Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Kettlebell Workouts: 3 Things to Know

By Lynne Anderson
WebMD Feature

Kettlebell workouts are a way to build muscle strength and endurance. What makes a kettlebell workout different from other weights workouts? 

For starters, you work with only one kettlebell at a time. Hoisting the heavy metal bells not only helps strengthen your arms and pecs, but also works your core, heart, and lungs.

"The reason the kettlebell is so great is that there’s offset center of gravity," says Laura Alton, a certified trainer, physical therapist, and Russian kettlebells certified instructor at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas.

That means your body has to work harder to maintain balance. In so doing, you work many different muscle groups -- and get your heart rate up at the same time.

"It's a two-fer; it's like you're killing two birds with one kettlebell," says Riva Rahl, MD, medical director for wellness programs at the Cooper Fitness Center. "If you're doing it appropriately, the benefits are huge."

3 Tips for Getting Started

Kettlebells got their start in Russia, so the story goes, as a farming weight. They're everywhere now. If you're thinking about trying it, you should know these three things:

  1. Technique matters. Think about swinging around a gallon of milk -- the same weight as a beginner kettlebell -- for 30 minutes, and you get the picture. Or think of slinging around a 25-pound bag of potting soil. To avoid injury, you need to know what you're doing.
  2. Work with a trainer. They can help you learn how much weight you can use and how to use your kettlebell. "Make sure you use a certified kettlebells instructor," says Alton, who went through what she describes as three “grueling” days of certification training.
  3. Look for a smooth handle. Your kettlebell should have a smooth handle. “Your hand can get pretty roughed up by one that’s not smooth," Alton says. Ask your instructor for the weight you will need. If you're buying kettlebells, some people like to buy them in sets of three because with work, it won’t be long until you are moving up to the next weight.
Reviewed on March 01, 2013

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article