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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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.