19 Benefits of Kettlebell Workouts
There are tons of different exercise tools available, but some may be more helpful than others. Kettlebell weights are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to standard weights, and many fitness enthusiasts find themselves wondering just how beneficial these tools are.
Kettlebell workouts could help decrease stomach fat, build stronger abs, increase circulation, and improve balance. Kettlebell workouts may also help to improve posture and increase aerobic endurance. Overall, kettlebells allow for versatile workouts that may help improve longevity.
In this article, we’ll explore all of the potential benefits of kettlebell workouts. This information can help you decide if adding a kettlebell to your workout routine is the right move for you. Still, considering the number of positive effects these workouts pose, it’s difficult to think of a reason not to invest in a kettlebell.
Decreased Stomach Fat
Many popular kettlebell workouts focus on momentum. This is significantly different from traditional free weight exercises. Instead of standing in one spot and focusing on only moving your arms or legs, kettlebell exercises encourage plenty of movement. Learning how to perform a kettlebell swing is one of the first things that new kettlebell owners do.
It’s also an excellent exercise for anyone looking to burn stubborn abdominal fat. That’s because a kettlebell swing requires you to engage your stomach and abs. In this way, it’s almost comparable to a standing crunch. A full set of these swings can increase your heart rate and help stomach muscles achieve a leaner, well-defined appearance.
When this type of exercise is combined with a high-fiber, high-protein diet and plenty of water and rest, it could lead to accelerated fat-burning. While jogging or running is often lauded as one of the best ways to burn fat, it can put excess strain on your knees and lead to serious heart problems. Exercising indoors with a kettlebell may be a safer and healthier option.
As mentioned above, kettlebell workouts can help you enjoy leaner, stronger abdominal muscles. Getting washboard abs isn’t easy, no matter what workout equipment you’re using. But kettlebells are ideally shaped and weighted for ab workouts.
While the traditional kettlebell swing is a fantastic place to start, it’s not the only effective ab-strengthening kettlebell exercise. Anyone looking to enjoy stronger, leaner abdominal muscles can also practice sit-ups and standing side bends with a kettlebell. If you consciously tighten your core muscles while working up a sweat, you may experience more dramatic and immediate results.
While performing kettlebell ab exercises, you may notice that your heart rate increases. This is completely normal and is one of the most beneficial and instantly noticeable effects of such workouts. An elevated heart rate during exercise is crucial to burning fat. If you haven’t yet calculated your ideal fat-burning heart rate, you may want to do so now.
When you get up and get moving, your heart rises to the occasion by pumping a little faster and harder than it does while you’re resting. This reaction helps ensure that oxygen-rich blood reaches every inch of your body. Poor circulation can be detrimental to your entire body, especially if you’re exercising.
That’s because our muscles require a steady flow of oxygen and fresh blood to remain healthy. When our muscle tissue is deprived of these life-sustaining substances, it can begin to decay and wither away. Exercise can help strengthen arterial pathways, ensuring all the major organs and tissues remain healthy.
The benefits of increased circulation include (but are not limited to):
- Improved skin appearance
- Decreased swelling in extremities
- Improved cognitive function
- Easier digestion
- Increased energy
- Fewer aches and pains
There are more than 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels in the average human body. That’s quite a lot of ground to cover, especially when you consider that the heart only pumps about ⅓ of a cup of blood with each heartbeat.
Individuals with vertigo understand how disconcerting balance problems can be. Still, anyone can fall prey to sudden and seemingly inexplicable difficulties with balance. This is especially true of seniors and those with chronic ear ailments.
While you may think that our legs and eyes are primarily responsible for our sense of balance, it’s actually our ears that keep us feeling stable and secure. When you develop an inner or middle ear infection, it can be a challenge to remain balanced. You may even experience symptoms of motion sickness, even while remaining perfectly still. Fortunately, regular exercise (especially with kettlebells) may be able to help.
Kettlebell exercises may not be able to cure an ear infection, but they can promote improved spatial awareness. This can help you feel more grounded while you swing your kettlebell, walk your dog, or cook up dinner.
Improved spatial awareness could also improve your sense of balance over time, even when ear issues crop up. This increase in balance and awareness may also help to improve poor posture.
Poor posture contributes to quite a few ailments. While bad posture might be generally off-putting, it can also lead to spinal deformities and injuries. At best, a slumped spine and shoulders can produce a painful amount of muscle tension. Tense muscles often push against nearby nerves, causing them to send pain signals to the brain.
As if this wasn’t reason enough to begin practicing better posture, there’s also some proof that constant slouching could be making you feel exhausted and fatigued. Poor posture can affect your health immediately. If left unchecked, symptoms of lazy posturing are bound to worsen.
Exercise could help, especially when that exercise involves a kettlebell. That’s because it’s impossible to maintain poor posture while using a kettlebell. If you do, you’ll likely injure yourself. Every kettlebell exercise stresses proper posturing, from your foot position to the direction of your inner elbows.
By following these directions and guidelines, you can enjoy a straighter spine and healthier back. If you are struggling to correct your posture or practice kettlebell workouts safely, it may be wise to work out with a personal trainer. You don’t even need to leave your house thanks to online virtual personal trainers.
Blood Sugar Maintenance
Nearly one in ten Americans have diabetes. Sadly, more than 25% of these individuals are utterly unaware of their condition. This makes it impossible for them to seek the treatment they need or maintain normal blood sugar levels. Still, diabetes could be prevented and/or treated with exercise.
While a low-sugar diet can also help some individuals avoid this ailment, exercise is considered one of the best homeopathic answers to diabetes. Kettlebell workouts may help some people maintain their blood sugar levels and weight. When you exercise, you burn some of the fuel stored in your body.
For some, this means burning pure body fat. For others, it means burning off recently consumed calories and sugars. Diabetic individuals may enjoy lower blood sugar levels after exercising thanks to their body’s efficient fuel-burning system. As such, many fitness-conscious individuals with diabetes are capable of managing their symptoms without injecting insulin.
Still, it’s crucial to confer with your physician or medical care provider before changing your treatment plan. If you’re determined to handle your diabetes without insulin, you’ll need to receive professional medical approval beforehand. Doing so can help you avoid worsened symptoms, including diabetic shock.
Better Aerobic Endurance
It takes time to increase your aerobic performance and endurance, especially if you’re overweight or have a respiratory illness history. The process of becoming more fit and improving one’s endurance can be a frustrating and time-consuming one. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way around this.
However, kettlebell exercises are a low-impact form of aerobic activity that may help you increase your overall physical endurance. You may be suffering from low endurance if you exercise and notice:
- Feeling tired almost immediately
- Difficulty remaining focused on your task
- Trouble breathing after only a minute of activity
Overworking yourself early-on in your exercise regimen can result in injury. Additionally, those who overexert themselves are more likely to abandon their exercise goals. As such, patience is key to improving your aerobic potential and endurance.
Kettlebell exercises require a reasonable amount of upper body strength. If you don’t have bustling biceps, you may be able to pace your workouts alongside your muscle recovery times. For example, a healthy endurance plan involves resting your arms for a period of at least 24 hours after rigorous, muscle-tearing routines.
To build stronger muscles, you’ll first need to break them a little bit, or create microscopic tears. Like the Japanese practice of Kintsugi, you could strengthen your muscles by destroying and repairing them, again and again.
Of course, we’re not talking about full-on destruction. No, instead, we’re referring to micro-tears. Even the lightest physical activity can cause our muscles to form microscopic tears along their tissue fibers.
Individuals who haven’t exercised in years are most likely to experience these tiny rips. Still, any amount of activity that surpasses the ‘normal’ level can produce micro-tears.
Kettlebell workouts are designed to increase short-term muscle tears. Consequently, many people who adopt intense kettlebell workouts experience equally dramatic arm and shoulder discomfort during the first few weeks of their new routine. While this can be unpleasant at the time, it ultimately results in stronger, healthier muscle tissue.
The next time you experience delayed muscle soreness after a workout, just remember that your body only aches because it’s improving and healing itself. The best way to avoid these pains is to allow your body to recover after exercise.
However, giving up on regular exercise will only contribute to weaker muscles that tear more easily and more often. Ditching your workout routine may also greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease and muscle atrophy.
Reduced Disease Risk
Nearly every form of exercise can help reduce your risk of developing a wide variety of diseases, conditions, and ailments. After all, when you improve your circulatory health, the rest of the body tends to follow suit. Every major organ and biological system in your body relies on proper blood flow.
Consequently, kettlebell routines may be able to reduce your risk of developing:
- Heart disease
Of course, some individuals may be more genetically predisposed to developing certain types of conditions or cancers. However, a predisposition is not the same as a diagnosis. Excellent preventative care could mean the difference between a long and healthy life and a brief-yet-painful existence. After all, it’s not the years in your life, it’s the quality of those years that matter.
If you’re determined to live well into your senior years, you’ll want to take every measure possible to ensure that those golden years are truly glorious. If you’re stuck in a nursing home or hospital for the last decade of your life, you won’t be able to enjoy your life as fully as you would if you were fitter and healthier.
Committing to kettlebell exercises could help you enjoy improved joint mobility well into your retirement. This means more golfing, gardening, dancing, and fewer achy joints.
One of the greatest pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle is a decrease in overall flexibility. Working a desk job might be more comfortable than laboring out in the sun all day, but it can have equally disastrous consequences on your health.
While day laborers are prone to environmental dangers, white-collar workers are at risk of losing their ability to walk, stand, and move about comfortably. This decrease in flexibility can even contribute to the early onset of arthritis. Preventing these issues could start by doing 30 minutes of kettlebell exercises each day.
Along with yoga, this form of exercise can help improve circulation and reduce pressure on vital joints. Before beginning a kettlebell routine, you may want to spend approximately fifteen minutes stretching, breathing, and mentally preparing for your workout.
More Lean Muscle
Free weight exercises can be fantastic for muscle-builders, but less effective at building lean, attractive muscle. Many people confuse the concept of strength-training exercises with bodybuilding routines. These types of workouts are significantly different, and they boast contrasting results.
Using heavy weights and barbells is great for building lots of thick, heavy muscle tissue. The more weight you successfully lift, the larger your muscles will grow. This might work well for hyper-masculine personalities looking for that buff appearance, but it’s not well-suited to those in search of lean, fit bodies.
Adopting a kettlebell into your weightlifting routine can help you burn unwanted body fat without causing your biceps to inflate to Popeye proportions. Building lean muscle is all about repetition and low weight.
You may be able to enjoy a stronger, leaner body by doing more reps with less weight. Because the majority of kettlebells come in 5lb, 10lb, and 15lb varieties, you’ll likely always find one that suits your body type and current strength level.
Working out can be a challenge when you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed-out. The irony of this situation is that physical activity often releases feel-good hormones throughout your body. Lingering in a state of sedentary sadness is a dangerous cycle that might be broken with daily exercise.
Performing a handful of kettlebell workouts is a great way to improve your mood. Like those involving special tools or equipment, complex workouts tend to affect your cognitive ability and mood more significantly than standard aerobic exercises.
So, while many runners describe the sensation of ‘being high’ thanks to a flood of dopamine, kettlebell exercises may be far more potent. Sitting for long periods and generally remaining stationary and sedentary can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Similarly, being depressed can double your risk of suffering from a heart attack.
Exercise lowers your cardiovascular risks while boosting your body’s ability to distribute natural mood enhancers, like dopamine. As such, kettlebell workouts could result in a healthier and happier heart and mind.
Decreased Osteoporosis Risk
In the U.S., approximately 12 million people over the age of 50 have diagnosed osteoporosis. The vast majority of individuals diagnosed with this ailment are women. When women go through menopause, their natural levels of estrogen fall into decline. This lack of hormones is often the culprit behind menopause symptoms, including vaginal dryness.
However, this drop in estrogen also contributes to significant bone loss. Older women who fail to supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods or estrogenic snacks have a much higher chance of breaking a bone. Joints, including those in the hips and ankles, are particularly prone to fractures.
Adopting a daily exercise routine sooner rather than later, may help prevent osteoporosis. Kettlebell exercises are often considered to be strength exercises that work your skeletal muscle tissue. When this type of tissue is strengthened, the chance of massive bone loss decreases. Maintaining healthy skeletal muscle tissue is crucial to preventing atrophy.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects millions of Americans each year. As our society continues to become more reliant on technology, it struggles to keep up with that technology’s personal protective equipment. Millions of people have sacrificed their eyesight to computer monitors and blue-lit screens.
A similar amount has also risked their circulatory health and joint mobility while using their computer’s keyboard and mouse. Touchscreens may also contribute to the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially smartphones with touchscreens. Users of these devices typically have their wrist bent at an odd or 90° angle.
Prolonged positioning can squeeze the nerves in the wrist and hand, resulting in numbness, tingling, and reduced finger and wrist mobility. Over the long term, these effects can become permanent or require intensive surgical treatment. Using a kettlebell could help you prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or reduce its severity.
Kettlebells have thick, weighty handles. Every kettlebell exercise begins by firmly grasping this handle. With time, this simple action can result in healthier, stronger arteries in the arms, wrists, and hands. It could also reduce pressure on the nerves in those areas.
Individuals looking for the ideal wrist workout may want to try kettlebell exercises before seeking extreme surgical solutions.
Besides increased circulation and improved mood, kettlebell workouts may also help you think more clearly. The increase in oxygen-rich blood flowing throughout your body bodes well for your mental acuity and cognition. A lack of oxygen can be permanently damaging and could result in complete physical impairment.
Increasing your brain’s access to oxygen can help reduce the risk of stroke. It can also help you work through troubling thoughts or worries more efficiently. If you’re suffering from a mental block, a few kettlebell exercises might just help you break on through to the other side.
With every drop of sweat that pours from your body, your brain will be rejoicing in its sudden bath of oxygenated blood. And with this new peak in cognitive ability, you may experience improved focus. Many of the most productive individuals start their day with thirty minutes of moderate exercise for this reason.
Additionally, kettlebell exercises could be the whole-body workout you’ve been craving. If you’re short on time, this simple weight could be the solution you’ve been searching for.
Using a kettlebell helps your muscles grow stronger and leaner, but it also counts as aerobic exercise. Instead of jogging to increase your lung capacity, you could use a kettlebell. Not only will you be reducing the strain on your ankles, knees, and hips, but you may also be helping to protect your heart.
In terms of versatility, kettlebells provide. You can incorporate a kettlebell into your current routine with minimal fuss, and you may even replace previous exercises with improved, kettlebell-heavy alternatives. Anyone seeking to enjoy a wide variety of workouts with the help of a single tool may want to invest in a kettlebell.
Full-Body Fat Burning
Working out with a kettlebell doesn’t only burn fat in your abdominal area—it also burns fat all across your body. That’s because kettlebell workouts provide an optimal combination of strength training and aerobic exercise. This results in increased fat burning capabilities that range from tighter abs and leaner arms to stronger shoulders and perkier butt.
Consequently, a rigorous kettlebell routine can replace your typical gym workout. Rather than moving from machine to machine, wiping up puddles of sweat as you go, you could achieve the same results with a single, appropriately weighted kettlebell.
Cutting down on refined sugars and carbohydrates and drinking plenty of water can help your body process your burned fat more effectively. Still, there’s almost no body area you can’t slim down with a kettlebell’s help.
The best kettlebell workouts for burning fat are often the simplest ones. You could even solely practice kettlebell swings and still enjoy a whole-body workout. Still, a combination of exercises is bound to result in more noticeable results.
A decent percentage of the population is dissatisfied with their appearance. This deep unhappiness may partially stem from unreasonable beauty standards. However, it’s also an unpleasant side-effect of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. Maintaining or creating a healthy body image begins with recognizing negative self-image issues.
Once individuals consciously recognize their frustration, they can decide to change their habits or thinking patterns to improve their self-esteem and appearance. Exercise is a healthy alternative to binge eating, bulimia, or anorexic practices.
Because kettlebell exercises work out the entire body, they’re a convenient option that is well-suited to avoid costly gym memberships and home equipment investments. While you may not immediately shed dozens of pounds after completing a kettlebell workout, you’re bound to enjoy a sense of self-satisfaction.
Part of creating a healthy body image for yourself involves recognizing your own successes. By consciously doing your best to stay fit and healthy, you may experience an instantaneous feeling of relief, confidence, and wellbeing.
You don’t have to be a size zero to feel healthy and live your best life. Half the battle is simply getting up and trying your best. When you feel positive about your actions and choices, you’re bound to feel less anxious or stressed out. Because prolonged stress can shorten a person’s life, this peace of mind could translate to more years on Earth.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of kettlebell workouts is the potential to enjoy a longer and healthier life. Like most forms of exercise, kettlebell-based exercises can ward off various diseases and conditions, many of which only manifest later in life.
This includes heart disease, multiple types of cancer, and osteoporosis. When kettlebell workouts are combined with other forms of life-lengthening lifestyle habits, they become more effective. Drinking plenty of water, getting several hours of sleep each night, and enjoying a nutrient-dense diet are all excellent complements of kettlebell exercises.
Individuals that exercise every day are more likely to reap the benefits of these habits. While a person’s genetics influences their risks of developing certain conditions and may be partially responsible for setting an ‘expiration date’ within our cells, proper exercise, diet, and rest could potentially add several years to your life.
As such, including kettlebell workouts in your daily routine may certainly be worth the time, energy, and effort.
Kettlebell workouts pose the same types of benefits as many other types of strength-training workouts. However, kettlebells can be easier to manage than free weights. They also improve grip strength better than other types of weights.
Incorporating a kettlebell into your workout routine could help you burn stomach fat, increase your ab strength, and improve circulation and balance. Kettlebell workouts may also help you achieve better posture, aerobic endurance, joint mobility, and flexibility. Daily exercises could also help your burn fat across all stubborn body regions.
Those looking to improve overall health may want to consider kettlebell exercise. Not only could regular workouts lower stress levels and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis, but they could also help you focus more effectively. A better self-image and longer life may only be a kettlebell away!
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
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- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: What is Diabetes?
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