Kettlebells have quickly become my closest friends. For years I have dabbled in and out of various forms of weight lifting and training and never found one that could keep my attention for very long. A few years back I found a kettlebell at a gym I visited and had the instructor show me what it was for. Initially I was just impressed that it was a unique piece of equipment that I could work myself. I have always been a fan of simple workouts, bodyweight strength training, and old-school methods of gaining functional strength. Kettlebells fit into my routine perfectly.
As far as my own fitness story, it didn’t take me long to realize that I didn’t have the right genetics, nor the dedication to become a bodybuilder. This never held me back however from wanting to be strong. As I learned more about health and fitness, I revised my goals and ideas about what I thought true strength was and what I could become. Quickly strength became a measure of functional, real life fitness and much less how beefy one could look in a unitard.
Two things have been my biggest hindrance when it comes to staying fit. Those two things are both time and space. Being a dad to a young child with another one on the way doesn’t leave me a lot of time to spend hanging out in a gym, or even sneaking away for pumping iron in the garage. Given that weights are really only one small part of a fitness program, either my strength training, or my cardio was always lagging behind.
I found the kettlebells were the solution to my problem. With kettlebells you have something that not only addresses strength training, but uses a variety of functional movements that increase your cardiovascular strength as well. In as little as 20 minutes you can have a full body workout done, and out of the way so you can focus on what matters most and that is being a parent.
When I first decided to pick up a kettlebell I wasn’t sure what size to start with. There are endless amounts of resources on the internet and after a little research I decided on getting the one pood (36lb) size. For years I was lifting dumbbells considerably larger than this, but when you swing a kettlebell you aren’t lifting a dumbbell. You will be surprised how heavy it is at first. For an average guy, 36 pounds is a pretty good place to start. It’s worth getting a little guidance at first to get the movements correct so you don’t injure yourself, but again there are many resources online if you are unable to procure a trainer.
One of the resources that I have found through my searches was onnit.com. In addition to a wealth of information, video routines, and products, they also offered a line of kettlebells. The ones that really stuck out to me where the primal bells. A little bit more expsensive than a plain kettlebell, but these bells are works of art made to inspire. It seems silly, but seeing the primate faces staring back at me on these bells allow me to mentally tap into a primal strength that we all have as humans.
When I got my first kettlebell I thought for sure I made a mistake and got one that was too light. After going through a short 20 minute routine though, I was practically begging for one even smaller. I was more exhausted than I had ever been before from a work out and felt soreness and muscles I didn’t even know I had. I noted that the movements were extremely functional and many times thought how similar picking up a kettlebell was to picking up a crying child or a car seat. This was definitely functional strength and added to the motivation.
A kettlebell doesn’t take up much space and you really only need one. When it comes to continuing training you can either move up a size, or increase your reps. The thing that impressed me the most, and a noted the benefit of kettlebell training, is how quickly you can increase in size of the kettlebell and strength. Finally, I was seeing progress, real physical progress!
Generally moving up in “half pood” size increments, once I purchased the 54 pound kettlebell I thought that I must have lost my mind. In a matter of no time it had quickly replaced my smaller size for almost every movement and I was on to be 2 pood (72lb) for almost every movement again. I must say that I am glad to have the three different sizes of kettlebells however because I still use all of them. For moves like the “Turkish get up” I generally use the smaller size, for heavy compound movements I frequently use the two pood. Kettlebells can become whatever you need them to be. They can assist in your physical strength, they can increase your cardiovascular health, and they can be the perfect stress relief.
Onnit makes extremely high-quality kettlebells that are perfectly balanced with a nice large grip which also helps with your own grip strength. There are no seams and they are made into one piece of cast iron. I keep my kettlebells on display like artwork when I am not using them, and expect them to last a lifetime of use.
Snag some of your own primal bells here: https://www.onnit.com/primal-bells/
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Check ONNIT out at: https://www.onnit.com