Since Pavel Tsatsouline brought the first formal instructor training to the United States in 2001, fit pros, fitness enthusiasts, and weekend warriors alike have been turning to this cast iron ball on a U-shaped handle for strength, cardio and power workouts.
For it’s versatility, portability, safety (when used with sound education!), durability, fun-factor and price (approximately $2/pound), the kettlebell- “girya” in Russian- is an A++ piece of equipment with an appealing return-on-investment for gyms and trainers, alike.
Unlike a dumbbell, barbell, medicine ball, or most any other type of strength equipment, where the object’s center of mass is right in your hand, the kettlebell’s center of mass is several inches outside of your grip. This makes it very functional when you think of tasks we perform in everyday life- like carrying groceries or taking out the trash.
The granddaddy of all kettlebell exercises is a SWING. Through the range of a swing, the ball (bottom part of the kettlebell) swivels out, changing your center of gravity, and challenging your core strength. This phenomenon is unique to kettlebell, since the majority of the object’s weight is outside of your grip. It is why swings do not work the same when the mass is fixed in your hands, as it is with a dumbbell. Furthermore, kettlebell swings target the largest muscles in the body, legs and glutes, while also delivering a whopping heart rate response.
From an energy expenditure standpoint, kettlebell swings are very similar to performing body weight vertical jumps over and over again. The difference is, with kettlebell swings, the potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy in the BELL and the potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy in the BODY with vertical leaps. Kettlebell swings give you all the high intensity of powerful vertical leaps without the impact on the joints. In other words, kettlebells deliver a vigorous workout while still being kind on the joints.
In a day and age where people are doing WAY too much high intensity interval training, it’s just a matter of time before the knees, hips, and lower back pay the price. Turn to kettlebells to reap all the rewards of HIIT without jarring the joints.
Brook Benten, M.Ed. is a master trainer for CardioPump™ Kettlebell: Kettlebell Education for Campus Recreation. CardioPump™ Kettlebell is presented by CardioPump™ Fitness, LLC. Contact: Brook@CardioPump.com 512-657-1805