A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that kettlebell workouts can raise your heart rate enough to count as cardio.
The researchers had the participants of the study complete two workouts on different days: a 30-minute kettlebell session and half an hour of moderate-intensity walking on a treadmill.
For the kettlebell workouts, they did three sets of 10 of two-handed kettlebell swings followed by 10 kettlebell sumo deadlifts. Each set lasted for 10 minutes, with a 3 minute seated rest. The women in the study used 11-kilogram kettlebells, with an option to drop to 8-kilogram.
But before the kettlebell workout, the participants learnt proper form and technique of holding the kettlebell, which is vital for avoiding back and neck injury. When squatting, it’s important to drive the kettlebell through the hips, keeping the spine straight, elongating their arms, and puffing out the chest.
The final outcome? The two workouts resulted in similar calorie burn and oxygen uptake high enough to meet the recommendations for aerobic fitness, but the participants achieved a higher heart rate during the kettlebell workout.
This suggests potential for big-time cardio gains, along with the obvious improvements in strength, the scientists say.
Another bonus: Kettlebell workouts are lower impact than other aerobic options, like running or jumping rope, and if they burn just as much calories, they could be treated as a successful alternative.
Do you include kettlebell workouts in your training? What’s your favourite kettlebell exercise?