Swinging The ‘Bells

Kettlebells.  Ever use ’em?  If so, what did you think?   Kettlebells may seem to be the hip new workout due to the popularity of CrossFit but they have been around for a very long time.  The Russians started using them in the 1700s for counterweights in farm equipment.  By the 1940s they had spread in popularity as fitness equipment. (source) Remember how the Russians used to dominate the Olympics?

I fell in love with Kettlebells about 5 years ago after I tried them at a fitness workshop.  I immediately bought a 10 pound ‘bell for home.  It came with a video so I followed along with that till I got the hang of things or if I couldn’t remember what I did in class.  At first I was a little intimidated.  Where do I put my hands?  What if I drop it?  What if I hit myself in the head while doing the swing?  Don’t worry!  I’ve never dropped one nor have I hit myself in the head(knock on wood). 🙂

Kettlebells are more versatile than dumbbells.   They make traditional dumbbell moves more challenging. The weight isn’t evenly distributed, so your stabilizer muscles have to work harder to maintain your balance.   If your goal is increase your core strength and overall fitness, a typical Kettlebell workout can do that and burn about 300 calories in 20 minutes.  All your major muscle groups are being used in addition to amping up your heart rate for some cardio.  In addition:

  • Kettlebells save time, there’s less resting time and more time spent on the exercises. A workout lasts for 30 minutes max, but is twice or three times more intense then resistance weight excercises.
  • Kettlebells tone the butt, define the shoulders, arms and back muscles.
  • Kettlebell explosive movements closely mimic sport specific moves.
  • Kettlebells can be done at home.  All you need are 3 different weights to get a total body workout.

Here are my favorite Kettlebell exercises.  Do 15-20 reps of each exercise.  I usually will do one exercise, rest a few seconds, then move on to the next.  Repeat the routine 3 times.    It’s fast, effective, and makes you feel strong!

Kettlebell Swing


Turkish Get Up



Bent Row

Figure 8

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Image sources: Women’s Health Magazine and About.com

2 comments on “Swinging The ‘Bells

  1. I’m glad you posted this! I’ve never used kettlebells, but have heard lots of people rave about them… It’s nice to get some ideas for specific exercises with them. I’ve seen them at our gym so I’m curious to try these out!

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