Traditionally, women don’t lift weights as much as men do, and that’s a problem. Strength training, in addition to helping with weight loss as well as aerobic activity does, will also help you build up muscle and bone mass and can protect you from degenerative conditions like osteoporosis.
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Although working out with dumbbells and weightlifting equipment is certainly better than not lifting weights at all, there’s another, more efficient way to work out nearly every muscle in your body simultaneously: kettlebells.
Kettlebells let you lift more weight than you ever imagined possible and train all your muscles to work together in harmony, giving you a full-body workout that melts fat and gives you a tightly sculpted body.
They Won’t Make You Bulky
First off, weight training won’t make you look like the Hulk even if you use free weights or weight training equipment; women’s bodies simply don’t produce enough testosterone for it. (Huge Olympic weightlifters like Holley Mangold usually have unusual metabolisms, and Mangold herself has even said that more women would lift weights “if they just realized they’re not going to get as huge as I am.”)
Even if you’re terrified of getting huge when you first pick up that hefty kettlebell, though, you can relax. Penelope Cruz and Jennifer Aniston use kettlebells. No one’s ever going to accuse them of looking like the Hulk.
They Work Nearly All Of Your Muscles
Why use a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell? Because kettlebells make you adjust to a different center of gravity, working nearly all of your muscles at the same time. When you swing a dumbbell, you’re really only toning the muscles in your arms. When you swing a kettlebell, though, the kettlebell tries to pull your body along with it, forcing you to use your legs, butt, and core muscles to stabilize yourself.
This doesn’t just make you stronger and give you a sleek, toned look from head to toe – it’s also practical. When you bend down to pick up your child or carry heavy bags of groceries into the house, you use muscles throughout your body. Kettlebell training makes those day-to-day activities easier.
They Help Your Posture
Because kettlebells make your back, shoulders, and core stronger, they improve your posture, which can give you more energy and fewer back problems in addition to making you look more energetic and alert. Improved posture also helps to bring oxygen to your body because it gives your lungs enough room to expand.
They Help Your Lungs
A 2011 study compared female athletes who used kettlebells to female athletes who trained with free weights alone. It found that the women who used kettlebells had improved lung capacity. Tied in with the better posture, kettlebells are pretty much guaranteed to help you breathe easier, giving you the energy to do what you need during the day.
They Burn Fat
Muscles, posture, and lung capacity are great–but chances are that a big part of why you work out is to lose weight. Kettlebells help you out there, too, providing a cardiovascular workout to go along with the strength training.
Swinging that bell while trying to maintain your balance is tough work, and studies have shown that it can kick your heart rate up to the same range as running on a treadmill. This level of cardiovascular activity is a fantastic fat-burner. What’s more, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) funded a study on kettlebells that showed they could burn as much as 272 calories in 20 minutes. You’d need to jog for 41 minutes to get the same effect. It’s no wonder that ACE titled that study “Twice the Results in Half the Time.”