Meet The Kettlebell

One thing great about outdoor fitness and bootcamp programs is that they’re pushing the envelope in comparison to traditional fitness. They’re exciting because they often expose their participants to a whole new world of fitness through introducing them to new movements and equipment they likely wouldn’t experience if left to their own devices in a gym. One of these pieces of equipment is the kettlebell, and it might just be your new best friend.

Odds are you’ve likely seen a kettlebell before, but just didn’t realize it. They often sit in the far corner of the gym surrounded by other pieces of equipment like heavy ropes and plyo boxes we’re a little too cautious to go for. They essentially look like a cannonball with a handle on it, and likewise you’d sooner be tempted to use it to knock down a castle than to get a workout in. But, they’re solid, heavy, and versatile, and that’s what makes them great for outdoor fitness.

This piece of equipment originated in Russia, and has since been used for traditional competitions, Russian strength training, U.S. Military conditioning, and now outdoor fitness and bootcamp programs. It’s clear the kettlebell has a pretty thorough history of fitness performance, and even now is making a resurgence back onto the scene. So, what’s behind all the hype?

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The key to the kettlebell is that it’s ideal for both killer weight training and quality cardio. It’s a prime piece of steel that gives its user the best of both worlds. You don’t have to choose between muscles or lungs, with a kettlebell, you get both!

Kettlebells are usually made from cast iron or steel, allowing them to pack on the pounds without taking up tons of space. The handle on top shifts its center of gravity outwards when you’re wielding it. This means a kettlebell manages to take a lot of weight and make it fairly maneuverable if you’ve got the necessary strength. The result is a combination of weight and mobility that merges the worlds of strength training and cardio.

In bootcamp and outdoor fitness programs, kettlebells are ideal because they’re easily transportable and versatile in their uses. For instance, during a relay style, bootcamp circuit, you might find one of the stations assigned to be a kettlebell swing. This is essentially a squat while holding the kettlebell and swinging it out and up to shoulder level simultaneous when exploding up from the squat position.

The result is strength work in the legs, mobility work in the shoulders and hips, and a healthy addition of cardio. That’s just one move! Kettlebells can be thrown, pushed, passed, pressed, and used for a whole host of other ranges of motion.

However, even though there’s tons of hype around them at the moment, they’re not an end all piece of equipment. You won’t be deadlifting 300 pounds after working strictly with kettlebells, but, if you’re after utilizing less for maximum results, they’re a must.

So next time you’re jumping into an outdoor fitness or bootcamp training program and you see that hunk of metal with a handle attached, don’t be afraid. Instead, get hyped! You’re in for a killer treat!

Nick Holland

The Outdoor Squad