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When to use kettlebells? [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Feb 19, 2018 10:00:00 AM

 When to use kettlebells?

When to use kettlebells

Kettlebells should be used once you are ready and fit enough to move the weight about if the goal is to tone up. Especially if you want better glutes which look more eye-popping the kettlebell is your friend if you do not forget to squeeze your glutes at the top of the swing. A bit more detail in this article which I hope you will enjoy.
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What is your goal

Before going into when to use kettlebells I always like to take a step back with my clients and look into why they are training. Usually, when you come to me you are looking for a tool to solve a problem but not necessarily have thought in much detail about why you want to train. Mostly, there are three main goals in fitness:
  • Looks
  • Performance
  • Health
So at first let us look at why you want to train to then see when or if you should use kettlebells at all. 
Looks are first and depending on how you define good looks a kettlebell is a good tool or not. Most people would agree that having a six pack is among the goals which you should strive for to look attractive to the opposite sex. While kettlebells help achieve this, they are not the main contributor here. Your diet is. So get your diet in order first if it is the elusive six-pack you are after. For males, big arms are also often of interest. The kettlebell also does not do a lot for your guns. Here you are better of with the barbells and dumbbells to build biog string arms, although kettlebell exercise can be adjusted towards that goal. Last but not least there the glutes. If you want a nice, attractive backside, especially strived for among women, the kettlebell is a great tool, especially when you fear the barbell squat.
If it is the performance you are after, the kettlebell helps with that too. The swing trains your cardiovascular system develops strength and helps you to get better at unfolding your power more explosively. If you want the best gains for absolute strength though, the kettlebell will not fit the bill and you should also consider barbell exercises. 
In terms of health, the kettlebell can help but is a complex tool to use with its dangers as it can be dropped. If you are generally unwell and have not done any exercise for decades you might want to opt for bodyweight exercises instead, until you spruced up. 

What are kettlebells good for

Kettlebells are very good for high-intensity interval training and developing explosive strength. They are easy to set up, store and can be used for a full body workout if someone knows how to use them. In itself, it has more applications than a barbell or dumbbell, but cannot be loaded as easy. In this aspect, the barbell is the winner, as weights can be adjusted more easily. Kettlebells only come in one size. Stay away from buying adjustable kettlebells to remedy this. They are junk.

How to incorporate kettlebells into your training

Kettlebells can be incorporated as a supplementary exercise or warm-up for serious strength athletes or as a full strength day alternating with cardio days for the weekend warriors and stay at home moms among you. Find one of the 100, 300 or 500 swing templates out there according to your needs and fitness level and get started. 


Kettlebells can be used when someone is reasonably fit, does not like running or barbells, but still wants to push himself or herself to lose fat and got toned. Especially women fall into this bracket which might explain why kettlebells have gained in popularity as they are less threatening than the free weight room. For serious strength athletes, it is a good addition to address sections of the body which the normal powerlifting and bodybuilding routines tend to neglect. Based on what you get out of every minute invested into the kettlebell it is one of the strongest tools in the gym.

Further reading


Topics: Lift stronger, Kettlebell