Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells for Women

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When it comes to lifting logs or rocks, there may not be much difference, but with basic gym equipment, it’s a different story.

Based upon sales and usage statistics, women seem to prefer kettlebells to dumbbells both for home workouts and at the gym. But there’s more to selecting equipment than a popularity contest.

The decision between exercising with kettlebells or dumbbells should really depend on what you want out of your exercises. There are differences between the two devices, so let’s look at them more closely.

Dumbbells are free weights that have been around seemingly forever—at least since the days of Ancient Greece. They typically come in pairs to be gripped, one in each hand, but they can be used individually or in tandem. Fixed dumbbells are of a specific weight, while adjustable ones allow weight to be added or subtracted at will. Among specific benefits, when dumbbells are used:

    • Builds toned muscles
    • Develops strength
    • Works one muscle group at a time

By comparison, kettlebells are a more modern type of free weight, first introduced in Russia in the 18th century. They look like cannonballs with handles attached. Available only in fixed sizes, they are designed to be gripped by one or both hands and their shape facilitates a swinging motion. Some of their benefits include:

    • Builds toned muscles
    • Develops strength
    • Works more than one muscle group at a time
    • Stimulates cardiovascular activity
    • Burns calories at a high rate

Because kettlebells work multiple muscle groups at once, they are well suited to a total body workout. Even a short routine of 20 minutes or so will build stamina, burn calories and improve overall fitness.

Dumbbells do not offer the same benefits. Although they are somewhat easier to use, requiring less coordination, to get the same total body workout, weight and strength training needs to be supplemented by aerobic exercise.

Many users of kettlebells who have switched from dumbbells report that the new routines are more fun. They enjoy the dynamic movement and the swinging action. On the other hand, trainers are quick to point out that correct form is important. The kettlebell motion puts an extra load on the spine, which can lead to injury if not performed properly.

For women who must make an either/or choice, the verdict is trending toward kettlebells. Of course, a mix of exercise routines using both types of free weights is optimal. The main thing is to stay safe with the equipment while getting in a good workout.

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Pat Cavemen

PAT is the clueless flirt. Hey, every tribe needs one, right? She also enjoys swimming, fishing, eating and taking long romantic walks on the prehistoric beach.

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