Life’s busyness can often get in the way of maintaining an active lifestyle. Work duties, family obligations, or social obligations sometimes prevent you from going to the gym, no matter how motivated you feel. As a result, having a home gym is beneficial for achieving your fitness goals.
In the process of designing your home gym, it’s important that you take the time to consider your fitness needs and the type of equipment that can help you achieve these goals. If you like to practice cardio exercise, a treadmill, a bike or an elliptical machine can be a great addition to your personal gym.
But if you plan to get weights, it can be difficult to decide between kettlebells and dumbbells. Both are excellent pieces of equipment for working out complex muscle groups and getting the beautifully toned body you’ve always desired. They’ve been used to grow muscles for a long time and come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s see which of the two is more advantageous for you.
Benefits of Kettlebells
Do kettlebells work the same as dumbbells? If you ask yourself this important question, the bottom line is that kettlebell exercises offer pretty much the same benefits that dumbbell training does. Both help correct imbalances, strengthen muscles, and make you stronger so you can lift heavier weights. Still, some individuals prefer a kettlebell over a dumbbell, and vice-versa. And for that, you need to understand what’s so appealing about them.
More Value for Your Money
Whether you’re short on time and need a full-body workout in just a few minutes, or are short on space and need a type of weight that can help you accomplish different tasks, kettlebells can be the solution to your dilemma. These cannonball-shaped weights were designed by Russian strongmen to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance all at the same time. The versatility makes them popular among the bodybuilding and CrossFit communities.
According to research, one can burn as many calories during a 20-minute kettlebell workout including swings and snatches as they can running a 4.5minute per kilometre pace for the same amount of time. Kettle training also allows you to get a full-body workout as many of the moves require you to use your upper and lower body at the same time.
When you invest in kettlebells, you also get the added benefit of resistance training as you’re lifting heavyweights. Moves like the cleans or swing also help you develop flexibility and balance. Although dumbbells can also be used for metabolic conditioning, their design makes it a little more challenging to do some of the moves you can do with a kettlebell.
Increased Grip Strength
If you’ve held a kettlebell handle, you probably noticed it’s thicker than a dumbbell or barbell. This extra thickness makes it a little more challenging for you to hold onto as you perform your moves. When you constantly challenge yourself at something, you get better at it over time.
The knurling you find on some dumbbells is great for when you want to complete a rep without dropping anything. However, when it comes to improving your grip, you need something that won’t do half the work for you. Just keep in mind that the lack of good grip on your kettlebell handle could cause it to slip from your hands and fly across your gym. So, unless you’re too confident in your grip, don’t swing your kettlebell close to anything fragile.
A number of exercises are considered a form of functional training. For example, deadlifts teach you how to lift heavy objects properly while squats train the muscles you use to sit up and down every day. A kettlebell also has real-world applications – it could teach proper lifting mechanics for objects like bags, suitcases, buckets, etc.
Moreover, kettlebell swings address lower-body extension, scapular retraction, core stabilization and shoulder flexing – all movements you use throughout the day and in the gym. Kettlebell swings also hit all the muscles in the posterior chain including your hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae and calves. A strong posterior chain leads to better posture and improved athletic performance, and increases your explosiveness during dynamic movements.
Benefits of Dumbbells
Dumbbells are often used for growing biceps, but this is only part of what you can experience with them. Dumbbells can be used for cardio training by grabbing the heaviest pair you can find and doing farmer’s walks as well as for lower-body training by doing lunges. But the benefits of dumbbells don’t stop here.
Workout for Your Muscles and Stability
Dumbbells are often the equipment of choice for isolation exercises or moves that target a specific muscle group. However, dumbbell exercises are also a great way to work different parts of the body at once. Dumbbell chest presses are known to recruit more muscles than the standard barbell bench press.
This means more muscle fibres are activated when doing a dumbbell chest press, which leads to more muscle. When you use dumbbells to pinpoint weak areas in your arms, you also help strengthen your stabilizer muscles. Stronger stabilizer muscles mean you’ll be able to hold heavier weights for longer periods of time.
Reduced Injury Risk
When you don’t use a piece of equipment properly, you can get injured. Training with dumbbells can reduce your injury risk. When you struggle to get the weight up with a barbell in a bench press, there’s a risk of dropping it on yourself, which could lead to serious injury.
With a dumbbell chest press, you don’t hold the weights directly over your chest or face, so if you can’t finish the rep, you can drop them and they’ll fall to the ground next to you. They’re also simpler to hold due to the thinner handle which means you’re less likely to toss them around the gym. Considering the fact that dumbbell exercises also strengthen our muscles and reduce imbalances, like having one bicep bigger or stronger than the other, this also helps reduce your overall injury risk.
As you can see, there’s plenty you can do with both, and your choice will depend on what you feel more comfortable with. Consider trying out both to find out which one better fits your needs. A few weeks of training with one or another is enough to see which gets you better results.