It is time to train like a man again (especially if you are a woman) and get back in touch with visceral impulse that has been locked away for years. No need to purchase a gym membership or spend $1,000s on expensive equipment. Two kettlebells are all that you need to increase muscular endurance, lose fat and build size and strength.
Kettlebells do not take up much space so you can train in your apartment, backyard, garage or go outside and get some fresh air. Kettlebell training is a form of training that will not only improve the appearance of your physique, it will give you strength and mental toughness that you did not know was even possible.
Is kettlebell training the be all end all of working out? No, it is simply an effective way to train and enhance whatever program you are on.
What Is A Kettlebell?
What is a kettlebell? Glad that you asked. Imagine a black bowling ball with a suitcase handle on it and you have an idea of what a kettlebell looks like. A kettlebell is a big hunk of iron that comes in several sizes: 8lbs, 12lbs, 18lbs, 26lbs, 35lbs, 44lbs, 53lbs, 70lbs, 80lbs, 88lbs, 97lbs and for super strong men and women 105lbs!
In addition, to giving you incredible muscular endurance when done in high repetitions, with a proper nutrition plan any excess fat that you have will melt off rapidly. Ballistic exercises are not the only exercises that you can benefit from, kettlebell exercises such as the Turkish get-up and Windmill will develop a rock-hard midsection and increase shoulder flexibility and stability.
As a result many chiropractors are using kettlebells with their patients for rehab. If you are a man that wants to increase size and strength, try doing some of my favorite kettlebell exercises:
If you are a woman that wants to lose weight and tighten up your glutes, quads, abs, and arms, apply a steady diet of kettlebell training ballistic work with some low rep kettlebell training strength work and you are all set.
Why Not Dumbbells Instead?
You may be thinking that you could do all of the above exercises with dumbbells. While this is true, anyone that has used both will tell you that kettlebells are much harder to handle and yes in this case, harder is much better.
Kettlebell handles are much thicker than dumbbells and will give you a vice grip in no time. Also, the off-center weight of a kettlebell will force you to use more stabilizer muscles and work the targeted muscles through a longer range of motion.
For combat athletes and anyone else that likes it tough, the ballistic shock of kettlebells teaches you how to absorb shock efficiently which is critical for combat sports such as: wrestling, MMA, football, and hockey.
The above reasons are why MMA fighters such as Frank Shamrock, BJ Penn and Fedor enhance their workouts with kettlebells. Also, it is why top strength coaches such as Ethan Reeve and Louie Simmons recommend kettlebell training to their athletes. Athletes are not the only ones who are hooked on kettlebell training.
Members of the entertainment world such as Chris Pontius of MTV's JackAss and WildBoyz and Harley Flannagan, founder of the legendary NYC hardcore band "The Cro-Mags" have attended my kettlebell workshops and are ecstatic about Kettlebell training. Both Chris and Harley talk to everyone they know about the benefits of kettlebell training and you will as well after you attend one of my seminars.
Still skeptical? Try the following experiment with a dumbbell. Take a dumbbell and try doing three sets of twenty one-arm swings . After you have done twenty swings with one arm, switch hands and do another twenty reps.
Continue to go back and forth until you have done three sets of 20 reps. Now if you thought that was hard, imagine making that exercise several times harder with a kettlebell.
An Aerobic Alternative
Imagine how much fat your will burn and how your muscular endurance will go through the roof. No doubt about it, high rep kettlebell training is an aerobic workout and great alternative to stepping classes, spinning classes, and anything else that strips you of our manhood and makes you feel like a jack @ss.
If you feel like a jack@ss when you do something, then it is probably something that you should avoid unless you are getting paid well ;-) Personally, I actually like to get results from my training and I am sure you do to. A balanced kettlebell training program combined with a solid worth ethic and healthy nutrition plan is a sure-fire recipe for success.
I have been training with kettlebells for over four years and I have never been in better shape. In addition to being lean and strong, my body has learned how to work as one unit. My muscular endurance and mental toughness have improved tremendously.
Best of all, I do not have to go to the gym to get an incredible workout. Give kettlebells a shot for three months and I sincerely doubt that you will ever want to go back to barbell curls and leg raises. Once you have been infected with the power of kettlebell training, there is no going back. Take a look at the exercises below for more information.
Bonus: Frequently Asked Questions
Is kettlebell training the ultimate way to train?
No one system is the ultimate way to train. Do not kid yourself as training is not a black and white world. Is kettlebell training effective for fat loss, strength training and building muscle? Yes and it is a super fun way to train.
In order to keep training interesting, you have to keep it fun and kettlebells are a great fit. You can benefit from kettlebell focused programs or you can incorporate kettlebell training into your current regimen. There is something for everyone.
Are kettlebell exercises dangerous?
Only when done with poor form. However, any exercise is dangerous even push-ups and lame machine exercises when poor form is used. People die every year from bench pressing. Thus far, there have been no deaths related to KB training yet.
Of course, I am sure some idiot will change that statistic some day. Bottom line is most people will require in person instruction to maximize the benefits of kettlebell training safely.
Kettlebell DVD's while useful are not a replacement for in personal instruction. That said, top strength trainer Bud Jeffries stated if you cannot learn how to use Kettlebells from Mike Mahler's DVD then you are in big trouble and should not bother weight training period!
Is kettlebell training effective for fat loss?
Yes however pushing yourself away from the table more often and cutting krispy creme out of your diet is even more effective. Fat loss is 70% diet and 30% training. Unless you are a professional athlete where training is your job. Do not kid yourself into thinking that you train like a professional athlete unless you are one.
Kettlebell training can be an effective way to promote a normal healthy metabolism. However, anyone that tells you that you can lose fat with kettlebell training and a crappy diet is doing you a disservice.
Is Kettlebell training effective for building muscle?
What do barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells all have in common? All three are forms of weight training. Thus, just as barbells and dumbbells are effective for building muscle, kettlebells are effective as well. That said, nothing takes the place of progressive weight training with barbells.
Barbell squats, barbell deadlifts, Barbell Military Presses, and weighted dips are among the kings of muscle building. If your main goal is to build muscle then you are better off with barbells. If you have been training with barbells and dumbbells for a while and want a new stimulus then kettlebell training is a great fit.
Also, kettlebells are great for building the shoulders, hamstrings and arms. Kettlebells are not the best fit for quad development or of course calf development. A combination approach utilizing kettlebells and barbells is an effective way to go.
I want to get stronger without getting bigger. Is kettlebell training for me?
Yes, this is one of the most popular benefits of kettlebell training. Women for example love kettlebell training as it helps them tone up and lose fat without over developing muscles. Truth be told, building muscle is not easy for men and especially women so that should be the least of your worries.
Worrying about getting too big is like worrying about making too much money. That said, kettlebell training is popular with members of the armed services, secret service, law enforcement community, and anyone else that wants functional strength that carries over to real world activities such as sitting on the coach and using the remote control ;-) Just kidding.
Do women use kettlebells?
Only the smart ones ;-) Yes I work with women all of the time at my workshops and they love kettlebell training. Especially exercises such as swings, 1-legged deadlifts, and The Windmill. Swings and 1-legged deadlifts tighten up the glutes and hamstrings and the windmill is great for the midsection.
Women tend to believe the illusion that they will turn into "Arnold" just be looking at weights. Fortunately, top kettlebell instructors such as Lisa Shaffer and Lauren Brooks of are perfect examples of the benefits of kettlebell training for women.
Check out their sites today and get over the irrational fear once and for all that you will turn into "The Hulk" with weight training. Here is a testimonial from Michelle Wong:
Are kettlebells popular with athletes?
Many athletes are enjoying the benefits of kettlebell training. Some examples are MMA fighters Frank Shamrock, Frank Trigg, Bob Sapp and Tait Fletcher. Many celebrities such as Chris Pontius (Movie Jackass) the band "Korn" and Harley Flannagen of "The Cro-mags" are also enjoying the benefits of kettlebell training. Kettlebells are a natural fit for athletes and this trend will continue.
Is kettlebell training a fit for martial artists?
It sure is and two of the top martial arts strength coaches Steve Cotter and Steve Maxwell are big fans of kettlebell training. No doubt their stamps of approval carry a lot of weight as both are highly respected members of the martial arts community.
Is kettlebell training great for lazy people?
Nope but watching TV and eating junk food is. When you are ready to take charge of your health think about getting some kettlebells and actually using them.
If kettlebell training is so great how come they are not in every gym in the country?
Having worked for a major fitness club chain in the past, I can tell you first hand that the main goal of a fitness club is to make money and keep liability costs low. Thus the trend in most clubs is to have more machines and less free weights.
While machines are not as effective as free weights, they are much easier to use and require minimal instruction. Thus, less of a need for highly skilled trainers. If a gym adds kettlebells they also have to pay to have their trainers educated in proper kettlebell instruction. They would much rather spend money on their sales staff as most of the income health clubs generate are from membership sales.
The potential client who has not signed up yet is often more important than the client who has already joined. Thus many gyms spend the majority of their income attracting new members not getting results for existing members. Now there is nothing wrong with making money as that is an important goal for every business.
Regardless, few gyms realize that they could make more money by providing exceptional offerings to their clients. Unfortunately, the clients gyms prefer are the ones who sign up for a year and never show up. The ones who actually use the gym regularly are costly.
No doubt a more progressive gym could make a lot of money with kettlebell classes. Especially kettlebell classes targeted toward women. Finally, the last thing a fitness club wants you to know is that you can get in great shape at home with a few kettlebells.
You only need one or two kettlebells to get in great shape. Just about anyone can afford this and has room for a few bells that can easily go in a closet. However, very few people could afford to have expensive machines at home. Thus it's better to convince the client that he she needs expensive equipment to achieve his or her goals. Personally, you are better off in smaller gyms which focus more time on their clients.
What size kettlebell should I start off with?
Most men do well with 53lb kettlebells. However, if you are out of shape and just getting into training, start off with a 35lb kettlebells. Basically if you can do 50 pushups, 10 pull-ups, and 100 bodyweight squats, start with the 53lb kettlebells.
Also if you can bench press 225 or more start with the 53s. If not then get the 35s. I prefer double kettlebell world. Regardless, starting with one kettlebells is fine as well. Many men will have the strength to handle 70-pound kettlebells or more.
However, heavy kettlebells are not ideal for learning proper form. Thus, leave your ego at the door and err on the side of going lighter. You can always sell your lighter bells to a friend or to someone on a message board. In addition, there are always harder KB exercises that you can do with the lighter bells to keep them useful. If you are a man with low testosterone and high estrogen levels you may need to start with a 26lb bell ;-)
Women usually start with 18-pound bells. Stronger women start with the 26l-pound bells. Many women can handle the 35-pound bell or more. Nevertheless, the 35lb bell is not a good bell to start with for most women. Learn proper technique first and then move on to the heavier bells.
Ladies if a 25-pound dumbbell is light to you then get a 26-pound kettlebell. If it is heavy to you then start with an 18-pound bell. Again, I prefer double work. However, one bell is fine to start off with.
Where do I get kettlebells?
Several companies make kettlebells. The best ones are made by Lifeline USA, Dragondoor, Ader and Ironwoody. I used to prefer Dragondoor bells, but love the new bells that Lifeline USA offers. They have thicker handles and superior bells for women. They also offer more sizes such as 79-pound and 97-pound bells.
Finally they are much cheaper than any other bell on the market. You cannot go wrong with their bells and I will be selling them on my site soon. Dragondoor is the original KB company in the U.S. and has some nice bells. They are also the most expensive bells on the market.
My only real complaint about the DD bells is the new ones have a smooth coating which makes the bells slide out of your hands easily. You have to use a lot of chalk especially when using the heavier bells. More chalk equals more calluses which is not fun.
Also the light bells for the ladies have thin handles which most women do not care for. Exercises such as snatches and cleans are harder with the thin handles (easier to bang up your wrists) and a great exercise such as the Renegade Row is out of the question.
The price is not cheap either but given the fact that you can potentially replace your gym membership with a few bells, it is not a big deal. Also, as far as I know the DD bells are the only ones that are made in the USA. Keep that in mind if that is important to you.
The Ader kettlebells have a nice base which is great for anyone that uses smaller bells for exercises such as the Renegade Row . I have heard that many women prefer the Ader kettlebells over Dragondoor.
I have used them a few times and the bells feel nice. However, I have to admit that I prefer the DD bells more for exercise such as snatches. The Ader bells are cheaper so that is something to consider as well.
Most likely you will be happy with the Ader bells and my friend Lisa Shaffer is a strong advocate of them and sells them on her site. I respect her opinion and her approval carries a lot of weight. I would contact her to see if they are a fit for you.
The Ironwoody bells are more competitively priced as well. However, I do not care for the handles at all. They are slippery and just do not feel right for exercises such as snatches and cleans. Regardless, I have had many people bring them to my workshops and they are happy with the bells.
Since I have not used them for any extended period, I cannot say decisively whether they are a fit or not. I would contact them at their site and look for some feedback on the bells or on some message boards.
One potential advantage of the bells is they are all the same size. For example an 85-pound bells is not any bigger than a 70-pound bell. With Dragondoor and Ader, the 88s and 105s are much bigger than the 70s which makes them much harder to use (in a bad way).
For example, I do not find the weight of Dragondoor's 105s overbearing. However, the size of them makes them hard to handle. For an exercise such as the double swing I have to take a sumo stance to do the exercise safely and that is not a powerful position for me.
Regardless not too many trainees will get beyond the 70s so it is an irrelevant point for most trainees. The disadvantage of the bells being the same size is with regards to the lighter bells. Women will shy away from using an 18-pound bell that is the same size as a 70-pound bell! That is for sure. Moreover, women will have the same problem that I do with DD's 105-pound bells with Ironwoody's bells. Thus, women are better off with DD or Ader kettlebells.
Finally, adjustable kettlebells are another option. There is a model that has the look and feel of a real kettlebell. The only thing I do not like about it is the handle. It is similar in design to the Ironwoody handle and it just does not feel right.
Also do not expect to switch from one weight to another easily with the uskettlebell model. It takes time to adjust the weight so you pretty much have to decide what weight you are going to use for a workout and stick with that.
Unlike other adjustable bells you do not have to worry about the bell coming apart during a workout. It has a large strong screw that goes in the bottom that is sure to keep the bell together. As much as I like the uskettlebell model, I prefer the real thing and will continue to stick with solid non adjustable kettlebells.
Bottom line is my favorite bells are made by Lifeline USA and to be very honest; yes I make money off the bells if you buy them. Of course, that should not be a problem as I could sell any bell on the market and have made my choice. I have no problem with making money off of a great product that I use personally and you should have no problem purchasing it from me.