What Exactly Is a Kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a very old (sports) article and originated in Russia where the word first appeared in the 18th century. The people who trained there with a kettlebell were called gireviks.
The kettlebell training was first developed for the elite troops of the Russian army and the secret service in Russia. There it was described as a cannonball with a handle on it.
The first introduction to the kettlebell for the general public took place more recently. A Special-Force coach decided to launch it in the 20th century. The kettlebell was almost immediately picked up and accepted by top athletes who also took a closer look at the training methodologies.
As a result, the training methods were improved and perfected. Meanwhile, the kettlebell is used for training both home athletes and persons in the army, police, fire brigade, and special units.
Which Specific Kettlebells Can You Buy?
Kettlebells can be divided into 4 types: standard kettlebells, adjustable kettlebells, professional kettlebells and other kettlebells. In order to decide for yourself which kettlebell is best for you, you need to ask yourself three important questions:
- Which exercises do I want to be able to perform?
- Do I want to build my workout all around the kettlebell, or will it just be an addition to the schedule I currently have?
- Is the ultimate goal to do competitions with this?
If you have an answer to these 3 questions, you can look at the following 4 categories to see which one suits you best.
Standard kettlebells are made of cast iron. There is no standard size for these kettlebells: the kettlebell has a different size per weight, but also per brand.
In general, the higher the weight, the larger the kettlebell. So if a weight from one brand is too big, the same weight from another brand may suit you better.
Adjustable kettlebells are exactly what they say: they are kettlebells that you can adjust the weight of by stacking weights. These are unfortunately not suitable for use above the shoulders.
They are more expensive than the kettlebells in the normal category, but here you do have the option to add and remove weights. So you have a whole set of kettlebells in one, which means that you are ultimately cheaper. Some examples of exercises you can do with a stackable kettlebell are: swings, lunges, squats, and deadlifts.
Professional kettlebells are all the same size, regardless of weight. These kettlebells are used during tournaments, so it is important that the same dimensions are used throughout.
Normally these kettlebells are given one color per weight. These kettlebells are a bit more expensive on average, but because they are made of cast iron, they also last longer.
With the growth in popularity of fitness programs such as cross training and HIIT, the demand for kettlebells has increased. Various variants have been developed to make these training materials affordable for everyone. For example, there are plastic kettlebells with sand fillings for sale, or kettlebells in other shapes, such as club bells.
What Weight Is Right for Me?
Be careful when you start performing a kettlebell workout. Not only doing a certain exercise incorrectly can cause pain, but using too heavy a weight can also lead to complications.
Both can lead to back pain or other complaints related to overload. That is why we advise you to first get taught all the exercises by a personal trainer or to practice a few times with a training buddy. Build up the weight slowly too: it’s better to start too light than too heavy. Weight guidelines are:
- 4 Kg Kettlebell: Women 60+, people who have not played sports for a long time, people with back problems or people with a low load capacity.
- 8 Kg kettlebell: Women, men aged 65+, men with little sports background or very low load capacity.
- 12 Kg Kettlebell: Women who have already exercised with the kettlebell before, or who already exercise very intensively and men who exercise moderately and are free of complaints.
- 16 Kg Kettlebell: Men who regularly do strength training or explosive sports.
- 20 Kg+ Kettlebell: All people with a lot of kettlebell or strength sports experience.
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