Going from Barbells to Kettlebells

I used to lift heavy 3x a week - I did starting strength initially, then after ~6 months modified it to suit my purposes. Squats, deads, bench, rows, pull ups, etc. However, in March I had chest surgery (breast deformity, so, not open-chest surgery thankfully) and again in May. Due to the geometry of handling a barbell, pretty much all of the lifts I did are now impossible for a couple years. Except maybe deadlifts? But I'm not paying $30 a month to deadlift and go home.

My surgeon recommended pilates, certain calisthenics, or kettlebells as an alternative. While the first 2 I'm not interested in, can I get a heavy muscle work out with kettlebells? I know it'll never be the same as squatting under a barbell but I'm going out of my mind not being able to lift and increase strength. Bike riding isn't cutting it anymore lol.

tl;dr are kettlebells really an alternative to barbell training? at least somewhat? Or should I try something else?


  • sugarbone
    sugarbone Posts: 454 Member
    no one?
  • GhostPack
    GhostPack Posts: 197 Member
    KB's are great. I add them in all the time. OR I just use a regular weight if a KB isn't really needed, like for Turkish get-ups. Thing is, they make them very heavy, so you can use them for strength, if you get the heavier ones.
    Swings, Snatches, get-ups, deadlifts (suitcase dead's), sumo squat, press, etc.
    You're right that they won't replace barbell's, but you can certainly get very strong training with them.
  • darrensurrey
    darrensurrey Posts: 3,942 Member
    How about dbs for bench press?
  • Hezzietiger1
    Hezzietiger1 Posts: 1,256 Member
    It's all about the weight. Kettle bell swings are one of my favorite glutes/ab cardio/weight moves. I did 50 reps today with a 30 lb weight.


    I don't think you can get a great workout like you are wanting with light weights tho.