Strength training is a critical element of any exercise program. Increasing muscle promotes fat loss and increases resting metabolism. The conventional methods of strength training generally include weight training of some sort. Kettlebells offer an alternative to traditional weight training, and this style of weight training may offer some surprising advantages over regular weight training.
Kettlebell training involves specific rhythmic movements of a kettlebell. Kettleballs are objects made of cast iron that resemble a ball with a handle. They range in weight from less than ten pounds to over 100 pounds. Kettlebells have seen regular use in Russia for hundreds of years. In recent decades, they are becoming more popular in the West because of the varying aspects that benefit cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.
Compared to regular weight training, kettlebell training offers several additional advantages. While all of the traditional exercises with weights can be performed with kettlebells, several exercises are specific to kettlebells. Regular weight training typically targets specific muscle groups, but with kettlebell training, several muscle groups operate to perform the movements. The two types of weight training, regular and kettlebell, offer similar results, but kettlebell training takes less time because it works several areas at once. Regular weight training is generally done separately from cardiovascular training.
However, kettlebell training offers intensive cardiovascular exercise simultaneous to strength training. The same is true for improvements in core strength and flexibility. Because of the asymmetrical nature of the kettleball, training requires improvement in balance. Additionally, the movements involved require full range of motion that improves flexibility while it strengthens the core. When comparing regular weight training to kettlebell training, the differences are seen in the advantages stemming from kettlebell training.
While kettlebell training offers additional benefits to cardiovascular health, flexibility, and core strength, the strength training gained from kettlebell training remains as effective as weight training, possibly more so. As with weight training, should the person desire bulk, they should use a heavier kettlebell. Should the person simply desire toning and weight loss, lighter kettlebells suffice. Specific areas can still be targeted with kettlebells. A person can still perform bicep curls, tricep curls, and other exercises associated with regular weight training.
However, kettlebells increase the effectiveness of the workout with exercises including the snatch, wing, clean, jerk, and others. Additionally, many prefer kettlebell training because it simulates real world activities, like carrying children or groceries. The muscles groups required for situations faced in life are actually the muscle groups developed. Comparatively, regular weight training focuses on the development of the muscle in a standing or lying position. These exercises do not relate to real-life needs as kettlebell exercises do.
When comparing regular weight training to kettlebell training, the results to strength training are similar. The differences include the time necessary to see the same results, the additional cardiovascular workout, the strengthening of the core, and the improvements to flexibility. Kettlebell training should be initially approached with the tutelage of an expert who can teach the proper technique and ensure the movements are done safely. When done safely, kettlebell training is highly effective for numerous areas of physical health, including strength training.