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Why women should train with kettlebells

Don’t Fear Bulking Up: Why Women Should Train With Kettlebells

Fear of bulking-up keeps most women out of the weight room. However, fear no more. Train with kettlebells and you can achieve the lean, athletic body you want, without fear of building a manly physique.

As a female Kettlebell Sport competitor, I wanted to share some of my knowledge with you ladies regarding strength, bells, workout sets, volume, and fear of getting “big”.

Let’s begin with my passion, kettlebells; I know so many women have a fear of “bulking up” or becoming too masculine. I have worked with this amazing tool for years, using both light bells, heavy bells and double bells.

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It’s important to share that I haven’t limited myself only to this fun shaped ball of iron. I also incorporate barbells, bulgarian bags, rowers, airdyne bike, and mace just to name a few.

Why Should Women Train with Kettlebells?

why-women-should-train-with-kettlebells

Reason #1: They Build Endurance and Burn An Insane Amount Of Calories

Kettlebells in my opinion are a great workout tool due to the nature and the type of workout you can get from them. They are better for work capacity and strength endurance vs. your typical gym classes, machines, barbells or dumbbells. I believe all women should train with kettlebells because of this.

Kettlebells with regards to strength, can help you make some incredible gains, but as far as reaching your maximum and optimal potential, I feel women should still train with other training tools like dumbbells and barbells.

Bells are great for ballistic movements such as the Swing, American swings and Squat Swings, which are way more demanding.These variations of the Kettlebell swing will jack your heart rate up, so you can go heavier with 5-10 reps at time and work both strength, power and cardio vascular endurance all at once.

Building work capacity regardless if you are competing or not, means to achieve the greatest volume in numbers (reps) while maintaining efficiency the entire duration of your work set. Strength endurance is the ability to work continuously incorporating one or multiple muscle groups.

Reason #2: They Help Women Get The Body They Want Without Bulking Up

Women should train with kettlebells because adding these two elements together creates a phenomenal total body workout. Working out like this allows you to move an insane amount of volume in a short period of time. 

This burns an insane amount of calories and conditions your body in such a way that you will build muscle, stay lean, move better, but not “bulk up.” What this translates to is a beautifully lean body for you female athletes; strong, sexy, and feminine! Just the way most women want to achieve.

I personally have trouble bulking up unless I do strictly strength work. I asked a good friend of mine Zach Even-Esh, one of the most knowledgeable old school strength coaches around, for some help in bulking up my legs a bit.

In addition to strengthening my legs to handle the heavier bell I had moved up too, I had a photo shoot I wanted him to prepare me for (me being a girl, its about legs and glutes!).

Zach gave me an amazing program, but reassured me that it would almost be impossible for me to bulk up too much due to the massive calorie burn of my Kettlebell training.

Benefits of kettlebell training for women

What size kettlebells should women train with?

I want to briefly mention the different types of kettlebells women should train with without going into too much detail. Competition bells are what I use. They are all the same size and shape regardless of the weight of the bell.

This is really important as it allows technique to stay the same as you move through your work-sets with different weights. Common kettlebells you find in most gyms are either all black or have a rubberized coating on them. In most cases they vary in size, as well as their handles. Some are thick, thin or a slightly different in shape.

These types of kettlebells do have their place, like in your standard local gym and are good for the average Joe (or Josephine) looking to train with kettlebells at the gym or at home. Even I was a bit intimidated when I first started using kettlebells, to say the least. I started with the 12kg and could hardly do 6 jerks with it.

A short month later, I was using a 20kg for my sets and then began to prepare for competition with a 24kg kettlebell. Again, one of the primary reasons women should train with kettlebells  is the overall effect it has on your body.

I get lots of complements on my shoulders and arms and how sculpted and toned they are. My backside is also higher, tighter and smaller!!! It also did not cause me to bulk up.

If you are not getting the results you want, are tried of endless cardio on the treadmill, you have to change what you are doing, period.  Don’t be afraid of using tools like kettlebells or using heavy weight. You’ll get the body you want quicker and will have a lot more fun.

This article originally appeared on Onnit Academy. Click here to read more articles like this.

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Donica Storino

Donica Storino

Donica is a kettlebell sport athlete and co-founder of Fizikel.com, a lifestyle and fitness company dedicated to helping individuals discover their ‘true self’ and to live better. Learn more about Donica and Kettlebell Sport at: Fizikel.com

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