Why Kettlebells Are a Great Addition to Your Workout Routine

Kettlebells on gym floor

CrossFit workouts may have made the kettlebell popular, but this piece of equipment isn’t new to the exercise scene.

In fact, kettlebells have been used by athletes since the 1700s, says to Ryan Richmond, a certified strength and conditioning coach at T3 Performance, an athletic training center in Avon, Ohio, that is part of University Hospitals Rehabilitation Services. Kettlebells were originally used as a counterweight for grains in Russian markets, Mr. Richmond says.

“The Russians saw they could use the kettlebell as a fitness tool, and the rest is history,” Mr. Richmond says.

Benefits of a Kettlebell

Kettlebells are similar to barbells and dumbbells, but the handle is further from the center of mass. You can hold a kettlebell handle with one or both hands and use it for dynamic movements that improve strength and explosive power.

Kettlebells are versatile, portable, suitable for all fitness levels, and are easy to incorporate into a cardio circuit routine, Mr. Richmond says.

Kettlebells can help improve:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Core stabilization
  • Cardio conditioning

When working out with a kettlebell, you want to select a weight that challenges you, but isn’t so heavy that you sacrifice form, Mr. Richmond says.

Kettlebell Exercises

Common kettlebell exercises include:

  1. Russian kettlebell swing, which works the muscles in the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, pecs and grip
  2. Turkish get-up, a complex, total-body exercise that increases torso stabilization and overall strength
  3. Suitcase carry, which builds total body strength

Get Expert Advice

Kettlebell routines can be found online, but the best option is to work with a certified trainer or a physical therapist to prevent injuries, learn proper kettlebell technique and develop exercise routines, Mr. Richmond says.

“Even a simple swinging pattern has a lot of variables, including foot placement, hip movement and shoulder position,” he says. “It’s important to master good form and follow a training program to avoid injuries.”

Ryan Richmond, CSCS, is director of performance at T3 Performance, an athletic training center in Avon, Ohio, that is part of University Hospitals Rehabilitation Services. You can request an appointment with a UH rehab specialist or physical therapist online or by calling 216-983-PLAY (216-983-7529).

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