Getting fit: The kettlebell


This series is dedicated to an overview of the equipment you can use in the comfort of your home to shape the body of your dreams.

Series entries:


 Third on our list


The kettlebell

The kettlebell is a cast-iron weight resembling a cannonball with a handle attached to it. They are primarily designed to be used for ballistic exercises, meaning explosive movements that use momentum such as swinging or twisting of the body.  Kettlebells originated from Russia, where they are associated with strongmen to this day.

Notable kettlebell types


Cast iron kettlebells

The standard cannonball shape with a handle; nothing fancy here. There are also adjustable variations available, but these kettlebells may be hard to find and can be very expensive.

Vinyl kettlebells

This variation of kettlebell has plastic or rubber covering the weight, similar to vinyl dumbbells.

Competition kettlebells

These are similar to Olympic barbells in the sense that they are created according to exact specifications to insure fairness in competitions.


Advantages of kettlebell training


Kettlebells are specifically designed for whole body ballistic movements. You use momentum to finish movements, which elevates your heart rate dramatically and allows you to lift heavier weight than usual. These movements are excellent for whole body conditioning and fat burning. Note that kettlebells can also be used to perform some of the same movements as the barbell or dumbbells, however they are not an ideal option and may cause wrist issues.

Kettlebells are great for improving your grip strength.

The dynamic movement may  prove more exciting than the monotonous nature of workouts on cardio machines ( we cover cardio machines later on).

Kettlebells are compact and mobile like dumbbells, making them easy to travel with.

Kettlebells are great for HIIT workouts, which we discussed in the dumbbell post earlier.


Disadvantages of kettlebell training


Kettlebells are generally not ideal for beginners. There is quite a lot to learn to avoid injuries. I suggest getting some training videos or books for guidance. Better yet, consider hiring a professional to teach you (this might get expensive though).

Kettlebells are not as versatile as dumbbells or barbells. They were designed with specific movements in mind. On the other hand, dumbbells and barbells can be used to do similar movements kettlebells have to offer.

Kettlebells are not suited for isolation exercises that target a specific muscle.

Considering the limited number of exercises and high learning curve, kettlebells are quite expensive compared to dumbbells or barbells.

Final word


Kettlebells make for a great addition to an already established equipment arsenal, bringing in new and more exciting movments to your workouts. I do not recommend starting with kettlebells, but that’s only my personal opinion. If you find kettlebells the most appealing on our list, it’s completely possible to start with them, but do so under guidance to avoid injuries.

Next up:  Resistance bands!