Find out why you NEED to start using kettlebells for your cardio, strength, and conditioning workouts to boost your fitness routine.
Why are kettlebells so popular
There are so many different kinds of equipment in fitness. There’s machines, bands, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, stability balls, and maybe you have noticed kettlebells. Although they seem like a newer fad, they have actually been gaining popularity for some time now. They look…underwhelming. Like a rock with a handle, right? So what is all the hype about?
Well let me tell you why I have grown to love kettlebells. Starting with the build and shape. The special weight distribution of the kettlebell is what makes them so unique. Unlike dumbbells, the kettlebell’s center of mass is at one point slighlty below the handle. Making the weight act unbalanced in grip and advantagious for fast-paced movement. I would love to give you the breakdown of why this is, but I am not an expert in physics. Just pick up a kettlebell and gently swing it to notice a big difference versus a dumbbell of the same weight. It’s much more challenging to handle a weight that is farther from the body, like a kettlebell. Whereas the weight on a dumbbell is equal to the distance of the handle and distributed over 2 centers of mass.
This key characteristic is what gives the kettlebell all of its benefits for training.
Are kettlebells good for cardio or strength workouts?
Kettlebells have become the ultimate tool because they provide a diverse purpose in the gym. Being that they are a free weight, they are, by nature, a tool for strength. Anytime we load our muscles with an outside force, they respond by getting stronger. But we can also utilize the kettlebell’s unique shape to increase our balance and coordination and therefore core and joint strength. This is done by handling the kettlebell by the base, or by the handle, in a high grip or low, or even holding the bell side up. Some exercises that emphasize these skills and are unique to the kettlebell are windmills, around the world, and turkish getups.
How can a tool made for strength training also be for cardio? Because of it’s shape! Remember when I said that it’s design allows for fast-paced movement? The best examples of that are the swing and oympic lifts, like cleans and snatches. The distribution and load of the weight allows the kettlebell to be used in powerful movements that require larger muscle groups or even the entire body. Full body work reduces isolation fatigue allowing for higher reps. Longer work time ellicits a response of increased heart rate and circulation which is, by definition, cardio training.
How to get an effective kettlebell cardio workout
You want to start by deciding if you are looking to build endurance or conditioning. Do you want to work in longer bouts at a lower intensity and steady pace? Or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style with shorter intervals of work time? You will need to adjust your intensity, accordingly.
Typically, you will use a heavier bell if you want a higher intensity or a lighter bell if you want a lower intensity. The higher the weight, the more challenging the movement becomes and more work that is required of your muscles. However, adjusting the variation of the exercise or exercise choice can also determine what weight to use.
For example, if you want a HIIT workout with power movements, but you are still novice, you may still want a lighter bell. That way you can stay powerful and effective in your movements since you don’t have time to waste.
Or you may have to choose exercises based on how many reps you can perform in the given time frames you want to work in. Like if your kettlebell is quite heavy, but you want a lower-intensity, endurance workout. In that case you might need to stick with more basic exercises that utilize the full body or predominantly lower body muscles. That way you can knock out more reps at a time before fatiguing.
If you are having a hard time figuring out the best time intervals for cardio workouts based on your goal, I gotchya covered! Head over to my post The Most EFFECTIVE Length for Cardio Workouts for some simple tips to build your own workouts!
Kettlebells for cardio workouts
When using a new peice of equipment, it’s a good idea to start with some guidance. So join me for this killer Full Body Kettlebell Cardio Workout. We will push a pace, boost your stamina, and sweat it out