Are Kettlebell Workouts a Shortcut to Fitness?

Could kettlebells really help you burn calories faster than conventional strength training programs? Fitness research suggests the kettlebell really does pull its weight.

from Reader's Digest | August 2011
Kettlebells and Dumbbells© Hemera/Thinkstock

The claim? Working out with a kettlebell (a weight that resembles a cannonball with a handle attached to the top) burns more calories and builds strength faster than traditional strength training. Gyms across the country are adding kettlebell classes, and many personal trainers incorporate the weights into clients’ workouts — all with the promise of an outsize payoff.

The truth? New research suggests that kettlebells really may get you fitter faster. In a small study from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, seasoned exercisers burned nearly 300 calories in a 20-minute workout with the weights — significantly more than they would have with conventional strength training. To avoid back strain, start with a relatively light weight (8 pounds for women, 13 pounds for men). A good beginner’s guide: the DVD Kettlebells: The Iron Core Way, Vol. 1, by personal trainer Sarah Lurie.

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  • Your Comments

    • Coppertone3000

      I used to use kettlebell but then I found a better way to get my weight workout
      I got a vest for weight walking by NYKNYC. its great . I can weight train while I am walking to work walking my dog or any activity . I also wear my vest on treadmill and it even strengthens bones!

    • Mark Berghmans

      Thank you for this ! Seriously useful info.

      I have bookmarked this and I’m also looking forward to reading new articles.

      Keep up the great job!

    • Vishnavita

      the best way to get a total body workout is with the nyknyc weight vest.
      Moderately  weighted looks nice, can be worn anyplace and it controls weight and strengthens the entire body all at once PLUS it strengthens bone and builds strong new bone so it is great to prevent osteoporosis

    • Ty

      You know that a kettlebell is just a weight, right? It’s just a weight that’s easier to hold with two hands.

      It all has to do with the EXERCISES you do.

    • Matt

      I’ve been working out regularly with a 35 pound kettlebell for over three years and I’m in better overall shape than ever. I recommend working with a certified trainer to make sure you develop the proper technique and get the most benefit.