Regular gym goers and people looking to lose weight often implement kettlebell exercises into their workout just because they are useful and have numerous benefits for both strength and cardio.
However, choosing the proper kettlebell exercises and performing appropriate kettlebell workouts is the prerequisite for achieving the benefits of kettlebell training.
Based on my experience as an industry veteran and certified personal trainer, I curated a list of 18 kettlebell benefits after conducting a proper 29-hour research, both online and offline.
All the benefits are backed up by trainees and clients who actually participated in various kettlebell workouts and routines, so don’t take these benefits for granted.
- Kettlebell benefits include improved total-body conditioning, core strength, enhanced body awareness, better fat-burning processes, increased hip explosive power, increased range of motion, and many more.
- To experience benefits from kettlebell workouts, you must choose proper exercises and use adequate programming methodologies to get the most out of the routine without getting injured or lowering your performance.
- Kettlebells are functional equipment in the form of free weights that allow a significant range of motion at joints, represent a great tool for building strength and explosive power, and are excellent to combine with cardio programs and workouts.
Top 18 Benefits of Kettlebells
When looking at the list, most of you will subconsciously think all these benefits are tied to the kettlebell swing exercise.
This is because the industry has forced kettlebell swings for quite some time, but swings aren’t the only exercise you must do to experience all the benefits.
Kettlebell training will significantly build your core muscles since kettlebell exercises require substantial stabilization efforts from both hip and abdominal stabilizer muscles.
Kettlebells are also great for burning fat, developing explosive strength, and increasing the range of motion at joints. You will also build strong posterior chain muscles and improve your grip, among many other things.
Read below for the 18 best kettlebell benefits for improving your overall physique, health, strength, power, cardiorespiratory fitness, and more.
"Maybe your gym has an entire rack of kettlebells just waiting for you to get swinging. Or you’re working out from home and you’ve got a trusty kettlebell by your side in your living room. Wherever you’re training with kettlebells, you’re bound to get stronger, become a better overall athlete, and fight off sticking points in your barbell lifts."
- Alex Polish, Certified Personal Trainer
1. All-In-One Total Body Conditioning Tool
Most kettlebell exercises create a full-body workout, targeting the lower body, upper body, and core musculature .
Kettlebells are the best all-in-one total body conditioning tool since they are functional and allow for multiple exercises and their variations to hit all body muscles.
The benefits of kettlebells include diversification of full-body workouts which is one of the principles of building strength and power.
Kettlebell presses and rows are excellent for building upper body strength, while kettlebell swings, squats, and deadlifts are great for enhancing lower body strength.
All kettlebell exercises will additionally build core and grip strength as a function of whole-body kettlebell workouts.
2. Improves Core Strength & Stability
The benefits of kettlebells include improving your core strength and stability through both bilateral and unilateral exercises.
Core strength is one of the pillars of today’s athletic performance and is necessary to lower the chance of lumbar spine injury.
Kettlebells improve the stability of your entire body by strengthening before mentioned core stabilizers, but also hip and shoulder muscles responsible for stabilizing the whole body during the movement.
Kettlebells improve overall athletic performance by increasing core strength and enhancing the stability of small and large muscle groups .
3. Enhances Body Awareness & Coordination
Kettlebells will enhance your body awareness and coordination by exercising proprioceptors in your muscles and vestibular system.
This is responsible for whole-body balance and is located in the inner ear .
Kettlebells enhance body awareness by allowing for more complex movement requiring multiple joints and muscle groups to work simultaneously.
In addition, kettlebell training will improve your overall coordination, but only if you introduce enough variety to your workouts.
Coordination can be topologically split into two main categories, even though there are many more. Those include hand and leg coordination patterns.
By enhancing your overall body awareness and coordination, you will move gracefully through space and optimize your movements to spend less energy than usual.
The added benefit of body awareness is decreasing the risk of injuries.
4. Improves Balance & Stabilizer Muscles
A Kettlebell workout will improve your body's overall balance and build stabilizer muscles necessary for executing complex movements correctly.
Kettlebells improve balance because they fall into the category of free weights, which are the hardest to handle balance-wise.
Free weight, such as kettlebells, will require your body to become more stable during complex movements, especially if you perform unilateral variations of kettlebell exercises.
Kettlebells will also build knee, hip, shoulder, and core stabilizer muscles.
Knee stabilizers built during kettlebell movements include the quadriceps, soleus, gastrocnemius, adductors, and gluteus medius .
Hip stabilizer muscles include the glutes mostly, but all surrounding muscles play a major role in stabilization during complex movements.
Kettlebells will enhance shoulder stabilizer muscles such as the deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, trapezius, and many more.
Lastly, kettlebell movements will build strong abdominal musculature, resulting in even better and improved core stabilization.
5. Serious Fat-Burning Workouts
Kettlebells are excellent for changing your body composition and especially burning fat if performed with the correct dosage and rest intervals .
One of the best ways to help the body burn fat is to stay in the aerobic zone of exercising, which is between 35 and 50% of your VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption).
You can easily achieve this with kettlebell swings if you pick the proper weight, set adequate rest intervals, and allow recovery between the sets.
6. Great Non-running Cardio Alternative
Kettlebell benefits include a cardo versatility option, allowing you to change and restructure your cardio workouts for even better results.
Kettlebells can be used as a non-running cardio alternative if you set the intensity properly, meaning you can perform specific kettlebell exercises for an extended period.
To exercise your cardiorespiratory system, you must stay in the lower intensity zone by allowing your body to mainly synthesize adenosine triphosphate with oxygen molecules.
Aerobic training means the energy your body releases is mainly created through oxygen consumption and not glycogen or creatine-phosphate.
However, you can also include high-intensity interval training, which indeed will burn above mentioned energy sources, but will produce something called oxygen debt .
Oxygen debt will require your body to consume more oxygen post-workout to clear lactates from the blood, raising your aerobic threshold.
7. Develops Explosive Hip Power & Speed
Kettlebell swings are excellent for improving your explosive hip strength and speed .
Kettlebell swings will teach your body to produce power for hip-hinge or extension movement patterns, which is clearly present in all track and field sports.
You must use proper external resistance, sets, reps, and rest intervals to develop hip power and explosive hip strength with kettlebell swings.
Programming for strength and power requires you to do 4 or more sets per muscle group, 1-5 repetitions (87.5% + of your one rep max), and include rest intervals between 2 and 5 minutes.
8. Increases Range of Motion (Mobility & Flexibility)
Kettlebells are excellent for increasing your joints’ range of motion and muscle flexibility.
Free weight movements like kettlebell exercises will allow additional freedom of motion in the shoulder, hip, and ankle joints.
This freedom of motion will stress your body, and your body’s response will increase the range of motion for respective joints.
Kettlebell swings, for example, will develop flexibility in posterior chain muscles such as the hamstrings and glutes.
Related Article: Best Mobility Exercises
9. Builds Lean Muscle
Kettlebell exercises such as presses, cleans, deadlifts, squats, and more will increase lean muscle mass.
Kettlebell strength training is one of the best tools for building functional strength, which translates well onto the field and real-life situations, such as carrying groceries.
In the world of athletes, everything relies on functional strength since the only strength useful on the field is the one you can incorporate into necessary movements .
For example, you may be able to lift 150 kg on a barbell bench press, but it may not be the best option for translating it into a powerful punch in martial arts.
However, the punch may be enhanced by a single-arm kettlebell bench press since the movement is biomechanically similar and will translate better to the field of action.
"There is no time like the present to get started on your Kettlebell Sport journey, when most gyms are temporarily closed, and many of us are being asked to shelter in place. As a power endurance sport, Kettlebell Sport can improve both your GPP and your mental toughness, helping you stay strong and sane during these uncertain times."
- Keka Schermerhorn, Certified Personal Trainer
10. Develops a Strong Posterior Chain and Improves Posture
Kettlebell training effectively develops strong posterior chain muscles such as biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, glutes, and erector spinae.
Posterior chain muscles are responsible for keeping your posture in the correct position, lowering the chance of postural injuries.
Posterior chain muscles, such as the glutes and erector spinae, are responsible for balancing your body and keeping your posture in the correct position during standing, walking, running, and all other similar activities.
11. Improves Grip Strength
The kettlebell farmer walks and the rest of the exercises are essential for improving grip strength.
Kettlebells carries significantly benefit your grip and forearm strength, which is one of the predictors of long and healthy life .
Grip strength is especially important for real-life activities and everyday situations such as carrying heavy bags, moving the sofa from the living room, and similar activities.
12. Improves Weaknesses & Muscle Imbalances
Unilateral kettlebell exercises are extremely useful and important for improving your muscle weaknesses and correcting postural muscle imbalances.
If you have functional scoliosis, you must strengthen one side and stretch the other to negate the effects of this specific postural deformity.
Kettlebells are excellent to include in your unilateral sessions for strengthening the necessary side to correct postural deformities such as functional scoliosis .
13. Trains You to Move Better (Multiplanar Exercises)
Kettlebells will train you to move better if you incorporate kettlebell movement in all three planes of motion. Planes of motion include the sagittal, frontal, and transverse.
Sagittal kettlebell movements include calf raises, biceps curls, triceps extensions, good mornings, Romanian deadlifts, and similar.
Frontal kettlebell movements include side lunges, kettlebell lateral raises, and similar activities .
Transverse kettlebell movements include multiplanar lunges, kettlebell Russian twists, kettlebell Turkish get-ups, and similar exercises.
14. Low Risk, High Reward (Safer and More Effective)
Most kettlebell exercises, if taught with proper technique and form, are low risk but high reward in terms of aforementioned kettlebell benefits.
You can perform a vast corpus of kettlebell exercises safely and experience benefits in cardiorespiratory fitness, strength gains, and range of motion freedom.
However, you must hire or be taught by a professional or certified personal trainer who will teach you how to perform kettlebell movements correctly and safely.
15. Improves Joint Health
Kettlebells will improve your joint health if you stress them adequately during kettlebell workout sessions.
You can significantly improve the health of your ankles, knees, and hips with basic and advanced kettlebell exercises such as swings, squats, and deadlifts.
Upper-body kettlebell exercises will improve the health of your wrist and shoulder joints, which is extremely important in sports requiring high-shoulder output .
Related Article: Best Joint Supplements
16. Simplifies Your Training
You can simplify your training by performing every exercise with the kettlebell.
Almost all exercises with free weight can be performed using a kettlebell, which simplifies the whole preparation phase for kettlebell workouts and allows for more energy to be spent by working out.
This is important because a significant amount of energy goes into setting the weights, machines, resistance bands, and gym equipment before starting to work out.
17. Compact and Portable
Kettlebells are compact and portable, allowing you to design a home gym with space-saving factors in mind and without worrying about where to place the kettlebell .
This is extremely important if you are tight on budget and can only choose from a few home gym setup options.
You can easily carry the kettlebell to another room or even outside if you prefer to have your workouts somewhere else.
Imagine having the pull-up bar outdoors, and you need the kettlebell for pushing exercises since the pull-up bar can mostly be used for pulling exercises.
In that case, you will only bring the kettlebell outside and enjoy a full-body push/pull split on fresh air.
Related Article: Portable Home Gym Equipment
18. Versatile Workouts
Kettlebells are one of the most versatile functional fitness equipment, allowing for different upper-body, lower-body, and core workouts.
You can easily diversify your workouts by implementing the kettlebell and slightly modifying exercises.
You can even hold the kettlebell in a few different ways (holding the base, regular hand grip, or reverse handle grip) to further increase the versatility of your workouts.
What Happens if You Do Kettlebells Everyday?
You will build lean muscle mass, grip strength, and core strength if you do kettlebells everyday.
However, even though a kettlebell is a perfect tool for an entire body workout, you should not only isolate one specific cardio or strength training method but do it repeatedly every day due to injury risk and monotony principle.
Can I Get in Shape With Just a Kettlebell?
Yes, you can get in shape with just a kettlebell. The benefits of kettlebell training include exercising multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which helps you build muscles, lose fat, and improve your cardiorespiratory fitness in a matter of weeks.
Should I Get 1 or 2 Kettlebells?
You should get 1 kettlebell if you are on a budget and are okay with mostly performing unilateral variations of popular exercises, which are the best for building stabilizer muscles.
However, two kettlebells are for you if you want to make your kettlebell swings harder and introduce variety with progressive overload to your kettlebell workout.
How Can I Experience All These Benefits From Kettlebell Training?
You can experience all these benefits from kettlebell training by purchasing a single adjustable kettlebell, which you can carry anywhere and benefit from multiple weight ranges.
Adjustable kettlebells are the best functional piece of equipment that will allow you to achieve all the above-mentioned benefits.
However, the primary reason you should buy adjustable kettlebells over regular fixed kettlebells is compactness, build quality, and portability.
If you want to train in every room of your house, outside, or even at your friend’s house without bringing a ton of weights to create an appropriate workout environment, read our guide on the best adjustable kettlebells.
Let me know how you plan to use kettlebells and achieve your goals.
About The Author
You May Also Like