Why a Kettlebell is the Best Home Workout for Moms

Why kettlebells are the most effective home wokrouts for moms

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 improving your fitness, from gyms and weights, running, swimming, and numerous others.

Since I have approximately zero hours of free time to drive to a gym, get dressed, work out, take a 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 Fitness Routine

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.’

Kettlebell Benefits:

  • The kettlebell develops all purpose strength
  • Blends strength with flexibility
  • Hacks the fat off
  • Improves physique
  • Get strong anywhere, anytime- it’s 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″

Are Kettlebells the Best Exercise?

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 cross country skiing up hill at a fast pace.

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

Tim 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 these basic ones, 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 and 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

More Workouts to Try

Andrea DuCane, master kettlebell trainer who writes at Kettlebell Fitness recommends these additional workouts.

Beginner/Intermediate Workout

Round 1: Swing (your choice, 2-handed, 1-arm, alternating or doubles)

Swing for 30 seconds, Rest for 30 seconds

Back to swings for 30 seconds, Rest for 25 seconds

Finally, swing for 30 seconds, Rest for only 20 seconds

Start back at beginning and repeat as many times as you can. Add more rest if you are not as conditioned, keeping at :30 rest the entire time. Build up to 10 min. (or more!)

Round 2: Plank for :30, followed by overhead carry :30  repeat over side.

Start with the plank and end with the plank so you get 3 sets of planks with one :30 carry each arm. If you feel it’s not enough just add another set.

Advanced Workout

must be experienced with Kettlebell cleans:

Round 1: Long cycle clean and press (can do with doubles, do one round and rest), ladder: 1-5, change arms. Note; long cycle means you clean before every press. If you have time repeat 1-2 more times. If this is easy, you have too light of a Kettlebell.

REST 30 seconds-1:00 min (depends of time and fitness level)

Round 2: Long cycle clean and squat (same as above)

Very Fast Workout

Double Kettlebell Front Squats

3 sets of 5, or 4 sets of 4

Give yourself enough rest between sets about a 1-2 min.

Double Kettlebell Presses

3 sets of 4-6 (best to do less reps with heavier weight, but you it feels easy for you with the kettlebells you have do an extra rep per set.

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

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Reader Comments

  1. 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. I love my Kettlebell…but I need to use it daily!

    • 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

      • 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. Maybe I can scrape up some funds this week to buy a kettlebell.  🙂

    • If not, you can make do with a dumbbell, or a jug of water, but they definitely aren’t as hard of a workout

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. I love kettlebell swings!  Sometimes they tweak my back so I will have to check my form.  Thanks for posting the video so I can check what I am doing. 🙂

  10. 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)

    • 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 🙂

  11. 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.   

  12. 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…..

  13. 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.

  14. 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? 

    • It actually counts for both. I know people who train exclusively with kettlebells and are in great shape.

  15. Do you need two kettlebells of the same weight? Or just one?

  16. 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?

  17. I’m new to this, trying to get my thighs down, I’m about to order the keetlebell hope this works, need to loss my butt, thighs and side’s.

  18. I was watching the video, and it seems to me that this position isn’t a good one for a woman. I can’t remember all the info since it was my Mum who looked into it, but I’m sure you know that a woman’s body is more delicate than a man’s esp. on account of the reproductive organs, and leaning over like in this exercise can lead to severe problems of the back and internal organs.

    • Hello I was thinking the same thing and have to agree! I am 45 yrs old and worked out all my life but its taken a toll on me. I use proper from and have had back issues due to heavy weights etc…this video made me cringe and think man shes about to blow out her back and discs! I have disc issues and these are NOT recommended with back trouble and internal organs….I bleed when over exerted! Women are NOT men and these power lifters at some point will have a hard time when they are old. We lose naturally might i add, muscle strength each year as we get older so good luck keeping up once you’ve built that muscle! Cellulite would be a walk in the park compared to not walking because of the inflammation you caused yourself by years of these exercises. Show me in 10 years or 20 what a women will look like by doing these…can she keep up and guarantee she has back issues and pulled nerves in vagina area as well! Its NO fun having issues as you get older..its just better to find a new exercise that is easier on women.

      • If you are doing the swing correctly, you are breaking over at the hips and your back doesn’t hurt. When I first started, I didn’t keep my back straight and it did put some muscle pain in my lower back and in my hips too actually. Then I watched a video several times and you just stick your booty out instead of bending and it works great! I’ve had no back trouble since then, and I’m a 58 year old woman just beginning kettlebells. I have done 300 swings, 5 days a week for a month now with no problems.

  19. I’m sorry, new to the subject!
    Which one should I buy just to start??
    I found some online but I really don’t know which one to pick!