The first time I saw a kettlebell was several years ago at the gym. A guy was working with a personal trainer, standing on a wobble board and hoisting something that looked like a large cowbell. I honestly couldn’t figure out what they were doing, and half expected to hear the “bell” ringing as if the cows were coming home. It wasn’t until I went back and checked it out later that I understood that it was a weight and not a clanging alarm of core instability.
How does a kettlebell differ from a weighted ball or dumbbells? Well, for one, the handle on the kettlebell makes it easier to grip than a weighted ball. The solid grip enables you to engage your muscles with more of a swinging/sweeping motion than you’d be able to safely do with a weighted ball, particularly with sweaty hands.
Unlike with a dumbbell, where the torso is frequently kept stable while the limbs move, kettlebell workouts involve a significant amount of torso twisting and flexing, working the whole body and not just the limbs.
Much like with Pilates, the use of kettlebells involves mindful action. The nature of the pendulum-like motions of many kettlebell workouts require concentration and attention as you refine your movements; over time, kettlebells can improve both functional strength and range of motion.
There’s a decent kettlebell workout available on Self.com that should give some good pointers about the workouts and where to begin. Give it a try and let me know what you think.