KettlebellYou may have seen these strange looking orbs with handles at the gym. Maybe you’ve even thought about picking one up but shied away because you weren’t sure what to do with it. Here’s some advice. Give kettle bells a second look. They are worth the hype.

Why you should be using kettle bells

According to a 2013 American Council on Exercise (ACE) article, Kettle Bells Kick Butt, “significant improvements in aerobic capacity, leg press, grip strength, dynamic balance and core strength were observed in the participants who trained with the kettlebells. The strength-related increases were expected, whereas the improvements in aerobic function (13.8 percent increase on average) and dynamic balance were an added bonus. The most dramatic increase in strength came in abdominal core strength, which increased 70 percent. Although smaller in scale, dynamic balance improved an average of 7 percent which was significant.”

Those are pretty impressive results for such a little piece of equipment. What’s more, kettlebells:

·         Help you burn more calories in less time. Maybe you can’t run a six minute mile, but you can workout with kettlebells. When you do you’ll burn about the same amount of calories. Kettlebells help you torch more fat, too.

·         Kettlebell trainingDo the basic two hand kettlebell swing and you will strengthen your core and well as your legs. That’s a pretty powerful twofer. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place both hands palms down on the handle of the kettlebell. Bend, move your hips back and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Your arms should be straight and fully extended and the kettlebell extended behind your thighs at the bottom of the swing. Keeping your arms straight, come to a standing position and bring the kettlebell forward up to chest height. Repeat for desired number of reps.

·         Help you maintain functional fitness. Functional fitness is especially important for maintaining independence and quality of life as you age. It gives you the strength you need to keep doing the things you ordinarily do, such as climb stairs, reach for things on shelves and carry groceries.

·         Are a fun way to combine strength training and cardio exercise. You will be guaranteed to get your heart rate up while you build overall muscle strength and tone. That means a leaner you.

·         Come in a variety of weight sizes, which means they are appropriate for just about every fitness level. The movements are easy to learn so you can start enjoying the benefits of kettlebell training today.

 A few words of caution…form is important when using kettlebells. Poor form can lead to back or neck problems, especially for people already challenged in these areas. For best results avoid swinging the kettlebell higher than your chin and keep your heels fully grounded on the floor as you swing. Hinge from your hips as you swing rather than your knees and keep your back straight. Give kettlebells a try. When you consider that they help you burn 40 to 50 percent more calories than regular strength training it is clear they are worth the hype.