I have heard of kettlebells before, but never really thought of using them. I just figured they were like free weights which I do use once in a while, but as I mentioned in my last article they are not my ‘go-to’ equipment when I am looking to exercise. Often I prefer to use my body weight instead of equipment.
When I was researching my article on Do Squats Work For Beginners, I came across some trainers who recommended using kettlebells with your workout.
My curiosity got the better of me and here is what I found out about kettlebells.
This is for those of you who love history… it’s hard to tell where and when the kettlebell came to be used as a weight for lifting.
There are a few theories such as they go back as far back as Ancient Greece time. The Archaeological museum of Olympia has a large kettlebell with the inscription “Bibon heaved up me above a head by one head” on display in Athens.
The first mention of the word kettlebell, however, was in a Russian dictionary published in 1704 as “Girya,” which translates to “kettlebell” in English.
One of the first ways they were used originally were as counterweights with handles and used to weigh dry foods.
They apparently were made popular for weight training in the late 1800s by Vladislav Kraevsky, a Russian physician (known in Russia as the country’s founding father of Olympic weight training).
The history is rather fascinating and I think it would make a great article in the near future.
What is a kettlebell?
The kettlebell is a type of dumbbell or free weight. It is round in shape with a flat bottom and an arched shaped handle.
The kettlebell may have got its name because it looks like a cannonball with a handle. It also looks a bit like a teapot without the spout. In English it became named “kettlebell” due to its resemblance to the kettle and In Russia it was named “girya” which translates into kettlebell.
If you are looking for an authentic kettlebell, you want to find one that is either made of cast iron or steel.
Kettlebells are often used as part of an exercise program for strength training. Your can often interchange them for other types of weights, such as dumbbells. Kettlebells seem to be the weight of choice when you require “explosive” movements.
The weight of the kettlebell is distributed differently than your dumbbell. This allows it to work different muscles doing the same movement as you would with a weight. Kettlebells use more wrist motion, so your wrists and forearms get a workout too.
There are over a hundred different exercises that you can do with kettlebells… You can swing, clean, snatch, jerk, press, hold…. I counted over 20 different types of exercises you could do with kettlebells just on Wikipedia’s site. Kettlebells will ‘fit the bill’ nicely to increase the intensity of the squat when you are ready to ramp it up.
Which Kettlebell would I buy?
After researching the different types of kettlebells I narrowed it down to two.
The CAP Barbell Cast Iron Kettlebell and the AmazonBasics Cast Iron Kettlebell. I chose to review the AmazonBasics Cast Iron Kettlebell because it looks like great value for the money and I think the handle would better suit me for how I propose to use it.
My Review of the AmazonBasics Cast Iron Kettlebell
I liked the round ball-like shape and loop handle. Many of the trainers and reviewers on the internet liked the AmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebell for its price value, balance and design and its easy transitions throughout your swing.
The kettlebell can be used to help workout your upper and lower body. It sculpts and tones the whole body as movements with the kettlebell force you to use all your muscles including your core.
I like that it is made of cast iron that should last you a lifetime. The painted surface appeals to me as it should be easier on your hands and last but not least I like the textured curved handle.
AmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebell design allows for a variety of moves when doing exercises
Variety of weights 10 – 60 pounds (you can get a 70 pound kettlebell on Amazon.com as well as on the manufacturer’s site.
High-quality cast iron
Painted surface for durability and corrosion protection
Wide handle allows for both one and two hand holds
Good balance and design
Limited one year warranty
Are not available in weights over 70 pounds
How to Use the AmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebell
Here are two exercises that I would incorporate into my squat routine.
- SQUAT AND KETTLEBELL: Hold a single kettlebell in the rack position, or in the goblet position, and then do your squat.
- OVERHEAD SQUAT AND KETTLEBELL: Do a squat with the kettlebell held over your head.
There are proper ways to hold your kettlebell and once my AmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebell arrives, my plan is to write an article on how to do this. In the meantime there are lots of YouTube and articles on the internet to help you out. Amazon also has some kettlebell cards available here .
When starting out with kettlebells it is suggested that you use a lighter weighted kettlebell. Starting with a 10 to 15 pound kettlebell (4 to 6 kilograms) is recommended if you are a beginner. Once you start to feel comfortable with the moves, you can progress to something heavier.
Some LINGO to get you started:
The “ball” refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom. It is usually flat on the bottom so it can sit without rolling over.
The handle is the part attached to it. Another name for the handle is the horn. You can grip it at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball. There are a few different styles of handles so you might want to check a couple out before you make your decision to purchase.
Once you get the ‘hang’ of swinging around a kettlebell, there are many exercised to try to keep you from ever becoming bored. The cool thing about kettlebells is that they will work extremely well with the squat that we are trying this month in my February/March newsletter.
If you are looking to advance in intensity, theAmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebell come in increasing weights. Making this an easy option to make your workout harder by just opting for a heavier weight.
Ready to reap the benefits of the mighty kettlebell. These small portable weights MIGHT just be the motivator for you in your fitness training.
I liked the findings of a study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The study reported that kettlebell exercises burn more calories than conventional weightlifting exercises. It is possible that you could burn more calories in your kettlebell workout than from a rigorous cardio workout!
AmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebells are highly recommended by trainers as efficient ways to help you lose weight, strengthen and tone your muscles, and increase your cardio level. They are also reported to help maintain your flexibility and mobility in your joints!
If you enjoyed my review on the AmazonBasic Cast Iron Kettlebell, I would be grateful if you shared it with your friends and family or on Facebook.
Until next time,
P.S. Disclaimer: I do make a small commission on this item if you purchase it through my link here on my website. There is no added cost to you if you purchase on my site as the price is the same as on Amazon. If you like my review I appreciate you purchasing through my link as it helps support keeping my website up and running.