Building Muscle with Kettlebells
Can You Build Muscle Using Kettlebells?
Kettlebells are like the Swiss army knives of training gear. With one tool you can complete a myriad of different exercises that exceeds the number you can do with dumbbells or barbells. You can also work all elements of fitness at once, strength, speed, cardio and flexibility. They really are an essential element to any fitness routine. As a personal trainer in Brighton i've used kettlebells to boost people of low fitness to new levels and seen the resulting gains in muscle.
However when people think of kettlebells they don’t automatically think of using them to gain muscle. This however is a mistake.
Like the old phrase says ‘it isn’t what you got it’s how you use it!’
Kettlebells after all said and done are just a weight with the handle in a different location (which in itself opens up an array of different exercises). Building muscle with kettlebells can be done just as easily as with regular weights. In fact kettlebells offer some distinct advantages to the goal of muscle building. This isn’t to say there aren’t some negative points too but I’ll address these as we go along.
Some Points of building Muscle with Kettlebells.
1.Kettlebells keep constant tension on the muscle throughout many lifts. Keeping tension on the selected muscle is a central tenet of bodybuilding and hypertrophy. Kettlebells do this during the curl, press, chest fly and shoulder press. The kettlebell during these movements as it is constantly hanging on the back of the forearm keeps the targeted muscle under load, much in the same way a cable would but with the added stimulus of being a free-weight. During my personal training sessions i'll often use kettlebells rather than dumbbells to keep that tension on the client. With a dumbbell the weight at the top of these movements drops off as the weight is raised perpendicular to ground. The kettlebell keeps pulling on the muscle so there is no rest point and full complete range can be completed.
Try a set of curls or chest-flys with dumbbells then give it a go with kettlebells of the same weight. You’ll feel a pump and burn like you’ve never experienced.
2-Because of the unusual shape, kettlebells can be used for a variety of other lifts ranging from the triple crush, crucifix to hot potato to name just a few! Which will keep your muscles growing from new and unusual angles.
Swings are obviously the central movement and can only really be conducted well with a kettlebell. Swings are great for hamstring development. Hit a heavy set of high rep swings and superset with one leg deadlifts and your hamstrings will be screaming murder!
3- One of drawbacks of using kettlebells is that you need to have access to a good set of them to start packing on the muscle. Another key tenet of building muscle is the aspect of progression. Without progression and increase in weight session by session; building muscle can slow to a stop. You can initially get around this by focusing on slowing down both the concentric (lifting phase) and negative (lowering phase) aspects of your lifts right down.
This will fatigue the muscle deeply and will work for a while,but a decent set of kettlebells is always worth investing in. They will be with you for life.
4-One of the most important factors why kettlebells can be great for building muscle is that they can always be with you at home. There is zero excuse not to train (unless of course your sick/dead). A key factor in putting on muscle is consistency. Inconsistent heavy work in the gym is no match for consistent hard work daily at home with kettlebells. You’ll also save time. As soon as you get back from work you can pick up the bells and release the stress of the day.
So the take home is this. Kettlebells can be either an awesome addition to a standard gym training routine, or a decent standalone method for building muscle at home. However consider investing in a decent number of them to keep your gains coming!
If you’ve liked this article if you can click the Facebook like button below that’d be great! Check out the other articles in the Blog section too. Until next time stay strong.Sam.