There is no point in sugarcoating it for you. Getting fit and strong requires work. There is no magic pill to losing weight and building muscle. You have to eat a balanced diet and exercise. An important part of your exercise program is strength training. Don't worry about bulking up like the Hulk. Strength training is about getting stronger, not bigger. Kettlebells and medicine balls are both useful tools if you want to get fit and get stronger. Strength training with either or both kettlebells and medicine balls can help improve your bone strength, maintain your weight and increase your endurance.
Weight loss and fat burning is all about burning calories. You have to burn more calories than you consume by exercising if you want to lose weight. According to the American Council on Exercise, you can burn more than 270 calories in 20 minutes by working out with kettlebells. Kettlebells provide you with a full-body workout. According to Harvard Health Publications, light and moderate weight workouts, such as using a medicine ball, can burn between 112 to 266 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your weight and your level of exertion. The harder you work, the more calories you will burn. Kettlebells take the gold when it comes to burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
Strength and Core Training
A strong core isn't just about a bikini-ready six-pack, but is also important for stability and endurance. Strong core muscles can help improve your balance and reduce minor low back pain. Both the medicine ball and kettlebells will help strengthen your core. Choose a few exercises to start with and do eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise and then increase the number of repetitions as your strength improves. Kettlebell exercises that focus on your core include the Turkish half get-up and kettlebell pushups. Medicine ball exercises that work your core include slams, single leg V-ups and Russian twists.
If you want to be strong and powerful, you have to go ballistic. Ballistic training involves exerting great force to throw, toss or lift a weight with high velocity. In other words, fast, powerful snatches of kettlebells or explosive throws of medicine balls. Unless you are already strong and fit, you should start with a light weight and increase the weight after your get stronger. Medicine balls are available from 1 pound to about 50 pounds, and kettlebells start at about 5 pounds to more than 45 pounds, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Ballistic training for power can place a lot of stress on your joints and tendons, so use correct form and always warm up before working out.
Kettlebells and medicine balls might look like something only a bodybuilder would want to use, but they are both effective ways for you to build muscle and get strong. Select a weight that you can pick up with a moderate effort. You should try a 12- to 15-pound kettlebell or a 10-pound medicine ball in the beginning. Go for a lighter weight if you can't do at least eight repetitions before becoming exhausted. Warm up before you start your serious workout by doing some light exercises with a kettlebell or medicine ball or do some light aerobic exercise. Maintain proper form throughout each exercise. Stop exercising when your muscles are so exhausted you cannot maintain proper form. Cool down after your workout by doing some light exercise or walking. Stretch your muscles to help increase blood flow and reduce your risk of muscle soreness.
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Shape: Kettlebell Workouts: Top 7 Ways to Make the Trend Work for You
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using A Medicine Ball
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using Free Weights
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.