It is so interesting. Most of the time, people come to MoveStrong Kettlebells to become more physically active, not specifically to use kettlebells. But I don't remember anyone not enjoying the varied hardstyle Russian kettlebell movements and lifts that we teach here.
I would say that if you learn in person from a certified kettlebell coach, the basic movements can be easy to do. If you are learning from a book or video, it is nearly impossible to get the nuances of the movement right. Learn from a certified coach (like me!) to prevent injury and I promise you will have fun too.
10 reasons why I love kettlebells ...
1. Kettlebells are Safe.
If you work with a coach, certified through DragonDoor or StrongFirst, the coach is qualified to teach you to safely use kettlebells. It is worth the investment to learn the correct technique and to develop a new skill. A good coach teaches you how to pick up and put down a kettlebell, how to use it within your abilities, never going to failure, and they can teach you many ways to use kettlebells to meet your goals.
2. Kettlebells Make You Strong.
No doubt that lifting heavy balls of iron will increase strength. The offset center of gravity makes kettlebells an interesting challenge to the entire body. People appreciate how kettlebells work the posterior chain, including, for example, the glutes, abdominals, lats and hamstrings. We are not focusing on just one area of the body (no leg day, no arm day ... everyday is whole-body day.) And this form of strong applies to moving/lifting heavy stuff and doing great stuff in daily life, understanding how to use posture, breathing and movement technique in and out of the gym.
3. Kettlebells Build Cardiovascular Endurance.
I used to have some folks who came to train and they would go running afterward to get in their 'cardio'. I used to wonder about that because the Kettlebell ballistic movements (clean, snatch, swing, jerk) build cardiovascular endurance that rivals running. I like to be time-efficient, build strength and improve heart health all at the same time with kettlebells. What I really like is that I can do some running when I want to (or need to) and really enjoy it because I am a conditioned kettlebell athlete.
4. Kettlebells Challenge the Mind.
There are many cues with each movement that require you to think. Thinking about how your body is moving keeps you safe and safely challenged. Learning to use kettlebells is intellectually interesting. You will also learn about your anatomy, as in what muscles you are using with different movements. After a while, the movements will become grooved into your muscle memory and you can build on those with additional mental challenges with more advanced movements and lifts.
5. Kettlebells are Time Efficient.
Truly, an hour is a long kettlebell workout. An hour is great though because you can do some mobility work that will make you an even stronger, more resilient athlete. But, if you only have 10 minutes, you can do, for example, 10 Turkish Getups. Have another few minutes? Throw in 100 Single Arm Kettlebells swings (takes me about one song). I can combine the TGUs and swings with some warmup and cool down time and be happy that I completed a challenging and impactful training session in about 20 minutes.
6. Kettlebells are Portable.
Some people refer to kettlebells as a hand-held gym because you can grab a couple bells and head to a private corner and get a lot of work done. Or, you can head outdoors, or into your living room or take them to the beach. I remember seeing a video of an RKC swinging a kettlebell in her kitchen while she was preparing dinner for her son. The portability makes it possible to keep the the Number 1 rule of fitness intact: Consistency!
7. Kettlebells are Fun.
After one session, people will tell me that kettlebells are fun to use. I think mainly because they get up-to-speed quickly (with in-person coaching) and they feel good learning to lift heavy stuff safely. There are so many ways to improve with kettlebells that one accomplishment leads to another -- and that's exciting. Some examples that make it fun for me: learning new technique, lifting more weight, doing more reps, completing interesting combinations of KB movements, seeing technique improvement, creating interesting class programming and watching people's bodies transform as they progress.
8. Kettlebells are Simple to Use.
I can usually get people who are injury-free and mobile up and going with three key kettlebell movements in their first session with me: the sumo deadlift, the goblet squat and the press. Of course, this is dependent on their ability to hinge at their hips properly and do a decent squat. It takes a while to perfect the movements, but it feels good to learn and make progress.
9. Kettlebells are Great for Rehab and Movement Restoration.
Many people have told me that they have less pain and tightness once they start using kettlebells. Also, many of the kettlebell movements get people moving in ways they haven't moved in years. Or some have never imagined moving this way. It is a beautiful thing to watch someone who could not do a lunge when they started, do a step-back lunge with a kettlebell overhead ... with precision and balance. I have watched people with hip pain and back pain perform kettlebell swings and leave pain-free. I have a big old list of these movement improvements. Ask me!
10. Kettlebells Condition Your Body for Life and Sport.
I can't think of another fitness system that will give someone the overall conditioning in a way that is manageable, sustainable and solidly rooted in exercise science. We are building sturdy people who value getting stronger, working toward becoming pain and injury-free, feeling energized, confident and who are less likely to get injured in the future. They live, work and play knowing that the kettlebell conditioning helps them to move with confidence and that translates into being their very best in their everyday life.