your legs.
If you are interesting kettlebell customised workout program, then Tranquillity 360 Fitness Personal Trainers/ Fitness Experts can design a bespoke program tailored for you.
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.