The Benefits of Kettlebells

By Ryan Halvorson
Jul 1, 2013

Over the past several years, kettlebells have emerged (or reemerged) as a prominent fixture in fitness facilities. But are these crude tools worth their pood?*

To learn about the benefits of kettlebells, researchers enlisted by the American Council on Exercise studied 30 participants, who were divided into two groups—an exercise group and a nonexercise control group. Prior to the trials, the exercisers completed two introductory kettlebell sessions to
learn form and technique; they practiced one- and two-handed swings, snatches and other movements.

Exercisers then completed a 30- to 45-minute workout in addition to a 5-minute active warm-up and a 10-minute cool-down twice per week for 8 weeks. Participants were instructed to progress to heavier kettlebells as they felt more confident with the movements.

At study completion, the exercise group showed improvements in VO2max, leg press, grip strength, dynamic balance and core strength. There were no significant changes in body composition, heart rate maximum, sit-and-reach, shoulder raise, trunk hyperextension, shoulder press or static balance.

“Kettlebell training increases strength, which you’d expect, but you also get these other benefits,” explained John Porcari, PhD, one of the study’s researchers. “You don’t really do resistance training and expect to get an aerobic capacity benefit, and you don’t do resistance training to improve your
core strength, unless of course you’re specifically doing core-strengthening exercises. But with kettlebells you’re able to get a wide variety of benefits with one pretty intense workout.”

Read the full report here: www.ace
fitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/3172/
.

*Pood? Kettlebells originated in Russia, and
a pood is a Russian unit of weight (16.4 kilograms).

PHOTOGRAPHY: Victor

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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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