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Can You Lose Weight With Kettlebells?

Kettlebells are large, ugly metal balls with thick handles on top, and can weigh over 100 pounds. But don’t let their appearance fool you, kettlebells are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment available.

You can use kettlebells to lose weight by performing circuit training. They combine the calorie-burning benefits of cardio with the strength-boosting effects of weight training. It’s even possible to burn more calories by doing a kettlebell circuit than by running on a treadmill.

Throughout any weight loss journey, trying different workouts and finding what you enjoy are key to seeing results. So let's look at a few kettlebell routines that can help lose weight, build muscle, and have some fun in the process!

Are Kettlebells Good for Losing Belly Fat?

Kettlebells can help you burn fat in general, but your body will choose where the fat is taken from.Exercise isn’t very helpful if you want to target a specific area. However, you can build muscle in a targeted area, which improves the definition of that body part.

Belly fat is one of the most stubborn areas for men and women. Unfortunately, the body chooses where fat is stored. This is mostly determined by your genes. That’s why some people store fat in their limbs, while others have a higher concentration in their bellies.

Targeting Your Abs With Kettlebells

For your belly, strengthening the abdominal muscles can help. Stronger and bigger ab muscles can make your midsection appear more defined. Kettlebell exercises are very useful for building that area. One of the best core exercises you can do with a kettlebell isthe Turkish get-up. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Lie on your right side in the fetal position and grab the kettlebell with both hands.
  • Step 2: Roll onto your back and press the kettlebell towards the ceiling with your right arm.
  • Step 3: Move your left leg out to the side at a 45-degree angle to your body. Put your left arm on the ground at a similar angle. Plant your right foot on the ground with your knee bent.
  • Step 4: Punch your right arm up and come up onto your left forearm, twisting your body up.
  • Step 5: Continue punching your right arm up towards the ceiling and come up onto your left hand.
  • Step 6: Bridge your hips up off the ground. Bring your left leg back and place your left knee on the ground.
  • Step 7: Turn your body so that your hips and shoulders face forwards. Push off your left hand and make your torso upright.
  • Step 8: Stand up fully, with the right arm straight and the kettlebell overhead.
  • Step 9: Reverse the steps to get back down.

Are 20 Minutes of Kettlebells Enough?

A 20-minute kettlebell workout can be impactful, as they don't need to be long or complicated to be effective. One study, published in theJournal of Science in Sport and Exercise found that a kettlebell half marathon (a simple kettlebell workout) was more intense than running on a treadmill.

The same research study also compared the amount of oxygen each participant consumed during their workout, and their heart rate.

They found that 30 minutes of a kettlebell half marathon was more taxing on the body than 30 minutes of running on a treadmill. That means you’ll probably burn more calories with the kettlebell.

Again, the kettlebell half marathon is one of the simplest routines you can do, here's how it works.

How Do You Do a Kettlebell Half Marathon?

To begin a kettlebell half marathon, first choose from one of three options: a kettlebell swing, clean and jerk, or snatch. Then, select an appropriate amount of time to perform the workout. And finally, perform the chosen exercise, without putting the kettlebell down, for the given amount of time.

Beginners should start with 10-20 minutes, but eventually, you can do the full 30 minutes.

Short On Time? Use Kettlebell Circuit Training

Doing the same exercise over and over can get boring, but there are other ways to train with a kettlebell that burns fat and builds muscle. One style of training, called resistance circuit-based training, is a hybrid between weight training and cardio.

If you only have 20 minutes to exercise, doing a circuit of kettlebell exercises can make up for the lost time. With this style of training, you’ll perform typical strength training exercises, like squats and deadlifts, for 12-15 reps per set. Instead of recovering between sets, quickly go into the next exercise.

By cutting down on rest time, this style of exercise saves you time and challenges your cardiovascular system. It’sproven to help burn fat, increase muscle, make you stronger and improve your aerobic fitness.

30-Minute Kettlebell Circuit For Burning Fat

The International Sports Science Association has a 30-minute kettlebell workout that you can use if you’d like to try a fat-burning circuit:

Kettlebell Exercise #1: High swing

  • Step 1: Start standing, holding a kettlebell with both hands. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Step 2: Swing the kettlebell back between your legs and lean forward, keeping your back flat.
  • Step 3: After the kettlebell swings between your legs, snap your hips forward and stand upright. Use the momentum of the hip thrust motion to swing the kettlebell up.
  • Step 4: Let the kettlebell drift all the way overhead, then pull it back down.
  • Step 5: Swing the kettlebell back between your legs, pushing your hips back as you do so.
  • Step 6: Perform 3 sets of swings for 30 seconds each set.

Kettlebell Exercise #2: Thruster

  • Step 1: You can use either one medium-sized kettlebell or two smaller kettlebells for this exercise. If you use one, hold it with both hands in front of your chest. If you use two, hold them by the handle, resting on your shoulders.
  • Step 2: Squat down as low as you can.
  • Step 3: Stand up from the squat. As you stand up, begin pressing the weights overhead.
  • Step 4: Stand up and press the kettlebell fully overhead.
  • Step 5: Bring the weight back down to shoulder height. Repeat for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Kettlebell Exercise #3: Clean and press

  • Step 1: Place a kettlebell on the ground and stand over it so that it’s between your feet.
  • Step 2: Squat down, keeping your back flat, and grab the handle with both hands.
  • Step 3: Stand up with the kettlebell in your hand and pull it up towards your shoulder.
  • Step 4: As the kettlebell comes up, flip your hand over so that your palm faces you. This should cause the kettlebell to flip over onto your forearm.
  • Step 5: With the kettlebell by your shoulder, press it overhead until your elbow is straight.
  • Step 6: Bring the kettlebell back to your shoulder, then flip it over and squat down to place it on the ground.
  • Step 7: Repeat for 3 sets of 30 seconds, switching arms each rep.

Kettlebell Exercise #4: Upright row

  • Step 1: Stand with a kettlebell in both hands. Using your arms, lift the kettlebell towards your chest.
  • Step 2: Your elbows should stay above your wrists at all times.
  • Step 3: Lower the kettlebell back to hip height. Repeat for 3 of 30 seconds.

Kettlebell Exercise #5: Farmer’s carry

  • Step 1: Hold two heavy kettlebells by your sides, one in each hand.
  • Step 2: Maintain a tall posture while walking slowly and in control for as long as your gym space allows, then turn around.
  • Step 3: Continue walking for 30 seconds, then take a break. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Which Kettlebell Exercise Burns the Most Fat?

Kettlebell Swings are considered to be one of the best kettlebell exercises for burning fat.

Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Jared Evans, recommends kettlebell swings for fat loss because of the impact on muscles and the heart. While kettlebell swings are optimal, many kettlebell exercises are effective.

Swing Your Way to Fat Loss

To help you burn fat, your exercise should use as many muscles as possible, says Evans. It should also make your heart rate increase. Plus, the exercise should be repeatable. The kettlebell swing checks every box.

When you swing you use your legs to power the movement, arms to hold the kettlebell, and core muscles to stabilize your trunk. Plus, it’s a powerful and quick movement, which raises your heart rate. The swing motion makes it easy to repeat the exercise for a long time, keeping your heart rate elevated and muscles engaged.

Evans recommends getting a coach, or at least a second pair of eyes to check your form on the swings. It can be a tricky exercise to perfect, but once you learn the technique, it’s easy to remember.

If You're Trying To Lose Weight, Try Kettlebells

Kettlebells have been used in the fitness industry for decades, and possibly even centuries. They’re not fancy, but they work. If you’re looking for a new routine to burn fat, try doing a kettlebell circuit, or even performing kettlebell swings for an entire workout.

Not only can you burn fat using kettlebells, but you can also get stronger, more defined muscles.You won’t feel the need to split your workout routine into strength and cardio, since you can do both simultaneously with kettlebell circuits.