Why I Love Kettlebells and You Should, Too

December 12, 2014

I am a gym rat. It’s my one true vice. Not chocolate or salt or even espresso. I am deeply attached to my workouts. If I could move my bed into the gym, I just might consider it. There’s nothing like a good sweat.

I love the strain of my muscles as they push, pull lift and now…kettle bell swing.

These cannonball-shaped workout tools are not new to the fitness scene but when I had my first experience with the kettle bell swing, I fell in love, not with an actual kettlebell, but like women love chocolate, so do I love the swinging of the ‘bell.’

And it’s a lust that is actually good for me. Each workout with ‘bells’ is a battle with my body and failure is not an option. I take my workouts seriously as they give me the strength I need for my long work days. You will never see me checking my phone or texting in between sets or engaging in conversation I don’t need to be engaged in. I don’t go for gimmicks or wonder drinks.

I adore tough training that is effective. I work with a tough trainer. If you want to change your body to be stronger and leaner, you must engage in two things: eat unrefined, whole, unprocessed foods sans junk food (you didn’t think you could escape that with me, did you?)…and engage in tough, sweaty workouts often (even if that workout is Pilates or yoga). The result is a leaner, stronger, healthier you.

I’ve yet to meet someone whose workout could not benefit from adding kettlebells, in my opinion.

It’s time to swing a kettle bell. This form of training will improve your body shape, give you strength you did not think was possible and create the endurance you need to manage life’s little adventures.

For me, the real value of kettlebell training is the high repetition and explosive movement needed to move the bells. It seems that kettlebells involves every muscle I have…and some I was less aware of having.

Why not just use dumbbells? While essential (and I use them almost daily…), kettlebells make the workout tougher because they are harder to control and manage. And in the case of building strength, harder is better.

From the basic kettlebell swing to the many other movements associated with them, like the Turkish Get Up for core strength, ‘bells’ displace the weight differently than a dumbbell and force you to use more stabilizer muscles and work the muscles you are targeting through a longer range of motion. Finally, they allow you to move a bit more smoothly from exercise to exercise so there’s less down time. And less downtime means less workout time because I am packing more work into my time.

Always fit, using kettle bells twice a week has changed everything for me. In just six months, I saw strength and definition build where I thought it was hopeless. My muscular biceps are leaner; my butt is tighter. I am most definitely stronger especially in my shoulders and legs.

Finally, as much as I love technology, I love simple, tried and true methods of fitness. We have all seen our share of fads come and go. We have all been pitched some questionable methods and products over the years (think shake-weights…). And now we live in a time when being fit involves more technology than Jack LaLanne would have used in his entire lifetime of fitness. Kettlebells are simple, almost elegant in their simplicity. Move the ‘bell’ in certain ways and see results. 

Like any workout, make sure you can manage it; be sure your health allows you to push yourself as hard as you want to push. I do believe that kettlebell training can be for everyone. I’m not a trainer, but I can tell you from a lifetime as a gym rat and from my own experience that adding kettle bells to your workout will result in a leaner, tighter you.

So if you’re ready for a no-nonsense, butt-kicking, it’s time to take up kettlebell training. I will leave you with this warning: be prepared to fall in love hard and fast.