Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells: Which Are Better?

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People can't stop talking about kettlebells as the new trend in weight lifting. So, the question becomes what are kettlebells and are they better for sculpting and toning than dumbbells or traditional free weights?

What is a kettlebell?

A kettlebell is a cast iron weight shaped like a ball with a handle on top. These weights are used during ballistic training, which is a form of weight training. Kettlebells are used to combine cardio fitness with strength and flexibility.

How can they help my fitness?

They became popular several years ago, and you can find kettlebell classes offered at gyms nationwide. Part of their popularity is their ability to elevate the heart rate while strengthening muscles. Translation: You get a lot of bang for your fitness buck. Unlike bars or barbells, kettlebells centers of gravity shift as you swing and sling them, creating a functional form of fitness. And an added bonus: The swinging motion makes it easy to transition between sets, creating a calorie-torching workout.

What is the difference between a kettlebell and a dumbbell?

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Kettlebell workouts are momentum-based and incorporate a wider variety of muscle groups than traditional workouts that use free weights or dumbbells. Most moves make you

For example, many exercises that require kettlebells also blend lower body and core exercises such as the squat or lunge. These exercises are usually done at a cardio pace, increasing the intensity of the workout and combining endurance with strength training.

In addition to these features, the kettlebell's round shape creates a pulling effect on the muscles which helps to build strength in your ligaments and tendons, preventing injury [Source: Huffington Post].

Are kettlebells better than dumbbells?

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The short answer: No. Kettlebells and dumbbells are simply different.

For example, a small study by California State University found that after only six weeks of training, a group that worked out with free weights was able to squat an average of 18 pounds more than a group that trained with kettlebells. The results were consistent when comparing the upper body strength of the two groups as well. [Source: Men's Health].

The Takeaway

If you are solely interested in building strength and muscle power, stick to the free weights, but if you are looking for a way to burn fat while increasing muscular and cardiovascular endurance, kettlebells are the workout tools for you.

For a basic weight training regimen for women, give this workout a try.

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Sources

  • DOM. "Kettlebell Exercises For Women." Kettlebell Exercises For Women. N.p., 6 Apr. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2013. .
  • Heid, Markham. "Kettlebells vs Free Weights The Smackdown Comments." Mens Health News. Rodale Inc., 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 09 Sept. 2013. .
  • Klein, Sarah. "Kettlebell Training: Why It's Great For Women." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 09 Sept. 2013. .