Kettlebell workout exercises – vs dumbbells

Kettlebell swings

What is the advantage of using kettlebells over dumbbells? kettlebell workout exercises – vs dumbbells

Kettlebells can be implemented in the same fashion as dumbbells. Depending on how you workout with them, there will be little difference between them. Some people you see in the gym insist that its a waste of time doing the same exercises with kettle bells as you would with dumbbells.

Kettlebells should be used for pendulum type exercises such as kettle bell swings because the weight isn’t balanced in the same way as a dumbbell. Different tools for different goals.

Your typical exercises like curls and dumbbell presses that you would normally perform with dumbbells are best performed with dumbbells. You can do these standard exercises with kettlebells, but the balance will be different and the kettlebells may put too much strain on joints like your wrists, elbows and shoulders.

I don’t suggest that one is better than the other, each works best for its own type of weight-training. For the most part, it comes down to what your goals are and don’t be afraid to switch workout styles around frequently.

How does balance come into play?

Kettlebell swings are a great way to increase your heart rate, burn extra fat and tone muscle, but where they make a difference compared to working out with the standard dumbbell is how kettlebells can target your muscles in a different manner.

Kettlebells are a very useful tool for people interested in building a base of strength and mobility. Many times people are afraid to overload their system pounding out heavy squats and deadlifts.

Instead of lugging a heavy barbell over your shoulders, you can perform these exercises with a pair of kettlebells and drop the risk of injury or accident. You can also spice up your leg workout using kettlebells for lunges and the farmers walk.

Kettlebells also work great for more dynamic movements, where a dumbbell or barbell may be more difficult to use.Kettlebells and dumbbells

What is the objective of using dumbbells?

Dumbbells are a great way to stimulate your muscles when performing standard muscle building exercises that you can otherwise do with a barbell, but with the fixed position that a standard bar gives you, you will be able to lift more weight, but you will get a less range of motion than you would with dumbbells.

For example, when doing barbell curls your hands are in a fixed position, “palms facing up”, but when you do the same curl with dumbbells, you are open to rotating your wrists which will target your biceps at a different angle.

The best way to stimulate a muscle for growth is to target it from different angel’s. Another variation that you would perform with dumbbells but would otherwise be difficult to do with a barbell are the hammer curls.

Another variation that you can master when using dumbbells over a barbell is the dumbbell row. Barbell rows you pull the weight back to your midsection with very little shoulder movement, with dumbbell rows you can get that extra stretch by letting the dumbbell swing forward along with your shoulder at the bottom of the exercise.

What is the objective of using kettle bells?

Unlike the standard dumbbell, a kettlebell’s center of mass is extended beyond your hand, this implements a swinging movement. The kettlebell makes swinging movements easier with added safety, grip, arm, wrist and core strengthening.

The weight of a kettlebell is distributed unevenly and the unique shape of a kettlebell provides for easier handling. While the kettlebells unique design won’t necessarily make it easier to do the exercises that you would normally do with a dumbbell, the kettlebells design will make it easier to perform any swinging type of exercise which are designed to implement muscle targeting to an all new level and will help with increasing calorie expenditure.

Training with both dumbbells and kettle bells

I have always talked on the importance of switching things around in your training and keeping things fresh. Barbells, dumbbells and weight machines are all great ways to work your muscles and keep your results coming, but different aspects of your training can still become stale and as they always say, “variety is the spice of life”.

Kettlebells don’t only fit into the realm of building muscle and strength training, but kettlebells also come in handy for programs such as HIIT training.

You can include a lightweight pair of kettle bells into your HIIT training routine for added resistance, and after the additional weight gets to be a little much, you can always drop the weight and push on further without the added weight of kettlebells.

Kettlebell exercises

Below I have a list of 8 kettlebell  exercises that you can do at home or in the gym. These exercises are all great for building muscle, strengthening and carving out the physique that you have always wanted.

1- kettle bell swings

Kettlebell swings are great for your gluts, legs, and lower back, you can go heavy, but you should get a good technique down with a lighter kettlebell before adding too much weight. To perform a swing with proper form, you have to thrust your hips to get the kettlebell up, don’t use your arms.

2- hand-to-hand swings

Use the same exact form as regular swings. The only difference is you only have one hand on the kettlebell and switch hands at the top. Switching to one-handed swings isolates one side at a time which makes it harder and helps improve stability. You’ll need to use a lighter weight than with a regular swing, since you’re only using one arm.

3- figure 8s

This is the most complex of these exercises. The hinging movement is similar to swings, but instead of swinging the bell forward, you swing it with one hand from your rear to the chest. Figure 8s will add more arm work because its similar to an uppercut as you transition through.

4- halos

This move works your shoulders, chest, and core. The trick is to keep your core tight and hold your torso stable as you rotate your arms and the weight.

5- Russian twist

Sit with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift them up off the ground, crossing legs, and leaning back about 45 degrees with the kettlebell in front of your chest. Rotate your torso from left to right by twisting at the waist and swinging the kettlebell across your body.

6- sumo deadlifts with high pull

Your form should be similar to a traditional deadlift, except your legs should be wider than shoulder-width distance and your feet should be turned outward. You might need to go lighter here than with a deadlift, because you’re adding in arm work.

7- push presses

This move mostly works your arms, but also involves the hamstrings, calves, and gluts. The bend in your legs will be less than a full squat, approximately a 3 to 4 inch dip. Try to keep the dip and press all in one fluid motion, the additional leg movement will make the press go smoother.

8- farmers walk

Grab a pair of kettlebells, one in each hand, keeping your back flat and core engaged the same way you would for a deadlift. Hold both kettlebells in the center of the handle, walk forward 30-50 feet, turn and repeat the farmer’s walk back to your starting point.

Conclusion

Kettlebells and dumbbells can easily be identified by their appearance. However, without a deeper knowledge of application to training and bio mechanics, the physical differences have very little bearing.

For example, it’s easy to see that in appearance, the kettlebell and dumbbell look very different from one another, but how will this change the kettlebell’s best uses in training? and will the evenly displaced weight of the dumbbell heads shift the mechanics of the application?

Kettlebell differences

  • Constructed with cast-iron
  • Weight sits below the handle
  • Handle can accommodate two hands

Dumbbell differences

  • Construction varies
  • Weight is evenly displaced
  • Handle accommodates only one hand

The physical differences are pretty easy to see, but understanding their mechanics is crucial for application. Each implement’s their own use in training.


For further reading-

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Having the proper motivation and mindset is a big part of achieving your goals, If you don’t have the determination to keep progressing forward, It will be difficult to realize your full potential. Often I find my motivation through reading informative content such as Muscle & Fitness.

There are other great ways that can help you with developing the motivation to keep progressing forward on your journey, like searching out a wealth of great information such as YouTube videos.

Whatever you find to be your best motivators, stick with them, because they will be your best friend in seeing you through with whatever the goal is that you are interested in accomplishing.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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