Fitness From Home

Fitness is a vital part of any overall Wellness regimen, though it should follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, rather than take the place of it.

There are hundreds of options for fitness, from gyms to marathons, weights to swimming.

Sine I have approximately zero hours of free time to drive to a gym, get dressed, work out, take shower, get dressed again and drive home, I had to find a fitness routine that could be done easily from home and didn’t require a lot of specific equipment.

Enter the Kettlebell…

In my opinion, the kettlebell is the best all-around option for fitness from home as it requires minimal equipment (a kettlebell), minimal space, and can be considered both strength and cardiovascular exercise.

It also works really well for achieving fitness fast. So what exactly is a kettlebell? As this article explains:

A ‘Kettlebell’ or girya, as it is called in Russian, is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. It is the ultimate tool for extreme all-around fitness.

The kettlebell has been used for hundreds of years. It first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). Kettlebells were so popular in Tsarist Russia, that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or ‘a kettlebell man.’

Some of the specific benefits to kettlebells are:

  • The kettlebell develops all purpose strength
  • Blends strength with flexibility
  • Hacks the fat off
  • Improves physique
  • Makes strong anywhere, anytime–an extreme hand held gym

In the name of full disclosure… kettlebell workouts are HARD, but that is why they are so effective. Because of the combination of strength and high intensity cardio, even the most seasoned athletes have trouble lasting five minutes when switching to kettlebells.

If you don’t mind a challenge and want maximum results with minimum time, I highly recommend kettlebells. I don’t encourage doing any activity just because other are doing it, but a number of celebrities have spoken publicly about their use of kettlebells… you judge the results:

  • Grey’s Anatomy star: Katherine Heigl
  •  Sex in the City Star: Kim Cattrall
  • Jennifer Lopez
  •  Penelope Cruz
  •  Lance Armstrong
  • Mariska Hargitay
  • Sylvester Stallone, Claire Danes
  • Ethan Hawke
  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Most of the cast from the movie “300?.

For women especially, kettlebells give strength and tone without adding bulk. men typically see rapid strength improvements.

The American Council on Exercise did an independent study on kettlebell workouts that found that:

During the 20-minute workout, the average calorie burn was 272 calories, not counting additional calorie burn due to the substantial anaerobic effort.

“We estimated oxygen consumption and how many calories
they were burning aerobically, and it was 13.6 calories per minute.
But we also measured the blood lactate, so anaerobically they were
burning another 6.6 calories per minute,” explains Porcari. “So
they were burning at least 20.2 calories per minute, which is off
the charts. That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace. The
only other thing I could find that burns that many calories is crosscountry
skiing up hill at a fast pace.”

Incorporating some kind of fitness every day is important. My favorite is the kettlebell, but I challenge you to get out there and move no matter what your preference (preferably fast or with weights)!

If you decide to give kettlebells a try, here is a video demonstrating the basic kettlebell movement, the swing:

Time Ferris also explains how to do kettlebell swings in video and written format. In his research, it only takes 75 swings 2-3 times a week to achieve optimal results (less than 30 minutes a week total!).

Do you have time for that?

The best kettlebells I have found are from Dragon Door, though they can usually be found in most fitness type stores (though I haven’t seen the big weights in most places). Kettlebell workouts are even safe for pregnant women in most cases, and make delivery easier, in my experience.

My Workout

I have the 12 kg (26 lb) and 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebells. I typically use the 16kg for swings and the 12 kg for snatches and Turkish get ups (more info soon!). I either do Ferris’ 75 swings in one set or do Tabata “sprints” with the 16 kg bell.

For Tabata sprints with the bell:

  • Do swings at maximum speed with good form for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 8 times
  • Rest 2 minutes between sets and do 3+ sets

What do you think? Ever tried kettlebells? Are you up for it? Tell me below!

Ever tried kettlebells? What’s your favorite fitness routine at home? Share below!

Reader Comments

  1. Sue says

    I’ve been doing Jillian Michaels kettle bell video with a 10 lb. weight, and love the workout.
    I am going to purchase a kettle bell soon and have been looking for some instruction on the basic exercises online.
    The moves are very basic and seem to be effective for me. My strength has increased dramatically since starting  the workout.
    I prefer kettle bell moves over the treadmill and weight machines any day.

  2. says

    Yes!  I love kettlebells.  Katie, what about the part about kettlebells being so FUN? 

    Kettlebells were one of the first things I added back in to my exercise routine when I was postpartum, because they are so fun, fast and efficient.  And fun.  I’m not postpartum any longer, but kettlebell swings are my frequent go-to exercise to fulfill my daily resolution to “lift something heavy.” 

    For anyone interested in kettlebells, I recommend googling “turkish get-ups.”  It’s a great kettlebell exercise for building core strength, which I need!

    • says

      If you can’t fit it in every day, just do 75-150 reps without
      stopping (or with minimal rest) 2-3 times a week. This seems to be
      the most effective workout in the shortest time

      • Steph says

        I just got a kettle bell and my homework from my trainer this week is 75 swings a day, plus squats and deadlifts  a couple times a week………..minimal time, one 12kg kettle bell and I’m set……..I have a feeling I am going to get great results with this!

  3. Pamela Stroud says

    I bought my first kettlebell not that long ago.  It is the Bob Harper contured model found on Amazon, which isn’t as bulky because it is not round.  I started with just a 10lb and just using the DVD that came with it. The workout mostly focuses on the swings though, and after doing all those swings I found that my legs were the most sore from all the squatting.  Bob says on the DVD that the power is really in the hips, and that you aren’t supposed to really swing it by focusing on lifting the arms up.  I’m not sure if this is true, but I thought my upper body would be sore and it hasn’t been.

    I’m looking for some new routines to do with the kettlebell now.  That DVD you linked to looks pretty interesting.

  4. AM LT says

    I’ve been wanting to try them and now you have inspired me!   I’ve been strength training with traditional weights but am getting a little bored with them so I’ll go get some kettlebells!

  5. Catherine Knight says

    I am a HUGE kettlebell fan! My workouts use one or two 12 kg bells. (saving up for a 16).  When I do crossfit,  I use a 16 kg.  I cannot emphasize enough how helpful it is to see an RKC certified trainer to get started though.  Dragon door can help you find one.  Go to a class,  or to a workshop.  I would meet with a RKC-II trainer once a month or so.  She would teach me new exercises and give me a workouts to do until we met again.  Her gym is in Columbia, South Carolina  http://www.korewellness.com   but the best is that if you can prove you have met with a rkc trainer,  she will let you into her online training club where she sends you a new workout and video each day for $20/month.    I am doing to this as as I am on a crossfit hiatus.

  6. Deborahkwilson says

    Would you recommend me starting a kettleball workout at 11 wks pregnant? (5th baby) I am very fit. Have continued to run, weight train (I do p90x and Insanity by Beachbody) and do yoga. But I always hear to not start anything new while pregnant. Yet I’m getting bored with my routine… What do you think? I guess my concern would be the twists and turns.

    • says

      As long as you have done weight exercise up to this point,
      kettlebells shouldn’t be a problem during pregnancy. I’d stick with swings though… turkish get ups and snatches can be more difficult while pregnant and can irritate the round ligaments. I did swings up until delivery with my last pregnancy (4th) without any trouble and
      it was the easiest delivery so far.

  7. WildGrok says

    Hi WellnessMama!

    Here is a link with good prices in kettlebells and with free shipping.

    http://www.neptunebarbell.com/Kettlebell-Sets_c_104.html

    I bought there the set of 25 and 35, later bought the single of 55 (which rocks big time!) and I already had the 20 pound I had bought long time ago in Walmart.

    I am a big fan of kettlebells. In the gym at work we don’t have any (other than a sad couple of 15 and a 20), but I use dumbells as kettlebells there.

    Thanks for posting this nice article!

    WildGrok

  8. says

    What size kettle bell would you recommend for someone who is new to this?  New to strength training altogether… ;)  Also, are the above “swings” all that is needed?  (Along with the cardio that you talked about)

    • says

      Probably the 26 pound one would be a good starting point. All you’d have to do is just swings 2-3 times a week and that alone really
      would be enough, but the walking or hiking is just fun and healthy
      too :-)

  9. Morgan says

    I bought a 25 lb Kettlebell this weekend because of this post, and I thought it would help me fulfilf my ‘lift heavy things’ requirement.  I did the 75 swings last night for the first time, and I was surprised at how difficult it was.  I definitely had to rest after each 25.  I’m looking forward to doing more and getting stronger.   

  10. Steph says

    I would agree with Catherine that it is a good idea to get a good trainer to show you the exercises and check you form when you are getting started even if you just do one session to learn so you are activating the right muscles and don’t strain the wrong ones…..

  11. says

    Videos are great but they don’t give individual feedback.  If anyone wants to learn kettlebells from a certified trainer then check out Steve Cotter’s page the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation.  http://www.ikff.com they have a large list of certified teachers by country and state and you might find one in your area.

  12. Jenny P says

    I have a question.  Is it ok to do only the kettlebell workout?  Or is a kettlebell workout considered “cardio” only and I should do pushups, pullups, squats, plank as my “weights” workout? 

  13. Heidi Footman says

    I have not worked out for over a year and have been doing things to get back into a workout routine. I can’t run or do long bits of walking because of my poor ankle. My doctor recommended the kettlebell. What is the best start for someone who is just starting to work out again?

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