It seems like everywhere we go there are DVDs, books, and courses that talk up the benefits of kettlebell training. But how many of us actually know what those benefits are? I believe that if more fitness enthusiasts actually knew about those benefits, they would be highly motivated to include kettlebell exercises as an integral part of their training.
1. It Combines Both Cardio and Strength Training
One of the most important benefits of kettlebell training is that a well designed routine combines both cardio and strength training within one workout. By performing different kettleblell exercises back to back with little or no rest you not only build great strength and muscle endurance, but also force your body to work at your maximum heart rate.
The Result? An anaerobic workout that will make your muscles cry for mercy.
2. It is a Full-Body Workout
Most kettlebell exercises involve compound movements, i.e., movements that involve more than one muscle. These compound movements are great because they not only develop strength, but also improve your muscular coordination and balance. In addition they’re also great for building lean, hard muscle mass since your body must adapt by becoming stronger after an intense whole body workout session.
3. It is Great for Overall Fitness
I know that it’s hard to define what “being fit” exactly means. Some envision long distance athletes, such as marathon runners and triathletes, when they think of fit people. Others think of the big burly power lifters as being fit. And others yet say that it clearly must be Olympic gymnasts.
In my humble opinion it’s the person who consistently and reliably performs best in three areas:
Overall fitness can’t be achieved by doing only one type of activity. Ideally the exercise routine you choose should incorporate all three areas within an exercise program or (even better) within individual exercises. Kettlebell training is great because it works on your cardiovascular strength, your muscular strength, and your flexibility all at the same time. If you strive for balance in your workout regime this type of training is a real winner.
4. It Increases Mobility
A well designed ketllebell routine does not only increase your muscular flexibility, it also strengthens the muscles around your joints and develops joint stability. If you only pay attention to improving your flexibility, you could increase your risk for injury. You should always try to do movements that train your mobility, stability, and strength to get the optimum benefits.
5. It Develops Functional Strength
By concentrating on fundamental movement patterns, kettlebell training helps you develop real, usable functional strength. These basic exercises require your body to work as a unit instead of isolating particular muscles. I know bench pressing can be fun, but really, when was the last time you found yourself in a situation where you were lying on you back and had to press 200 lbs away from you? I think it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself in a situation where you might have to lift something from the floor to a place above your head.
6. It Develops CORE Strength
Since kettlebell training forces you to engage your core muscles in most exercises, you’ll develop a strong, functional core. The great thing is that kettlebell lifts, such as the Turkish Get Up, work both your abs AND lower back muscles. This prevents you from creating a muscular imbalance between the abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles. Also, note that these exercises train not only the superficial ab muscles, but also the deeper stabilizing and rotating muscles that are often harder to train.