With all the recent hoopla surrounding them, you’re probably wondering which kettlebell workout is best for you. Even though they’ve been around in the bodybuilding world for decades, they’ve only recently made it into the mainstream as a viable workout for the Average Joe or Jane. But many people are still clueless about how to properly use a kettlebell, and that includes many certified personal trainers.
There are many gurus out there trying to make a name for themselves as the go-to person for kettlebell training, and right now it’s still anyone’s ballgame. There are a slew of new kettlebell programs hitting the market, so it can be tough to know which one to go with.
Choosing the Right Kettlebell Workout for You
The right kettlebell workout program will depend entirely on what your goal is. If you are wanting to lose weight, you have to focus on a program that has a lot of cardio built into it. If you’d rather sculpt muscle, you’ll want to find a program that focuses on lifting the weight more than moving around. This is something that you can use your gut instincts with, and find the program that resonates with you best. That would be your body telling you which one it thinks it can handle, and your brain telling you which one it thinks it can stick with.
Kettlebell Workout Review Recaps
We’ve taken a long look at many of the best-selling kettlebell workouts out there right not and have assembled our list of ones we think deserve more attention, or ones that we recommend avoiding. There are a few that are perfect for beginners, so if you’ve never held a kettlebell before these are the ones you should go with. There are also more advanced ones that should only be used by those family with lifting weights or using kettlebells.
KettleWorx is one of the better programs out there that will give you a solid grounding in proper form, and will show you plenty of exercises to do so that you’re never left standing around wondering what you can do with your kettlebell. The exercises they show are simple enough so that you can get the form down quickly, yet they produce the result you’re going for.
We also like that they’ve tried to make the kettlebells as user friendly as they can be by smoothing them out, and painting them with a nice finish, you don’t get the feeling like you’re working out with a piece of scrap metal.
Go to our full review of KettleWorx
We recommend this kettlebell workout for those that are already pretty active, as they start off at a level that might leave some behind. If you want a program that hits the ground running and assumes this isn’t the first workout program you’ve attempted this is the one to go with.
This has more of an aerobics focus, so guys might not like it as much. But the way they incorporate the kettlebell into already proven aerobic exercises is pretty clever, and pretty much guaranteed to get you sweating and get your muscles owrking.
Go to our full review of Kettlenetics
Weider PowerBell Recap
This is a pretty unique design that lets you quickly change it from a rather light weight to a pretty substantial weight in just a few seconds. The draw here is twofold: you don’t have to buy a bunch of different sized kettlebells, and you also won’t have to find a place to put all of them once you get them.
This lets you keep everything nice and compact, and lets you move between different exercises that require different size weights to perform effectively. Often you don’t want to use a heavy weight for one exercise, but then on the next one you do. This is the tool for the job.
Go to our full review of Weider PowerBell
We’re pretty impressed with the Thunderbell because there’s really nothing else like it. They’ve designed it so that it functions like a few different pieces of equipment so you can seamless flip between dumbbell exercises, kettlebell exercises, and even medicine ball routines.
Everything you do with this will result in either increasing your heart rate, or building up your muscle. A lot of the exercises they show are unique to this piece of equipment, and get your body moving in many different positions you may have never tried before.
Go to our full review of Thunderbell
Reinhardt Kettlebell System Recap
The guy behind this system, Mr. Reinhardt, seems like he’s poised to become the kettlebell guru, until you see him in action and wonder if he was ready for the spotlight. The program itself is pretty solid, but with kettlebells it can be hard to stay motivated, and you might need someone that’s a little better at getting you ready for the workout ahead.
You can give this a try if you want, as it is pretty comprehensive and you might pick up a few good exercises from it that you’ve never tried before, but other systems are better.
Go to our full review of Reinhardt Kettlebell System
CAP Barbell Kettlebell Recap
CAP wins the award for best looking kettlebells hands down. They’re the Cadillac of kettlebells, and you’ll appreciate the sleek look and feel of these if you’ve ever grabbed a kettlebells with rough edges and jagged seems where it was welded.
These are streamlined and dare we say it – sexy. It may only help your workout slightly, but the psychological aspect of it might be worth it. You might find yourself more inclined to do the workout when you can grab a nice looking weight instead of something that looks like a cannonball with a handle.
Go to our full review of CAP Barbell Kettlebell
Jillian Michaels Shred-It With Weights Recap
Most of us are familiar with Jillian from The Biggest Loser, but she’s also one of the busiest people in the fitness industry, coming up with several different programs and attaching her name to lots of different diet foods and programs. She’s actually the host of this and attempts to show you the proper way to handle a kettlebell.
Some have said that she might need another crash course in how to use them before she tries teaching others. For sure, there’s just no easy way to fake like you know what you’re doing with these. They are not the same as dumbbells, and the rules are totally different.
Go to our full review of Jillian Michaels Shred-It With Weights
Kettlebell Burn 2.0 Recap
This is a downloadable ebook, which means you’ll be responsible for providing the kettlebell. If you’ve already got a set, and you’ve been going online trying to find free videos on YouTube that show you how to do some exercises, this is a better way to go about it.
It will provide you with a system that is easy to follow, and that will show you a lot of different exercises, each with their own muscle groups that they work out, so you always know what you’re doing and why. We say try this out, and see what you can learn from it.
Go to our full review of Kettlebell Burn 2.0
At the end of the day you simply need to pick a program and get started with it. There’s really not any one that’s better than another if you don’t use them once you receive them. The most dedicated individual can make any of these programs work with enough persistence and perseverance. And those that just limp in to it will likely not get results even from the most easy to follow program. Eventually you have to pick a program, stick with it, and make it work for you. It’s easy to half-ass it, fail, and then blame the program, but you only end up fooling yourself. With kettlebells there’s a steep learning curve that will separate the tire kickers from those that are serious, so if you’re not ready to jump on board, then avoid them altogether and save your time and money.
What Makes Kettlebells So Effective?
Many kettlebell exercises incorporate both lifting as well as more of a full bodied motion, so you will find that you get short of breath pretty quickly, and the sweat starts showing up before you know it. The next day after your first full on workout you might feel like you got hit by a truck. This is because few exercise programs out there combine weight and lots of motion at the same time like this. It’s like doing a cross training program, with only one piece of equipment.
By getting your heart rate up into the target heart rate zone, and getting your muscles flexing and stabilizing the weight, you end up using lots of little stabilizer muscles that don’t get engaged when you use weight lifting machines. So you get the same kind of effectiveness that dumbbells provide, and you get the same sort of movement that aerobic exercises provide, and you’re getting them both at the same time.
What Makes Kettlebells So Grueling?
In addition to being effective, many people report that kettlebell workouts are grueling. You’ll need to bring your A game and expect to be pushed to your limits when you take on this sort of challenge. One of the reasons that it can be so taxing on you is that the kettlebell itself is unforgiving. They didn’t win any design awards when they made it, and it’s just a 10, 20, 30 or more pounds of unyielding deadweight that you’re trying to move around and manipulate.
Take a kettlebell swing for example. There’s a fine line between you being in control of the weight, and the weight being in control of you. One wrong swing and you can take out a kneecap, or smash your inner thigh or worse, smash between your thighs. By forcing you to control a swinging weight, the kettlebell produces quite the challenge that can prove to really take it out of you in a hurry.
Best Kettlebell Workout for Women
Most women want to go for the slender, yet toned look, without bulking up like the Incredible Hulk, and not looking too skinny either. Kettlebells can provide the answer because if you use them at a light weight, say 5 or 10 pounds max, you will get a nice toning effect, and also produce the elevated heart rate that you need to get the fat to go away. The muscle that you do build shouldn’t be bulky like a male bodybuilder, because many of the exercises you are going to do do not involve a concentrated lift on one body part.
For example, the kettlebell swing, even with a heavier weight, is going to engage your leg muscles, your core, and your arms, but it is not concentrated the way that a bench press works directly on your pectoral muscles, or a curl works specifically on your biceps. Since you are engaging so many different muscle groups all in one fluid swing, you end up with a nice toned look, and not like you’re ready to win an arm wrestling contest.
Best Kettlebell Workout for Weight Loss
If you’re going for weight loss, any of the kettlebell exercises will help get you there. The programs we’ve recommended above will all help you lose weight. They can’t not. The reason being is that they attack weight loss from both angles at the same time. You get the immediate benefit of burning calories in the moment, which reduces them from your daily intake.
Plus, you are building up your lean muscle mass at the same time. Once you have enough muscle built up you will have effectively increased your metabolism so that you’re burning more calories even when you do mundane things like watch TV and even sleep. This means that as long as you keep eating the same foods and getting the same calories in, you will naturally and effortless lose weight because you’ll have more and more of a caloric deficit the longer you go along.
The problem with many weight loss programs is they only focus on one or the other, so you are only focusing on the now or only focusing on the later. You need to have this dual system in place so that you get excited by the results in the now, and things get easier as you go along so it’s easy to stay motivated.
Give Yourself Room to Grow
At first you might not be too adept with the kettlebell, even if you’ve lifted weights for years. It’s just an odd piece of equipment. So be sure to budget some time for learning, so that you don’t get frustrated and feel like moving on to the next thing. These will work if you can just stick with them long enough. Like anything, if you get it to the point where it becomes a habit, you’ll be able to do things automatically that once seemed awkward. If you can get to that point with kettlebells, the body that you want is soon to follow.
Our Kettlebell Workout Recommendation
If you’re ready to take on the challenge of the kettlebell there are a few things we recommend. If you’re a guy, don’t be all macho and think that you need a huge weight in order for this to be effective. You can always upgrade to a larger weight down the road, but it can frustrate you to start off at a higher weight and then have to go out and buy a lighter weight. Most guys won’t go out and buy a lighter weight on principle. That’s why starting off with a lighter weight is best, because you can get the form down properly and then feel good about upgrading later.
For the ladies, if you’ve never worked out with weights much before, just allow some time to get used to the feel of the weight. It can be hard at first incorporating it into the exercises, so don’t be afraid to get the proper form down first before adding weight to the mix.
Aside from that we’d go with one of the top-rated programs above. They will definitely get your heart rate up and your muscles straining, so it’s only a matter of you sticking with the kettlebell workout you choose.