While kettlebells won’t give you the physique of a female bodybuilder, they’ll certainly help you tone and strengthen muscles while also working up a sweat. You also burn major calories with kettlebells, so if your physique is somewhat lumpy, you may be pleasantly surprised with the results you get from this workout.
The glutes, thighs and hips tend to be trouble spots for most women. If your goal is a sexy backside and trimmer thighs, kettlebells can help you achieve just that. The full-body movements required from the swing, snatch, clean and other full-body movements tone your backside in ways weight machines at the gym cannot, notes Adrienne Harvey, a Russian Kettlebell Challenge or RKC trainer and owner of the online site Girya Girl. Kettlebell training can balance out a given physique into its more aesthetically pleasing version, toning down large glutes, strengthening the back and slimming down heavy legs, according to Harvey.
When performing kettlebell exercises such as snatches and swings, you work multiple muscle groups at once. The more muscles you work at one time, the more calories you burn during and after a workout, which ultimately results in greater fat loss. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin La Crosse for the American Council on Exercise found that participants burned a whopping 272 calories during a 20-minute kettlebell workout. What you put in your body also affects how your body looks after training with kettlebells. Staying hydrated and focusing on eating healthy veggies, fruits and lean meats also aids in fat reduction, showcasing the muscles you strengthened with kettlebell training.
Rather than making you look bulky, the kettlebells give you a sleek appearance. This is not only attributed to fat loss but the actual training movement of the kettlebells. The kettlebell swing, for example, further refines the small muscles you can’t work with traditional isolation exercises, notes Tracy Reifkind, RKC trainer and contributor on Bodybuilding.com. You not only work your lower body during kettlebell exercises, but you incorporate the upper body as well linking them together for a whole-body movement. This gives you an all over, trim, athletic look and increases low-back stability, Reifkind observes.
Not a ‘Bodybuilder’ Look
Developing and strengthening your muscles doesn’t mean you’ll bulk up. Women in general don’t bulk up because of their lack of specific hormones. Testosterone is the main hormone that is responsible for the increase of muscles mass, and the amount of testosterone a woman has is comparable to that of a 10-year-old boy, notes strength trainer P.J. Glassey of XGym.com. Bodybuilders are able to build muscle and bulk up because of the way they lift. Isolation moves, such as bicep curls and shoulder presses done with heavy weights and low reps, may give you that ultra-developed look of a bodybuilder, but kettlebells won’t if you stick with a high-rep but challenging weight routine.
- American Council on Exercise: Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Bodybuilding.com: Swing for the Fences: Kettlebell Training - Burn Fat and Build Muscles!
- Girya Girl: What is the Kettlebell Physique?
- XGym.com: Women and the Myth of Bulking Up
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.