Anybody who works out regularly probably already knows that dumbbells are extremely versatile, and, are suitable for people of any age or level, and, are also great for training just about any body part.
But, recently, kettlebells have been getting a lot more of the public's attention. Though many exercisers are just now hearing about them, they're nothing new. In fact, they've been around for more than a hundred years.
So, let's try to answer a couple of questions you might have about kettlebells...such as:
Well, let's learn what the answers are to those questions...and maybe a little more.
- What is a kettlebell and where does it come from?
- Are kettlebells "better" than dumbbells?
ORIGIN OF KETTLEBELLS
Probably, rocks were the first "kettlebells", but, modern style kettlebells were traditionally a Russian cast iron weight used for strength training. They are pretty simple to describe as they sort of look like a cast iron cannonball with a handle....although retailers have expanded their markets by coating them in vinyl and making them in various colors...supposedly so you can spot the weight you want by the color.
Kettlebell exercises are a combination of strength and cardio exercise that are designed
to build endurance and stamina. Proponents of kettlebells say that they are, quite simply, the greatest tool for all-around athletic development.
Dumbbells are well, dumbbells.
They've been around for thousands of years in one form or another. The Greeks and
the Romans trained with their own versions of dumbbells. Versatility is a key
advantage of dumbbells. They can be used to train nearly any part of the body and
because they come in such a wide range of weights, can be used by just
about anyone-regardless of skill level. They're also fairly inexpensive.
On the other hand, kettlebell exercises are primarily designed to
develop functional strength. Their main focus is to work
our what are known as "non-mirror" muscles, the ones that we don't necessarily "see" in the
mirror but are still important nonetheless. That's not to say that
kettlebells can't be used to train specific areas of the body-they can.
It's just that the majority of kettlebell routines designed by the pros
are more focused on movements that include cardio, strength-building and flexibility.
If you're into mixed martial
arts or just otherwise are looking to get into some serious cross-training, then kettlebells have the advantage over
dumbbells. When doing cross-training exercises with dumbbells-which mostly focus on specific muscles-you're basically restricted to using
lighter weights or you run the risk of injuring yourself. With
kettlebells though, the exercises require multiple muscle groups to work together, meaning that you can use higher weights, with less risk
of injury (assuming proper form).
If your goal is to strictly "tone up" your body rather than to focus on
developing overall strength and flexibility, then dumbbells are
probably right for you. Dumbbells would
also most likely be the best choice if you are recovering from an injury, are just starting out or
are elderly. There are an unlimited number of dumbbell
exercise techniques for toning the body or aiding in injury
recovery that don't require more than five or ten pounds.
I think that if you belong to one of these categories, then you'll
probably have an easier time working with dumbbells. For most of the
history of kettlebells, they have been primarily used by people looking
for a pretty heavy duty workout. It's only been in the last few years
that professional trainers have began to realize their value as an all
around fitness apparatus, so you're going to find fewer routines to
On certain levels both dumbbells and kettlebells are about equal. They
both can be used in the home-or just about anywhere else-and don't
require any other special equipment. They're both very simple yet
versatile pieces of exercise
equipment, are suitable for all around, full-body training
and can be challenging, rewarding and fun. Each can be used to target specific areas of the
body and neither of them requires much of a learning curve-just about
anyone can learn to use them without too much difficulty. Lastly,
neither of them requires a great deal of skill or knowledge to be able
to use them and get results.
So what's the final verdict on the dumbbell vs. kettlebell issue? Which are better, dumbbells or kettlebells? My
conclusion is that neither one is "better" than the other.
Both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages and can help you to achieve
your fitness goals, whatever they might be. My personal choice is a
combination of both-kettlebells for focusing on developing core
strength and flexibility and dumbbells to isolate particular muscles
and body parts. Your choice though is going to depend on your fitness
goals, your skill level and ultimately, level of commitment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Westerdal is the creator of illustrated guide called, "Dumbbell Routines & Exercises". Visit his site to get a free eMail
course entitled, "Getting Started With Dumbbells".
Article Source: Dumbbells Versus Kettlebells
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