5 Reasons Kettlebells Are Great for Women

Neghar Fonooni
by Neghar Fonooni
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5 Reasons Kettlebells Are Great for Women

naghar fonooni logoIf 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!


About the Author

Neghar Fonooni
Neghar Fonooni

Fitness expert, writer, entrepreneur, and mom, Neghar Fonooni is passionate about helping people empower themselves to live a vibrant, fulfilling life. Her intention is to teach women how to find and cultivate their inner radiance, living a lifestyle of their own design. 


32 responses to “5 Reasons Kettlebells Are Great for Women”

  1. Avatar KettlebellDummy says:

    Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s post on best kettlebell workouts! I have one and don’t really know what to do with it. 🙂

  2. Avatar Ashley says:

    Heavy barbells? Scary squat racks? Really? There’s nothing scary about a weight room. Everyone is a newbie at some point. I’m surprised you didn’t say women shouldn’t lift anything heavier than a 5 pound dumbbell or they will end up looking like a man. What a joke!

    • Avatar Andrea says:

      Just because you’re not intimidated by the weight room doesn’t mean that other people are not. Any strength training is better than no strength training, I’m sure even you can agree that. And kettle bells are very beneficial. She definitely didn’t go down the ‘Barbie weight plz wanna be toned don’t wanna be bulkehhh’ path that you’re trying to force on her, so just stop it.

    • Avatar Neghar Fonooni says:

      Ashley, that part was edited. I did not write that.

  3. Avatar Renee says:

    Wow Ashley, so negative. I’m a huge fan of Neghar, can’t wait for tomorrow’s workouts!

  4. Avatar atxpt says:

    Thanks for this post. I use kettlebells with great success with my clients. They love them, and they help them feel strong and powerful!

  5. Avatar MsSerious on MFP says:

    Another great thing is many are made in Rhode Island in the USA. So Buy American Made and they can help our economy as well.

  6. Avatar olga says:

    Ashley – you are an ashole. Sorry

  7. Avatar Erin says:

    I’m starting a kb class so I think I’ll get 1 for home after I learn how to use it 🙂

  8. Avatar Jaytur says:

    I do kettlebell squat & swing at the gym, 3 sets of 15reps using 8kg bell, this works the legs & the arms all at the same time…need to get one for home though

    • Avatar Lisa says:

      I tried to use one at the gym and it was sooo heavy do they come in different weights? I am 53 and have some arthritis in my hands and elbows so the weights really can sometimes be painful if too heavy, but i really want to get stronger and improve my muscle tone.

      • Avatar Blanca says:

        Hi Lisa. I’ll be 60 soon. And I also have arthritis….. I use 5 & 10 lb kettle bells . Great workout!

      • Avatar Coach Stevo says:

        Lisa, nearly all of my clients are female, your age or older and they swing bells in the 20-24kg range. One of my clients is 80 and she uses 16kg. Take it slow, have a coach check your form if you can, and listen to your body. Even if all you do is pick one up and carry it to the other side of the gym every day, you’ll be stronger before you know it. 🙂

  9. Avatar LaNell Angerstein says:

    Love this idea. 🙂

  10. Avatar Debs says:

    I do the Skogg workout, the trainer on these DVD’s Michael Skogg teaches you the moves and encourages you to keep a good form throughout the exercises, this ensures that you do not cause injuries. It only takes a few days to prefect the moves and once you have perfected them you can devise your own workout and watch the tv while you are doing it. 30 minutes of kettlebell exercises burns about 600 calories, this has really aided my weight loss. You get stronger really quickly. I love Kettlebells!!! you can find Skogg on Facebook

  11. Avatar Nilzed says:

    Aw darn, kettlebell isnt one of the listed cardio exercises. I’ve been using them 2x a week for about a month, and letting my Fitbit One take note of the activity. Am I undercounting.

  12. Avatar Jill says:

    Just got one a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been studying tons of stuff on safety and correct form, teaching myself some of the exercises, and starting with a few beginner videos. Boy, can I feel it working! I’ve never liked lifting weights or doing strength “moves”–I’m definitely a slow-twitch muscle, get on the treadmill/in the pool/hit the road-and-go-forever kind of girl–but this has been the most fun I’ve had strength training. I like that they’re constant movements, rather than short bursts of energy, and that you have to engage everything just to stabilize.

    My only worry is that it’s feeling repetitive already (again, I’ve never enjoyed this kind of thing), and I’m afraid I’ll end up giving up on it if I can’t find a workout I like. I’d love to find a good, progressive beginner series, something where you change up exercises or build onto your workouts every day or two–so you’re not just playing the same video over and over, with the only change being the amount you’re lifting. Any suggestions?

    • Avatar Coach Stevo says:

      Jill, what would you think about inviting some friends over and swinging bells together?

    • Avatar Gina Mara Sanchez says:

      I bought a dvd from Amazon that has different workouts on it. Iron Core Kettlebell a few months back. I got it for less then $8. I checked now and it is below $14 there. You could probably get it elsewhere for less. The reviews pulled me in and they were right. I use less weights to get the feel of this thing and I don’t want to be sore to come back two days later for more, Later on I will increase the weight.

  13. Avatar Kiwiangel says:

    I’ve used kettlebells for a while at home now and I love them. I raved about them so much the gym I go to went and bought some. 🙂 The swing is my favourite.

  14. Avatar Deedle says:

    Just started to day on Fitness Pal, so am looking forward to the Kettle workouts , Im up for the challenge

  15. Avatar Christi says:

    I only keep my gym membership up for 6 months a year because I prefer working out outside during the warm months. Kettlebells sound like a great way to keep my strength training going during my non-gym months.

  16. Avatar kettlebellwannabe says:

    We have them at our gym and there are even classes but only not good for my scheduling. Looking forward to reading more. I am in the final stages of weight loss and really needing to tone and move the inches off the mid secretion.

  17. Avatar Ali says:

    Negar jan, as always great job and also happy Noruz!

  18. Avatar Yatesy74 says:

    Yeah, I’m ready for that workout now. I just started using the kettlebell a couple of weeks ago and was amazed that it worked out my whole body. I actually overdid it the first time because I was like this can’t be doing that much …. then the next day, my glutes and thighs especially were very sore. So if you are just starting and not very in shape (like me) be warned, maybe start with 1 to 2 sets instead of 3-4 and don’t go too heavy on the weight to begin with. That being said, I love the kettlebell so far!

  19. Avatar Erin says:

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! I love Kettleballs and have been looking for more instructions. Fantastic!

  20. I have been training exclusively with kettlebells for 6 years and don’t need anything else. Just 35 minutes a day keeps my 42 year old body in bikini competition shape with no extra cardio or isolation work. Glad to see articles like this one backing up what I believe is the only tool a girl needs to get lean, strong and stay in shape without injury at any age.

  21. Avatar truthful says:

    I would love to be her spotter for these squats

  22. Avatar Renata Souza says:


  23. Avatar Michele Lee says:

    The past couple of days I’ve seen several articles about kettlebells. The benefits you discuss make me want to go out and buy one!!

  24. […] Kettlebells are a total-body workout tool. […]

  25. Avatar Alexey Grin says:


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