In the 1700s, Russian strongmen developed kettlebells to increase their strength and endurance, especially during competitions.
This tradition has worked its way towards the modern world, where kettlebells have become crucial tools of every gym since they provide a full-body workout.
These tools are typically made of iron or steel, and you can find them in various weights, starting from an 8-pound kettlebell to as much as 80 pounds.
The amazing thing about using kettlebells is the ability to create a full-body workout without the need for other fancy equipment.
In this article, we will discuss the mechanism of action that gives kettlebells their amazing properties, as well as the benefits you can expect from working out with these tools.
Kettlebell swing benefits
Kettlebell swings offer a myriad of benefits, which made it difficult for us to summarize all of them in one list. However, we opted for the most important benefits to help you understand the value of this exercise.
Here’s a shortlist of the top benefits:
Offers an efficient full-body workout
This is perhaps the most important benefit of kettlebell swings, as most other workout routines recruit a specific muscle group, which offers fewer health benefits and delays weight loss. The most common mistake that beginners make when they start going to the gym is focusing too much on machines because they might feel like they provide advanced muscle training. However, the benefits you can reap from these machines do not come close to what a full-body workout using kettlebells and/or dumbbells has to offer. By putting your lower body in charge of the swing motion while stabilizing the kettlebell with your upper body, all the muscles are recruited, leading to extensive tissue hypertrophy and cardiovascular stimulation.
Stimulate your cardiovascular system
Once you swing the kettlebell to the air, your heart rate will rapidly augment to meet the demands of your muscles. As you perform this exercise repeatedly, the heart will be pumping blood at a massive rate, expanding the blood vessels through the release of sympathomimetic neurotransmitters that make the cardiovascular system more efficient at delivering nutrients and oxygen to peripheral tissues.
What people don’t know is that most exercises offer either muscle hypertrophy or cardiovascular training, which makes kettlebell swings an exception to this rule.
Promotes better flexibility
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people have a sedentary lifestyle that gradually wreaks havoc on their organs. For instance, a common chief complaint seen in individuals of all age groups is the decreased flexibility and range of motion (ROM) of their joints. The hip articulation is particularly prone to this issue, hence the need for regular stretching and exercising to restore its functionality. The good news is that kettlebell exercises depend on the coordinated rotation of several articulations (e.g., hip, shoulder, elbow), making it the perfect exercise to improve flexibility and reduce injury.
Burns a substantial number of calories
According to a study published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), 20 minutes of exercise using a kettlebell can burn up to 400 calories.
Compared to other exercises, this number is incredible!
Moreover, researchers found that the aftereffect of kettlebell training is also significant, as the process of repairing the muscles requires energy and calories. In summary, the total calories burnt from this exercise makes it an extremely effective way to lose weight or reduce your body fat percentage.
Neck and back pain are common issues amongst the general population. These symptoms could easily become chronic, which negatively impacts the lifestyle of patients. Unfortunately, using conventional pharmacological drugs to address pain has numerous consequences, including tolerance, addiction, and intoxication. Consequently, experts recommend finding natural solutions to manage pain, such as the consumption of foods and herbs with potent anti-inflammatory properties, as well as performing exercises that strengthen the muscles of the affected area. For instance, working on your lower back muscles could significantly reduce the frequency of back pain as well as its severity.
In one study, scientists analyzed the effects of kettlebell training on back pain and spine loading during various phases of the swing motion. At the end of the study, they found that “Some unique loading patterns discovered during the kettlebell swing included the posterior shear of the L4 vertebra on L5, which is opposite in polarity to a traditional lift. Thus, the quantitative analysis provides an insight into why many individuals credit kettlebell swings with restoring and enhancing back health and function, although a few find that they irritate tissues.” In other words, kettlebell training relieves the tension of the vertebrae to help patients deal with pain.
Another common injury that causes severe pain and immobility is ACL tears. The bad news is that doing kettlebell exercises on an injured knee will significantly exacerbate the situation. Fortunately, Dr. Kevin Crawford is an ACL surgeon based in Texas who has helped hundreds of patients deal with such knee conditions.
Kettlebell training is a fantastic way to stimulate your entire body while taking advantage of the benefits listed above. Hopefully, this article helped you appreciate the role kettlebell exercises play and how they could help you become more fit. For more interesting topics, check out my other blog posts.
Here’s to your health!
For more information about Dr. Kevin Crawford, click below.
Dr. Kevin Crawford
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Disclaimer: This information is provided as an educational service only, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Anyone seeking specific medical advice or assistance should consult his or her doctor or orthopedic surgeon.