I decided to get myself a belated Christmas gift on Boxing Day and purchase a couple of 10-pound kettlebells and an 8-pound exercise ball. I like to change things up a bit and thought that kettlebells would be the way to go, since I don’t believe I’ve ever used them in an actual workout. The exercise ball was intended for a number of specific exercises but once I had the box open, I discovered it was a soft ball that was partially filled with sand. Not what I was expecting, but it’ll do for some of the exercises I had in mind.
Kettlebells are a special creature, and they seem to add a little “something” to workouts. As opposed to dumbbells, a kettlebell’s weight is focused in one ball with the handle acting as an added lever. Dumbbells have their weight equally distributed at both ends of a handle, making them a little easier to use in some respects. I started by doing a short, circuit workout with my wife on New Year’s day. We each held one bell and went through a series of different exercises, working different areas of the body. It was a good burn.
Some of the benefits is that the added lever created by the shape of the kettlebell works to activate the entire posterior chain of muscles. Dumbbells don’t usually do that. As you swing a kettlebell, different muscle groups are engaged depending on the grip you have and whether you allow the bell to roll with the swing or try and hold it stationary.
What I’ve found is that kettlebells can also be extremely effective at helping to condition and develop martial arts techniques. Different movements as well as some parts of my forms can be performed while holding a kettlebell, which provides a deeper intensity while training. Although the bells I’ve purchased are pretty light in comparison to dumbbells I’ve used (it’s always better to start off small when doing something new), I’m looking forward to using them regularly and increasing the weight as I get acclimated to them. ☯