Our sister gym at Mind Body Spine is named Cape Kettlebell. With that name you have likely figured out that we believe that kettlebells are an important part of any fitness routine. But why?
Kettlebells provide the same strength benefits as traditional equipment like dumbbells and barbells. They also can provide low-impact cardio with movements like swings and snatches that cannot be done as efficiently with dumbbells. Another unique benefit of a kettlebell is the fact that its weight is not evenly distributed. This means that your stabilizer muscles have to engage to properly complete each repetition. Moves like the snatch, or swing, combined with other exercises that go through different planes of movement help increase grip strength.
Grip strength is extremely important. As we age grip strength naturally declines. The loss of grip strength has been shown to be a predictor of other functional declines as well as cognitive decline. If one cannot open a jar, or even get up out of a chair without significant effort it can signify a loss of independence, possibly leading to mental and physical health issues. Just being able to increase grip strength makes working with kettlebells worth it.
A kettlebell is a more versatile piece of equipment than dumbbells and barbells as well. Moves like the farmers carry and suitcase carry can be done with dumbbells, but there are far more variations to be done with a kettlebell. The fact that the main weight of the kettlebell is 6-8 inches from your hand creates an added challenge in controlling the weight. This addresses and can help correct muscle imbalances.
Though they date back to Russia at the beginning of the 18th century kettlebells only became popular in American fitness over the last half-century. To some they may seem a bit intimidating but to us here they are integral to the operation. One of the fundamental movements we use to determine overall fitness in an individual is the ability to perform a kettlebell deadlift. We think of it almost as a rite of passage.
Whether you’re picking one up for the first time or the thousandth there is always something fun and exciting to be done with a kettlebell. We here will be more than happy to share some of our tricks and tips with you!
- Kettlebell Exercises: Benefits And 8 Effective Workouts – Lifehack.org
- Grip Strength and Longevity – National Library of Medicine
by Christopher Setterlund