Do Kettlebells Improve Cardio?





Do Kettlebells Improve Cardio?

Do Kettlebells Improve Cardio?

Kettle-bells have a number of benefits, they can help you to burn fat, build muscle, and tone up. But do kettle-bells improve cardio? In this article, we will try to find out.

What Are Kettle-bells?

A kettle-bell is a cast iron weight that is shaped like a ball with a handle (sort of like a tea kettle). They were first made in Russia as a form of weight/measurement device in the 18th century. In the 19th century they were used by Circus performers for feats of strength, and gradually became part of strength routines for ordinary Russians.

Kettle-bells were pretty much unheard of in the West until Pavel Tsatsouline brought them with him in the 90s. Today, kettle-bells are more popular than ever, and you will find them in gyms across the globe.

Benefits of Kettle-bells

Before we talk about whether kettle-bells improve cardio, we thought it would be a good idea to discuss some known benefits of using them.

  • Kettle-bells Can Increase Testosterone: Studies have shown that kettle-bell swings can boost both testosterone and growth hormone in men. More so than many other exercises.
  • Kettle-bells Can Strengthen Your Abs: Almost every single kettle-bell exercise will target your core muscles. Kettle-bell exercises such as the Turkish Get Up are amazing at strengthening the abs.
  • Kettle-bells Are Ideal for Home Workouts: They take up almost no space whatsoever, can be used in tight spaces, and are basically indestructible. Purchasing a kettle-bell is a great long-term option for your home gym.
  • Kettle-bells Burn Loads of Calories: Obviously, an exercise is only as effective as the effort you put in. But kettle-bell workouts are consistently seen as the biggest calorie burners.
  • Kettle-bells Can Boost Your Strength: Kettle-bells are excellent at increasing strength, they require powerful, dynamic movements, and many of the exercises will target multiple muscles.
  • Kettle-bells Can Work Your Whole Body: You can create a full-body workout with just one kettle-bell. You can use the kettle-bell for raised push ups (chest), for shoulder presses, for single-arm rows (back), you can perform kettle-bell squats, Romanian dead-lifts, walking lunges. Turkish get ups will work your abs. Kettle-bell swings and dead-lifts will target the lower back. Most of these exercises will also work your biceps and triceps.

Do Kettle-bells Improve Cardio?

To answer this question, the first thing we need to do is define what cardio is. Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of your heart and lungs to supply blood and oxygen to your muscles, allowing you to move.

You can improve your cardiovascular fitness by putting your heart and lungs through exercises that test your abilities. Running faster, cycling for longer, exercising at a higher intensity.

For some reason, the idea that cardiovascular fitness can only be achieved by certain exercises (as opposed to all exercises) is ingrained in us. Running is described as “cardio”, but barbell squats are not. But 5 heavy barbell squats will work your cardiovascular system. 50 heavy barbell squats would work it even more!

Your muscles still require oxygen, and your heart and lungs will have to step up their game to meet that demand. So weightlifting is a cardiovascular exercise.

Which means that kettle-bells can improve your cardio. Obviously, ten heavy kettle-bell swings are not going to improve your marathon run times. It’s a different form of cardio.

Finding the Right Kettle-bell For You




First off, please don’t waste your money on those plastic kettle-bells. Yes, they are a lot cheaper. But they are also badly designed, fragile, and will breakdown within a few hours of use. Plastic kettle-bells are often shaped to be wider at the bottom. This really ruins how the kettle-bell travels through the air and can make many exercises almost impossible to perform correctly.

Finding the correct weight for your needs is also important. A kettle-bell that is good for swinging and dead-lifts is not going to be good for shoulder presses or clean and jerks. Decide which exercises you are going to prioritize and get the kettle-bell that suits them. Alternatively, you can get a few different weights. Obviously, this comes down to your budget.

Do Kettlebells Improve Cardio?

Kettle-bell Cardio Workout

For this workout, you will require one medium-heavy kettle-bell. In a perfect world, you’d have several different kettle-bell weights. But we’re aware that they can be expensive (though will last you forever). The lighter the kettle-bell, the easier this workout will be. If you find that your kettle-bell is too light, then increase the reps. If you find that the kettle-bell is too heavy, then lower the reps.

Session One

  • KB Swings 5 x 10 reps
  • KB Romanian Dead-lifts 3 x 12 reps
  • KB Step Ups 3 x 10 reps (each leg)
  • KB Cleans 3 x 10 reps (each arm)
  • KB Clean & Jerks 3 x 10 reps (each arm)

Session Two

  • KB Goblet Squats 3 x 10 reps
  • KB Dead-lifts 3 x 10 reps
  • KB Lunges 2 x 10 reps (each leg)
  • Push Ups 3 x 10-15 reps
  • Bent Over KB Row 3 x 10 reps (each arm)

Session Three

  • KB Swings 5 x 10 reps
  • KB Romanian Dead-lifts 3 x 12 reps
  • KB Step Ups 3 x 10 reps (each leg)
  • KB Cleans 3 x 10 reps (each arm)
  • KB Clean & Jerks 3 x 10 reps (each arm)

Session Four

  • KB Goblet Squats 3 x 10 reps
  • KB Dead-lifts 3 x 10 reps
  • KB Lunges 2 x 10 reps (each leg)
  • Push Ups 3 x 10-15 reps
  • Bent Over KB Row 3 x 10 reps (each arm)

Final Thoughts

Do kettle-bells improve cardio? Yes, any form of exercise is cardiovascular. However, kettle-bells can also improve your cardiovascular fitness for certain sports. A kettle-bell workout could be created to increase your endurance for long runs, or it could be used to increase your anaerobic fitness. Which could help with sprinting etc …

The main benefits of kettle-bells are to improve your strength and conditioning, with cardio as a third benefit. This form of exercise has been underrated for too long! Kettle-bells are efficient, excellent value for money, and they will deliver a better workout than treadmills, exercise bikes, or cardio DVD workouts.

Do Kettlebells Improve Cardio?

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