Hey there! If you've ever wondered about those iron cannonballs with handles attached – yes, we're talking about kettlebell weights – and questioned their purpose beyond looking like a total badass, you're in the right place. 😎
I’m here to break down the 5 kettlebell exercise benefits when you engage with it regularly. We’ll also be discussing the relationship between “kettlebell vs dumbbell” and “Is kettlebell good for belly fat?”
✔️ Let’s dive in.
↗ This is a question I get all the time, and I want to address it because it’s essential to understand the nuances between these two versatile pieces of exercise equipment.
😊 Today, I’m diving into a common query: Is a kettlebell better than a dumbbell?
The answer is technically yes, but there are crucial differences that make the kettlebell unique, and understanding these distinctions can significantly impact your workouts.
Firstly, let’s talk about the compact nature of the weight. A 44-pound kettlebell compared to a 40-pound dumbbell clearly shows the difference.
The kettlebell’s more compact design becomes advantageous, especially with heavier weights, facilitating movements like swings, cleans, and snatches. 🆗
Anatomy of the weights.
A dumbbell’s equal weight distribution on each side provides a more balanced feel, whereas a kettlebell, with its weight on the outside of the forearm, creates additional stress, engaging muscles from the forearm to the shoulder and stabilizers.
✅ This unique anatomy allows for a more comfortable and sustained rack position with a kettlebell, making it easier to string together exercises and perform complex circuits.
The kettlebell’s handle is a playground for various exercises—flipping, flowing, tossing, and more.
The additional joint created by the kettlebell, as opposed to the dumbbell’s straightforward design, adds tension through the grip during rotational movements, building a stronger grip over time.
The horns of the kettlebell further enhance versatility, enabling exercises like goblet squats and transitions between different planes.😊
In scenarios where speed is prioritized, as seen in activities like CrossFit, a neutral grip with a dumbbell might be chosen for quicker movements.
However, for focused contractions and a corkscrew press effect, mimicking the kettlebell’s action could enhance core engagement.
A kettlebell’s handle is offset, placing the centre of mass outside the handle’s centre. On the opposite, a dumbbell’s handle is centred, aligning with the centre of mass.
This difference leads to different force properties and engages the body in distinct ways.
When using one kettlebell or dumbbell on one side of the body, the muscles on the opposite side are compelled to fire, generating a core response.
However, the kettlebell, designed with an offset center of mass, prompts unique responses.
While both engage the core, the kettlebell’s nature pulls in multiple directions simultaneously. 🆗
For example, during a kettlebell press, as the weight moves from the front to the back of the body, it triggers core firing in front, behind, and on one side of the spine.
This 3-dimensional engagement is different from a dumbbell, which, when pressed overhead, primarily pushes straight down.
The further it is, the more intense the muscle contraction to maintain stability. Consequently, using a kettlebell of the same weight as a dumbbell would likely result in greater core recruitment due to its offset design. 👌
🚀 Unlike traditional weightlifting with a barbell, where you may focus on strength alone, or cardio exercises like running on a treadmill that primarily targets cardiovascular health, the kettlebell uniquely addresses both aspects.
For example, take the cleaning press – a movement that engages multiple muscle groups, building strength through weighted resistance while incorporating the ballistic nature of the exercise to enhance cardio endurance.
The kettlebell, especially in exercises like the swing, targets the midsection, focusing on the abdominal, lower back, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. 😊
By strengthening these areas, particularly the glutes – our body’s powerhouse – kettlebell training can be instrumental in combating back pain, often caused by weakened muscles due to prolonged periods of sitting.
For those over 30 who desire a well-shaped physique without bulking up like bodybuilders, the kettlebell excels. Movements like the press engage various muscle groups simultaneously, promoting a balanced development.
The nature of standing exercises further encourages the body to adapt to the dynamic aspects of moving a weight through space, resulting in what can be termed “practical” muscle.
The kettlebell’s emphasis on natural body movements brings joy to workouts.
Movements like the cleaning press, involving a combination of stretching and contracting muscle groups, resonate with how our bodies are designed to move. 😊
This harmony in motion contributes to a special sense of joy and satisfaction during kettlebell workouts.
Kettlebell swings are an excellent tool for power development, focusing on the body’s ability to move explosively.
Exercises like the double-handed swing, with its emphasis on quick and explosive movements, teach muscle fibres to switch rapidly between inactive and active states. 😎
This “shock method” is a key component of power development and contributes to enhanced overall performance, often observed as a skill transfer to other sports and activities.
↪️ The kettlebell’s versatility, joint-friendly nature, and efficiency in delivering a full-body workout make it a potent tool for anyone seeking a holistic approach to fitness. 👍
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, there are immense kettlebell exercise benefits.
✔️ Yes, they do, and no, they don’t.
Well, yes, they do on one side, and no, they don’t. When it comes to belly fat, what you eat is more crucial than how many swings you do.
A calorie deficit is essential.🥰 Doing 1000 kettlebell swings won’t offset one bad meal. Spot reduction of fat around the stomach isn’t possible.
The kettlebell swing primarily targets your hips and engages the abdominal area in a static sense. So, while it doesn’t directly burn belly fat, it contributes to calorie burning. Moving large muscle groups, especially the glutes, burns more calories and aids in achieving a calorie deficit.
Comparing it to a biceps curl, a smaller muscle, the kettlebell swing offers a higher return on investment in terms of calorie burn. For effective belly fat burning, choose exercises that yield more significant returns.
✅ Now, 2 master tips for shedding belly fat:
Do compound movements or ballistic exercises with the kettlebell. Swings, clean and press, and snatches engage multiple muscles, burning more calories.
Make healthy food accessible. Consider ready-made meals with high protein, low carbohydrates, and complex carbohydrates from veggies and whole grains. Avoid “red light” foods and indulge in “orange light” foods responsibly.
👍 The short answer is yes, but not in the conventional way.
Kettlebells excel in building power—moving heavy weights with dynamic swings. However, they also stimulate muscle growth, particularly if your muscles haven’t encountered such tension before.
However, it’s essential to acknowledge that kettlebell swings may not consistently foster continuous muscle growth.
Many individuals, especially those swinging kettlebells, tend to stick to the same weight and increase sets or reps without significantly enhancing the stress on the muscles.
↗️ Observing experts in the kettlebell field, they exhibit great fitness, but they may not display the same level of muscle definition as traditional bodybuilders. This observation holds TRUE even when comparing elite kettlebell athletes to bodybuilders, whose training predominantly involves weights.😎
Even if one argues that bodybuilders may use steroids, kettlebell champions wouldn’t achieve similar results due to the differing levels of tension and stress applied to their muscles.
However, this doesn’t mean you should completely ditch kettlebell swings. Kettlebells offer amazing benefits. I’ll share a small tweak that can maximize the muscle growth potential during kettlebell swings—adjusting how you hold the kettlebell.
If you typically swing with a relaxed grip, try pulling the handle apart.
While the difference may not be drastic, it enhances upper back and upper body activation, potentially leading to more muscle engagement.
Yes, you can build some muscle with kettlebells, especially with this tweak. However, for optimizing muscle growth, my recommendation is to prioritize standard weight training.
Aim for sets ranging from 5 to 12 reps per body part, targeting 10 to 20 sets per week.
✅ Ensure proper recovery through sufficient sleep, stress management, and a balanced nutrition plan.
Professional weights, typically starting from 24 kilograms, require almost perfect technique due to the higher risk of injury. For most individuals, sticking to ‘evergreen weights’—two kettlebells for the entire year—is sufficient. For men, 20 and 24 kilograms, and for women, 8 to 12 kilograms, are recommended.
For beginners, I recommend starting with an 8-kilogram kettlebell for women and a 12-kilogram kettlebell for men. Avoid going lighter than 8 kilograms, as extremely light weights may hinder the engagement of key muscle groups.
If you want to build muscle definition and prioritize controlled movements, dumbbells might be a better fit. Kettlebells could be the way to go, if you want to improve functional movement, burn calories, and save space.
Picking the wrong weight not only increases the risk of injury but also skews your perception of kettlebell training.
If you’re new to kettlebell training and unsure about choosing the right weight, for womens 4 kg to 8 kg kettlebell is what is recommended. When it comes to weight increments, starting with 2-kilogram increments is advisable.
When performed with proper form, kettlebell exercises are generally safe for the back. However, improper technique & if you have pre-existing back issues, it can do more damage.
Yes, kettlebell swings can effectively work the abdominal muscles. While the primary focus is on the posterior chain, the core muscles play a crucial role in stabilizing the body during the swinging motion. As a result, kettlebell swings can contribute to the development of core strength and definition.
It’s not a matter of one being better than the other; they’re simply different.
Thanks for reading! I hope you like the blog “5 Kettlebell Exercise Benefits. Kettlebell Vs Dumbbell?”