The Benefits of Kettlebell Exercises

There are all kinds of different ways you can work on your body through exercise to build up strength, stamina and agility. To achieve the body beautiful, there are also many ingenious kinds of apparatus for honing the body into shape. One of the more unusual yet amazingly effective items of equipment is the kettlebell.

kettlebell exercisesThere are already many great kettlebell workout dvd programs available to show you how to get the most from them, but it can also be worthwhile to have a written description to hand to appreciate exactly what it is and what you can use it for and how. This article will guide you through the origins of this curious device, why it is such an effective piece of training equipment and how to use it to get the most from it.

What is a Kettlebell?

For those of you who have never heard of or seen one of these before, it is essentially a weighted cast iron sphere with a large handle. It shape and weight enables you to perform a series of ballistic exercises combining cardio, strength and agility/flexibility workouts.

While they are excellent weighted training aids, kettlebells differ from traditional weights and dumbbells in that their center of gravity or mass is extended beyond the handle. This creates a moment of force that requires multiple muscle actions and therefore works whole groups of muscles at the same time. The result is a partly aerobic workout that is more in keeping with high intensity interval training than traditional weight training.

Where Do They Come From?

Kettlebells (also known as girya) originated in Russia back in the 1700s. They were used as part of the physical training programs of the Soviet Army in the 20th Century. Kettlebell lifting has been a popular competitive sport in Russia and many other European countries since the 1940s, finding its way across the Atlantic to the United States in the 1960s. The sport became known as Girevoy Sport and it entails athletes aiming to achieve the highest number of repetitions of either the snatch lift with a single kettlebell or the clean lift with double kettlebells in a set time period.

Working Out

For general workouts to build agility, strength and endurance and to improve muscle tone, this apparatus is best used in a set of lift and swing movements with multiple repetitions followed by a short break and then more repetitions. This is a great way to burn calories and in one study, users were found to aerobically burn 13.6 calories per minute and anaerobically burn 6.6 calories per minute over a full workout.

This is a powerful workout tool that needs to be used by a trained person or someone under supervision at the outset. It should be avoided with anyone with back, neck or shoulder problems or those with a weak core. Used in the right way, they benefit health, mobility, strength and range of motion.

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