It may seem a little intense for women to simulate the fitness practices of 18th-century Russian strongmen, but results are results, and kettlebell workouts can help you reach your fitness goals fast. Kettlebells cut body fat at an impressive rate, improve functional strength and challenge your aerobic capacity. Give these cannonballs a shot and you'll see what all the fuss is about.
Hitting the track is a tried-and-true method of burning calories, but when all is said and done, resistance training can actually help you burn more calories even after you've taken off your shoes. Intense cardio burns more calories per hour than strength training, but intense muscle contractions kick off the hypertrophy process, which causes your muscles to grow following a resistance workout. This process requires energy and continues to consume calories for hours after you exercise.
Most of the movements in a kettlebell workout involve compound, multi-joint lifts, which burn a lot of calories by involving multiple muscle groups. Snatches, swings, squats and other lifts with kettlebells force major muscles in your lower and upper body to contract, recruiting both major and stabilizing muscles into your workout. This type of training increases your effort and cuts more fat in the process. Keep in mind, however, that it's impossible to target specific areas of your body for fat loss -- you must use an all-over approach.
A 2010 study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise found that people participating in a short kettlebell workout burned an average of 20 calories per minute. According to researchers, these impressive numbers are consistent with running a six-minute mile. They attributed the incredible calorie-burning aspects of the kettlebell workout to its combination of muscular effort and interval-style training.
You'll increase functional strength and trim fat at a high rate with the right kettlebell workout, but there are risks involved. Kettlebell world champion Lorna Kleidman cautions new kettlebell users to pay special attention to their technique and pace. Small mistakes in body mechanics are often the culprits of kettlebell injuries, so take a class with a certified instructor before going solo.
- Shape: 8 Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavier Weights
- American Council on Exercise: Kettlebells -- Twice the Results in Half the Time?
- Yale Scientific: Targeted Fat Loss -- Myth or Reality?
- PRWeb.com: Kettlebell Expert Lorna Kleidman Weighs in on Common Kettlebell Mistakes
- Los Angeles Times: Twice the Pain, But Bigger Gain
- UCSD.edu: Muscle Physiology -- Hypertrophy
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.