All gyms have dumbbell racks, but a growing number of gyms are also including kettlebell racks as well due to the great benefits kettlebells provide. If you are fortunate enough to have one of these kettlebell racks in your gym then you have more choices to choose from when working out.
But are all exercises equal when comparing kettlebells vs dumbbells for building muscle?
The truth is, that one clearly triumphs over the other when it comes to building muscle.
I’m sure you know what dumbbells are and what they’re used for, but you may be not be too familiar with kettlebells since they are a relatively new fitness tool compared to dumbbells.
What is a Kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a cast iron weight in the shape of a ball with a handle on top. Kettlebells are primarily used for a type of weight training called ballistic training. Ballistic training’s main benefits are that they combine cardio and flexibility with strength. They’ve become popular in recent years due to the unique training combination they provide. Many gyms across the world have been introducing kettlebells and kettlebell classes in their gyms.
Kettlebell workouts are momentum based and target a wide variety of muscle groups. Many of the exercises that utilize kettlebells create a pulling effect on muscle groups that strengthen tendons and ligaments which help prevent injury.
Kettlebells Vs. Dumbbells – Which are Better for Building Muscle?
The truth is, when you compare both of these types of exercise equipment you are really comparing apples to oranges. Kettlebells and dumbbells are completely different. They both are meant to do different things.
When it comes down to building muscle, dumbbells win by a mile. A study done by California State University split participants into 2 groups. The groups were people who worked out with kettlebells and people who worked out with free weights. The study found that after only 6 weeks of training, the group that worked out with free weights were able to squat an average of 18 pounds more than the group that worked out with kettlebells. The study also found similar results in upper body strength as well.
So if you’re looking to focus primarily on strength training and building lean muscle mass you should stick with dumbbells.
What are Kettlebells Good For?
While Kettlebells aren’t so great at helping you pack on lean muscle mass, they do have their uses. Kettlebells are great if you are looking to cut back some body fat.
Kettlebells are used primarily for aerobic exercises. These aerobic exercises such as the classic kettlebell swing and around the world not only work your upper body, but also work your hips and lower body as well. The reason why kettlebell exercises are excellent for aerobic exercise is that the consistent range of motion that occurs allows for easy and seamless switching for sets.
Kettlebell aerobic workouts are one of the best aerobic workouts you can do if you do them right. In fact, a 20 minute kettlebell workout can burn off a whopping 400 calories. That intensity is equivalent to running a 6 minute mile! Not only does a kettlebell workout give you an insanely good aerobic workout for burning fat, but you also can put on a little extra muscle mass when doing regular kettlebell workouts.
While you won’t get buff from kettlebell workouts, it is a good idea to include a regular workout with kettlebells if you’re in your cutting phase of your muscle building routine.
Isn’t it time that you grab a kettlebell and start swinging?