Bingo wings -- the bane of every lean, strong and fit woman's life. Even if you're fairly trim and toned, excess arm fat can still be a nightmare. Every time you wave, the fat's there -- wobbling around your biceps and triceps like a wind-blown flag. The fix you need is staring you in the face every time you're in the gym though. Kettlebells could just be the new training tool you need to melt arm fat and get guns of steel.
Kettlebell Fat Loss Benefits
Kettlebells are a little different from your traditional dumbbells, barbells and machines. The way they're made makes them perfect for explosive, swinging movements. Kettlebell workouts can be much higher intensity than standard weight sessions, according to Chad Schnettler of the American Council on Exercise. In a 20-minute workout you can burn around 272 calories, plus the after-burn effect means you carry on burning calories at a higher rate even when you've finished your workout.
The Myth of Spot Reduction
While arm fat may be your number one priority, with your flabby biceps and troublesome triceps firmly on your radar, be warned -- training your arms directly won't burn the fat off them any more than training your whole body will. Training with weights can shape your muscles, but you can't spot reduce fat, notes Amy Elizabeth of Female Health Motivation. Melting arm fat is all about burning calories through tough training sessions, not just working your arm muscles.
The best way to work your arms with kettlebells is with compound movements that work multiple muscle groups. For your biceps, perform kettlebell rows just like you would with a dumbbell, along with kettlebell cleans where you hold the kettlebell in one hand, swing it back between your legs, then snap your hips forward, pull the bell with your arms and catch it in the rack position at shoulder-height. For your triceps do kettlebell presses, either one arm at a time, with a kettlebell in either hand, or with both hands holding one kettlebell. Pushups with your hands on kettlebells will also provide a huge challenge for your arms.
Burning fat and getting killer arms requires a calorie deficit, which means you need to burn more calories than you consume. Train with kettlebells at least twice a week, hitting your whole body in each workout, and follow a calorie-restricted diet, aiming to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. If you're still struggling to get the arms of your dreams, add in an extra arm-specific session each week. You needn't worry about getting bulky arms either -- women don't produce enough testosterone to grow huge muscles, according to kettlebell trainer Tommy Matthews. Kettlebells will help you burn fat and replace it with lean, toned muscle mass.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.