If you've been looking for a fitness pick-me-up you've come to the right place. Kettlebells put the free in free-weights. This total-body workout involves swinging and lifting a handled weight in repetition. Heave-ho!
The kettlebell, or girya in Russian, is a cast iron weight that resembles a cannonball with a handle. Many companies produce their own brands of kettlebells and kettlebell exercise programs. Some modern kettlebells feature adjustable weights, are filled with sand rather than being solid or are rubber coated to improve safety for floors (and to a certain extent, toes. Ouch!)
Kettlebell weights range from 5 lbs to 175 lbs, although the traditional Russian kettlebell usually weighs roughly 35lbs (16kg).
Kettlebell training has been growing steadily in popularity because it focuses on basic training that requires functional, whole-body fitness. This is because lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces the entire body -- and specifically the core muscles -- to contract as a group. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscle groups at once, better mimicking physical activities such as digging, making them a perfect option for getting a whole body workout in a short time!
Unlike traditional dumbbells, the kettlebell's centre of mass is extended beyond the hand. This allows you to perform swinging movements that are not possible with traditional dumbbells. Because more muscle groups are utilized in the swinging and movement of a kettlebell than during the lifting of dumbbells, kettlebell workouts are sometimes claimed to be more effective, better for improving joint mobility and to yield quick results.
If you have existing injuries, it is important to take kettlebell training slowly to try and gently rehabilitate muscles rather than over-exerting them. If you have an especially weak core or back and shoulder problems, we advise you to check with a health professional (preferably a trained physiotherapist) before beginning kettlebell exercises in order to confirm that it is safe for you to do so. Specialised kettlebell workouts have been designed for pregnant women, so there is no need to stop training when you have a little one in tow!
Traditionally, kettlebells were measured in "poods"( a Russian Imperial unit of weight that was phased out in 1924), with a ‘one pood’ kettlebell weighing 16kg.