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Are Kettlebells Enough?

javamoakajavamoaka Member Posts: 20 Member Member Posts: 20 Member
With the gym shutdowns I got into kettlebells, and I LOVE THEM. The debate at hand; are they enough? Enough I will define as increasing muscle mass and performance. I'll kick things off with a YES. For starters, even when lifting heavy, kettlebells are more efficient. Not dealing with racking, unloading, waiting, moving station to station allows you to get a ton of output in 30 minutes. Additionally, being kettlebell movements (usually) work in multiple planes of motion, you hit 3-4 muscle groups in a single movement. For leg day I may do Turkish get ups. That move alone works abs, shoulders, glutes, calves, quads and hamstrings. Essentially, even when focusing on a couple muscle groups you inevitably work additional muscles. Again efficiency and increased output. I also think kettlebells simulate athletic movement more so than barbells/dumbbells/machines. Now as far as weaknesses of kettlebells... form is really important and coaching is not as accessible as what you find for traditional lifting. Also, using shoulders as an example, traditional lifting is easier to target and shape specific muscle heads where a kettlebell targets the delts more broadly. Lastly, being kettlebells work the obliques A LOT, if you are trying to keep a small waste it will be difficult. THOUGHTS?
edited July 1

Replies

  • GeneralSTpowerGeneralSTpower Member Posts: 21 Member Member Posts: 21 Member
    I think the answer depends on what type of training you are into ,and what your goals are. For someone whose goal is Strength Training and hitting heavy weights, and also target a particular muscle group, i do think they will opt for a barbells and machines. Its right that they help in compound moves, and save time, but yeah its depends mainly on whether they meet your training requirements even though theyre pretty functional.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,118 Member Member Posts: 1,118 Member
    javamoaka wrote: »
    With the gym shutdowns I got into kettlebells, and I LOVE THEM. The debate at hand; are they enough? Enough I will define as increasing muscle mass and performance. I'll kick things off with a YES. For starters, even when lifting heavy, kettlebells are more efficient. Not dealing with racking, unloading, waiting, moving station to station allows you to get a ton of output in 30 minutes. Additionally, being kettlebell movements (usually) work in multiple planes of motion, you hit 3-4 muscle groups in a single movement. For leg day I may do Turkish get ups. That move alone works abs, shoulders, glutes, calves, quads and hamstrings. Essentially, even when focusing on a couple muscle groups you inevitably work additional muscles. Again efficiency and increased output. I also think kettlebells simulate athletic movement more so than barbells/dumbbells/machines. Now as far as weaknesses of kettlebells... form is really important and coaching is not as accessible as what you find for traditional lifting. Also, using shoulders as an example, traditional lifting is easier to target and shape specific muscle heads where a kettlebell targets the delts more broadly. Lastly, being kettlebells work the obliques A LOT, if you are trying to keep a small waste it will be difficult. THOUGHTS?

    Very few people will ever have to worry about overdeveloping their waist regardless of the amount of oblique training they do.
  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Member Posts: 350 Member Member Posts: 350 Member
    I am a great fan of kettlebells. There is a huge variety of stuff you can do with them. I particularly like suitcase carries and rows.
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,407 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,407 Member
    Well, they COST enough!

    (See what I did there?) :p
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 15,968 Member Member, Premium Posts: 15,968 Member
    My thoughts, which are random: It's wonderful that they make you happy, truly. They're objectively potentially useful, as you say. How useful is going to depend on a person's goals (kettlebells would be the wrong workout if I want to be a competitive powerlifter :lol: ).

    Personally, I think they're slightly more enjoyable than lifting, but not much (sigh). Get-ups are abusive to my (pre-existing problem) knees, so not planning to go all in on those, despite the benefits.
  • pitbullpuppypitbullpuppy Member Posts: 149 Member Member Posts: 149 Member
    I think "enough" (being defined as 'enough to put on muscle mass'), regardless of the exercise performed, depends on the amount of reps, sets, the weight you are using, and your dedication. That is, it's not going to do 'much', IMO, if you only do, say, 6 reps of any given exercise and then go home, using a weight that is around 2.5-5lb. It wouldn't do anything for me, personally. But I have a 30lb kettlebell that I use for an assortment of exercises and for me, given the regularity, reps, etc., that I use it, it has been great but essentially only a comfortable replacement for 30lb on a dumbbell.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 1,652 Member Member Posts: 1,652 Member
    I remember a study a while ago by Bret Contreras, the guy that is mostly famous for Strong Curves. He studies the physiology of the gains from the heavy KB swing (30% or more of body weight, so a lot heavier than most people use). He found that there was more gained by KB swings than even deadlifts, at least according to the measurements he used. He also strongly recommended KBs for the glutes, which is ironic, because most know Contreras for heavy weighted bridges. I think he gave up on gyms widely adopting huge KBs. At most gyms, you can only find ones up to 35 lbs.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,118 Member Member Posts: 1,118 Member
    I remember a study a while ago by Bret Contreras, the guy that is mostly famous for Strong Curves. He studies the physiology of the gains from the heavy KB swing (30% or more of body weight, so a lot heavier than most people use). He found that there was more gained by KB swings than even deadlifts, at least according to the measurements he used. He also strongly recommended KBs for the glutes, which is ironic, because most know Contreras for heavy weighted bridges. I think he gave up on gyms widely adopting huge KBs. At most gyms, you can only find ones up to 35 lbs.

    You must be thinking Planet Fitness type places. Both the gyms I belong to (a Gold's Gym Express and a non-profit family fitness center) have kettlebells up to 90 pounds which are fantastic for farmer carries.
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