Kettlebells are essentially iron balls with handles that are used by exercise enthusiasts for building up their muscles. This study was conducted by the American Council of Exercise (ACE) to determine the energy spent and the intensity of exercise while using these kettlebells. Results showed that using kettlebells for a short period of time burnt a lot of calories and the exercise was very intensive. Researchers believe that using kettlebells in an exercise regimen uses muscles of the entire body and is thus more energy-spending than other forms of exercise in a shorter time-span.
Historially, kettlebells have been used by Russian body builders since the early 1700s. Because of their gaining popularity by muscle builders in American gyms, the American Council of Exercise (ACE) planned to examine the effectiveness of these devices in exercise. Some trainers have claimed that kettlebells, used for less than half an hour can work as much as half an hour each of treadmill walking and weight lifting. To examine the truth behind these claims, the ACE measured the total energy burned using kettlebells and determined the intensity of exercise.
* The study involved 10 participants of either sex between the ages of 29 and 46. Before recruitment into the study all volunteers had to undergo a basic exercise test where their stamina and exercise endurance was tested.
* According to sex, weight of the body, fitness and stamina, the volunteers were given 12, 16 or 20 kg weight of kettlebells for short bouts of five minutes. The exercise was predetermined and supervised.
* All volunteers were monitored for their heart rate, oxygen consumption and were also asked about their own perception regarding the exertion. Their blood was examined for levels of lactate that determines the level of exercise-induced fatigue.
* Results showed that participants burned an average of 272 calories after working out for 20 minutes with kettlebells.
* In total, the participants burned 20.2 calories per minute and authors suggest this is similar to a 6-mile fast walk or uphill skiing.
* The research suggests that the exercise is deemed to be intense and that is so because of the involvement of the whole body.
This study showed that kettlebells, when used for short bouts of high intensity exercise, provide high efficiency in terms of calorie burning. The response of heart rate and oxygen consumption using standard exercises does not differ from those experienced through the use of kettlebells. What is significantly different is the lesser amount of time that kettlebells require to burn an equal amount of energy. Kettlebells also improve aerobic exercise capacity and hence they may be recommended. One of the authors says, “For people who might not have a lot of time, and need to get in a good workout as quickly as possible, kettlebells definitely provide that.”
For More Information:
Fitness Benefits of Kettlebells
Publication Journal: ACE Fitness Matters, January/February 2010
By Chad Schnettler MS; John Porcari PhD; From the University of Wisconsin
*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.