The kettlebell. Some of us love it, but many do not know enough about it to have an opinion. Well put plain and simple, kettlebell training is magic. Sounds corny, right? It might be but it is true. Having been around for as long as it has, around 300 years, the benefits of a kettlebell workout have been experienced for centuries and will continue on. Here at the FHITTING ROOM, the kettlebell is one of the cornerstones of our workouts. From kettlebell swings and deadlifts, to snatches and figure 8’s, the kettlebell is not only one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment but it has the uncanny ability to give you a full body workout. That’s right: full body workout, strength and cardio in one piece of equipment.
Still need some convincing? Our head trainer, Eric “El Capitán” Salvador, compiled a list of 10 benefits of kettlebell training based on science, research, and his own personal experiences:
- Improves aerobic capacity. Kettlebells offer crazy calorie burning potential when used correctly. Kettlebell HIIT training, as we offer at FHITTING ROOM, is great for losing fat and building muscle.
- Improves functional strength. Functional strength is strength that transfers to everyday life activities. Like squatting, jumping, pushing and pulling. Kettlebell training allows you to train unilaterally as well as in different planes of motion. Unilateral training is important because it allows us to identify imbalances in our arms and legs. If your arms & legs are the branches to a tree, your core is the trunk. Having a powerful trunk is essential in allowing us to tackle everyday life activities.
- Versatile workouts. There are over a 100 total body exercises you can do with a kettlebell. I’d say if there was one piece of equipment I could have during quarantine, it would have to be a kettlebell. The ability to train my strength, endurance, balance, & flexibility with just a kettlebell is all I need and that’s priceless.
- Enhances body awareness & coordination. Kettlebell movements require coordination as some movements are dynamic in nature. Kettlebell movements like swings, snatches, and figure 8s will require you to be aware of your body moving in space, otherwise known as proprioception.
- Low Impact, Huge Cardio benefits. Great alternative for conventional cardio like running or exercises that require a lot of jumping. If you want a high cardio intense workout try doing an EMOM of kettlebell snatches, kettlebell cleans or swings for 5 minutes. Pick a rep scheme that will allow you to complete all the reps under a minute with good form. The snatch is a very high skill movement and will have your heart rate through the roof. When I’m training I do 10 snatches on each arm with a 24g for 5 minutes. That’s 100 snatches!
- Power Up. Kettlebells develop explosive hip power and speed as well as develop an overall stronger posterior chain. The most effective exercise for hip power is the swing. The hips play a major role in athletics. Hip strength is also important because it ensures trunk stability and helps prevent injuries. The swing is a great exercise to strengthen the legs without loading the knee. After my ACL surgery I rehabbed my knee by incorporating various swings to get my strength & power back in my leg.
- Grip Strength. This is one of the most important factors when training with a kettlebell. Without grip strength it’s hard to do simple things like holding the kettlebell in the rack position. Having a strong grip will enable you to properly swing, snatch, and clean for longer periods of time. Not to mention a weak handshake is a pet peeve of mine. No one likes a weak handshake. Two of my favorite exercises for training my grip are the bottoms up press and the farmers carry.
- Compact and Portable. Kettlebells don’t take up a lot of space, they last forever and are cost friendly. They are also great if you and your friends want to do a workout at the park or track because they are easy to transport. Believe me I know!
- Improves Balance & Stabilization. If you only train with machines at a gym you’ll never get the benefits of training balance or any of those stabilizer muscles because machines train your body in a fixed path. Life is not a fixed path. When training with a kettlebell you need to control the movement path. While doing this you’ll be forced to fire those stabilizer muscles of the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Having strong stabilization muscles in all ranges is important for not just strength but for healthy, mobile joints that will remain injury free.
- Perfect For All Ages. Kettlebells are beneficial for everyone young or old. They are compact, inexpensive, virtually indestructible and can be used anywhere. The unique nature of the kettlebell lifts provide a powerful training tool that can replace any machine at a gym. No other tool offers as many all-around benefits in such a tight package. You can supplement them into your current training plan or you can use them solely as your main training program.
Muscles worked during a kettlebell swing
We asked Dr. Riley J. Williams III, Orthopedic Surgeon, FHITTING ROOM Advisory Board Member and frequent FHIXer what he loves most about kettlebells.
“Fitness is a big part of both my professional and personal lives. As an Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine doctor, I am tasked with helping people with knee and shoulder problems keep active and moving. As we all age, normal joint wear and tear can limit what we do as part of our exercise routine. My personal discovery of functional fitness training was a revelation. High Intensity Interval Training combined dumbbell/kettlebell strength work has enabled me to stay active and vital. It is my belief that with proper instruction and technique, functional training is a "fitness hack" that can be utilized throughout their entire life.” - Dr. Riley J. Williams III, Orthopedic Surgeon, Knee - Shoulder - Elbow Specialist, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York.
The benefits speak for themselves. Kettlebell training is not only extremely effective but it is incredibly accessible too. People of all fitness levels can pick up a kettlebell and with proper coaching will become kettlebell fanatics. Even people with established fitness regimens were astounded when they discovered how much their training benefited when they incorporate kettlebells.
Convinced but don’t have a kettlebell at home? Don’t sweat it! We got you covered. Our UWS location is offering Open Gym. Take a FHITTING ROOM LIVE! class from the comfort and cleanliness of our UWS studio with access to all the kettlebells. To book a spot, just check out our schedule here.
Or, you could buy a bell RIGHT now. We just launched a partnership with Kettlebell Kings and not only do they have bells in stock but they are also extending a 10% discount to outFHIT your home; shop here and use the discount code Fhittingroom.