Thursday, May 23, 2013

10 Great Reasons to Train With Kettlebells

I am a kettlebell junkie! Discovering these cannonballs with handles has totally changed the way I think about exercise. I am not only a junkie, but a missionary. I accidently left one of my bells in the back seat of the car, when my wife and I embarked on a day trip to Ogunquit, Maine. We were pleasantly chatting at the bar of an upscale restaurant, when a discussion with the bartender led to my favorite exercise pastime.

Before I knew it (and after a large glass of red wine), the traveling kettlebell was out of the car and in the bar. I completed a demonstration of the kettlebell swing before my salad arrived. I think the bartender may soon become a user.

Here is my list of the top 10 reasons to catch the habit:

1.      Most kettlebell exercises are whole body exercises, working your muscles the way they are designed to work, as interconnected parts of a highly efficient machine, rather than building muscles, one muscle group at a time, as though they are meant to work as isolated parts – which they are not.

2.      Most of the primary kettlebell exercises provide an intense cardio-respiratory workout while simultaneously building whole body muscle strength, endurance, and mobility, delivering a maximum workout in 30 minutes or less. MAKE SURE YOU ARE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO ENGAGE IN HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISE.

3.      Kettlebell exercises deliver functional, athletic fitness, rather than body building style muscle development. Would you rather look like a statue or move like panther?

4.      Kettlebell exercises are simple and relatively easy to learn.  You don’t have to be an athlete to train like one. BUT, PLEASE GET SOME INSTRUCTION BEFORE YOU BEGIN.

5.      Kettlebell exercises require total focus. You will wring every minute out of your exercise program by bringing mind and body together, rather than having to use music or a t.v. to distract yourself from treadmill monotony.

6.      Kettlebells are highly portable. You can use them indoors or outdoors, and you can throw one in your car and take it with you on your next driving trip. Nothing like swinging a kettlebell in your motel room or mother-in-law's guest bedroom.  Just try not to drop it, especially if there’s a chandelier hanging from the ceiling beneath you.

7.      You can get a great workout from one single kettlebell, or you can dramatically increase your exercise options by adding just one or two more of different weights.  Most people will never need more than three or four.

8.      Kettlebell exercises automatically build core and glute strength. These are the most important muscles we have for getting through life strongly and safely.  They help us walk, climb, twist, and lift.  Without the right exercises, they go soft. If they already have, don’t worry. You can get them back.

9.      You want strong leg muscles. If you have knee, ankle, hip, or other orthopedic problems, you don’t want to make it worse by running or jumping. Kettlebell exercises can help you strengthen your leg muscles without your feet ever leaving the ground. BUT, OF COURSE, CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR PHYSICAL THERAPIST BEFORE YOU START PLAYING AROUND WITH KETTLEBELLS.

10.  If you already have some favorite exercises, you do not have to give them up. Kettlebells can replace your current exercise program or they can complement it.

Are you ready to get started? Admit it. You’re thinking about it.