If I had asked you what a kettlebell was five years ago, your answer probably would have been, “A kettle-what?” Long used by Russian police and military forces, and a historic staple in weightlifting, kettlebells didn’t become a mainstream exercise tool until recently when Pavel Tsatsouline and the Russian Kettlebell Challenge made them popular.
Lucky for us, now you can find them in just about every gym, making exercise fun and efficient for gym-goers everywhere. And while kettlebell training is beneficial for everyone, it just so happens to be particularly great for women.
As a woman who virtually trains other women all over the world, I can tell you with tremendous confidence that kettlebells and women are a sweaty, heart-pumping match made in heaven. Here are 5 reasons why women should incorporate kettlebells into their exercise regimen.
They’re a Total-Body Workout Tool Unlike many training styles that have you work one body part at a time, most kettlebell movements engage your entire body at once. Thanks to its unique handle, the kettlebell creates an offset center of gravity, making it ideal for dynamic movements that activate your stabilizing muscles. Take the kettlebell swing, for example: With just one move you’re working your glutes, quads, abs, lats, grip, and shoulders, all while burning a ton of fat. Rather than doing separate cardio, strength, and mobility workouts, kettlebell training combines them, allowing you to build muscle and simultaneously burn body fat.
They Save You Time When I ask women why they don’t exercise, the number one reason I hear is: I don’t have time. Trust me, I get it. Mom, entrepreneur, coach, wife, writer, chef, dog-walker—these are all of the hats I wear on a daily basis. I know what it’s like to be busy and to feel like there’s no possible way I can fit exercise into the rest of my hustle.
Being able to engage your entire body in just a handful of moves with a kettlebell is a huge time benefit. Rather than spending hours at the gym, you can complete a full body kettlebell workout in as little as 10 minutes. Hard to believe, I know—but it’s true! All you need is one kettlebell and a few basic exercises to complete a total body metabolic resistance workout.
They’re Versatile and Travel Well It’s pretty incredible what you can do with just one kettlebell. All you need is one (I suggest most women start with one that weighs between 18 and 26 pounds) and a little bit of space to swing it around to enjoy an effective, total body, fat-burning workout. It’s convenient to keep one in a closet at home, and they travel well, too. I’ve taken kettlebells on road trips, to the beach, to the park, and even to a friend’s houses for buddy workouts.
They’re Less Intimidating than Traditional Free Weights Let’s face it: weight rooms can be intimidating. (Anxiety can strike anytime you try something new!) The last thing you want to do in there is pick something up and get hurt when you’re new to strength training. Kettlebells are the perfect gateway! Learning to squat, deadlift, press, and so on with kettlebells is far more manageable than learning to do the same exercises with barbells. (Once you get the hang of those moves using kettlebells, you can easily graduate to barbells.)
They’re Fun! And isn’t that the whole point of working out? If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to keep doing it. Kettlebells are loads of fun, because they’re different than other things you’ve tried in the past, offering a much needed change of pace. Plus, kettlebell workouts are easy enough to get started, and challenging enough to keep you coming back for more, so you’ll never get bored.
Ready to pick one up? Stay tuned tomorrow for the best kettlebell workout for beginners!