Speculated to have begun in Ancient Greece, kettlebells have been used for centuries to develop strength and endurance. They gained popularity throughout the years and eventually found a great home in Russia when founder of heavy athletics Dr. Vladislav Kravesky introduced them to the Russian athletic community in the mid 1880’s. To this day, kettlebell remains a national pride of Russia and was officially declared the sport of Russia in 1974.
It didn’t take long for North America to catch on to the kettlebell trend. By 2002, the bells made it onto the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine Hot List as ‘the Hot Weight of the Year,’ and today kettlebell is a proven workout for both the military and professional athletes everywhere.
Here at TruFusion, we say that if it’s a good enough workout for the world’s toughest champions, it’s good enough for our TruTribe, so take a look below for the nine reasons you should start using kettlebells today.
1. Build Muscle
At the very basics, there are two kettlebell styles with wildly different results. The first, RKC—Russian Kettlebell Club— style, uses a heavier bell for shorter periods of time to tone muscle by exerting all of your effort into a few reps. Think of this as Olympic Lifting, using all of your energy to expel your power into a few very solid lifts. But instead of having swollen muscles after lifting free weights, kettlebell lifting creates dense, toned muscles with more fiber per inch.
TruFusion kettlebell instructor Cristina Osorio said:
“You get really lean but really strong. If you want to see a physical change quick, use RKC style.”
2. It’s Cardio– without Running!
The second type, IKFF—the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation— style, focuses on high cardio, high number of reps, and lower weight. Considered the endurance style, you swing a lighter bell for an extended period of time, increasing heart rate and engaging in cardio to lose fat and encourage lean muscle. TruFusion instructor Lawrence Fernandez said:
“The kettlebell is one of the most dynamic tools for strength, flexibility, and endurance training.”
In fact, swinging a bell is frequently compared to cross-country skiing. The bonus? Because kettlebell swings create very minimal impact on your lower body, it’s the perfect solution to bringing cardio into your workout routine without agitating your knees.
3. Enhance Your Yoga Practice
Kettlebell workouts directly strengthen your yoga practice and general athleticism. Your ability to ease into and out of yoga poses improves as your core strengthens, your body leans out, and you learn how to accelerate and decelerate your body.
4. Build Your Booty
Because the motion of swinging a kettlebell through your legs targets everywhere from your mid-thigh to lower chest, almost every move requires a high volume of gluteal engagement, lifting your bum to new heights with each move.
5. Target Your Core
“It’s like you’re doing a crunch and an extension every time you’re swinging a bell,”
said TruFusion co-founder and instructor Martin Hinton. Because of these movements, the target area is from mid-thigh to lower chest, which tends to be a trouble spot for a lot of people.
6. Get Rid of Back Pain
A University of Nebraska study found that a lot of lower back pain stems from tightness and the fact that most people do not engage their glutes when they move and lift. With kettlebells, the repetitive hip-hinging action of swinging the bell stabilizes your hips through your glutes, enlivening your lower back and resulting in much less pain.
7. Prevent Future Injuries
Repetitive vinyasa can create stiffness and injury in the shoulder capsule, but using kettlebells increases both mobility and stability. The lifting and swinging actions of kettlebells increase agility and ease of motion while holding the bell over your head stabilizes your shoulder girdle through your rotator cuff. Because these actions strengthen your shoulder, it less likely to roll out of the shoulder capsule when practicing yoga or other sports.
8. It’s for Everyone
For many, Kettlebell seems to be a man’s sport, but because lifting and swinging a bell draws power from your legs, hips, and glutes—where many women keep most of their mass—kettlebell is more woman-friendly than people think. Cristina said:
“It’s less about the body and more about the will of strength.”
9. Because They Rock and So Do You
If we haven’t convinced you yet, come see for yourself. At TruFusion, we incorporate kettlebells into many of our classes including Kettlebell Core, Down n’ Dirty Barefoot Bootcamp, TruHot Pilates, TruHot Pilates + Sculpt, TruCircuit, Kettlebell Battleropes, Tru Barefoot Bootcamp, and Tru Kettlebell. Lawrence said:
“The next time you have the choice of hard pressing a dumbbell or kettlebell of the same weight, I challenge you to try the kettlebell and experience first hand that all weight is not created equal.”
Check the schedule for our next kettlebell class and start rocking your body today!