Simply put: more working muscles = more energy used. A kettlebell looks like a handled canon ball; you grip the handle and lift rhythmically through movements that engage your whole body, as opposed to traditional stationary dumbbell lifts. Your asymmetrical grip on the handle makes you use more muscles, and works them harder. Some studies even say kettlebells are so efficient that a 20-minute routine is equivalent to 30-minutes of jogging on the treadmill and 30-minutes of weight lifting!
Two workouts in one
Cardio gives us "that good feeling" called confidence. But many of us skimp on the weight room because it makes us feel uncomfortable…like, where do I plant my gaze? Am I doing this correctly? Kettlebell exercises combine the confidence you get from cardio and the strengthening you need from weight training-without the awkwardness.
Here are two workouts you can try on your own use one, 10-pound kettlebell.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold kettlebell with both hands, palms facing your body. Keep your arms down. Squat, pushing your butt out, reaching down with the kettlebell until it's just above floor. Stand up quickly, raising kettlebell to your chest, bending your elbows out to the sides. Return to squat position.
Sit on floor with legs together, knees bent and feet flat. Hold kettlebell with both hands, palms facing each other, near left shoulder (elbows bent, ball resting on back of left forearm). Lift your feet about 12 inches, and lean back slightly like you're going to do a crunch. Then, twist your torso to the right while shifting the kettlebell to your right shoulder and swivel your knees to the left. Reverse (torso left, knees right).
A few small but important things to keep in mind...
As fun as kettlebells are, if you're not careful you can really throw something or someone out. So it's not a bad idea to have a trainer guide you through your first few sessions. Remember to grip the handle tightly, and make sure your palms are dry. If your hands get sweaty, pause and wipe them off before continuing.
Photo courtesy of girl-heroes.com.