Kettlebells – Foundational Fitness or Flash in the Pan?

There is a whole universe of ‘functional fitness’ gear out there. Our partner Onnit along with Rouge Fitness and some others have a wide variety of the latest functional equipment. Fitness experts and Instagram influencers alike can be seen using battle ropes, slam balls, sandbags, steel maces, and kettlebells. The Crossfit movement has also been huge in bringing ‘functional fitness’ to the forefront. Today at least some of this non-traditional equipment is a staple for any gym.

Today, we’ll focus in on the Kettlebell – probably the most versatile and approachable functional fitness tool of them all. Many gyms have them in a variety of weights which allows for variety in the types of exercises you can perform.

Before grabbing the intimidating anvil-looking weight let’s learn a bit more…

History Behind Kettlebells

Text Book of Weight Lifting

The Text Book of Weight Lifting by Arthur Saxon (source Wikipedia)

Despite the recent popularity, kettlebells are not new – in fact, they are ancient. Origins of the kettlebell can be traced from Circus Strongman to 18th Century Russia to Ancient Greece. If the fitness bros throughout different regions and eras got swole and made gainz with them, we certainly should be using them, right?

Kettlebells have hit the mainstream as of the past 5 years or so and are now in most gyms, especially ones on the cutting edge of the fitness industry.

Why Kettlebells and How To Start

Kettlebells are the swiss army knives of gym equipment. Depending on the weight, they can be used for a high-intensity cardio session or to build strength, especially in the Posterior Chain. A main draw of the kettlebell is sequencing exercises together in rapid succession, creating a total body workout only limited by one’s imagination.  With any activity, we encourage you to do your homework, start slow and remember to recover!

All fitness activities can come with some level of risk, but with kettlebells, when learned properly, can offer some of the safest, and best overall workouts around. A few common mistakes can lead to injury if not addressed, so start with the basics. Injuries are a product of improper technique, overexertion and going too heavy. Again, start slow…develop one new kettlebell movement at a time and master the movement before adding on weight and additional reps. Once you have it mastered, get creative and link your newly mastered moves together to blast fat and get the blood pumping.  

Our Favorite Kettlebell Routines

We especially LOVE the exercises that @primal.swoledier, @jtm_fit, @bjgaddour, and @francheskafit post for free on Instagram. There is no shortage of kettlebell workouts available online. Start with the basics and go from there. Sprinkle in some variety and increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the kettlebell. Try it out and hit the comment section with your feedback or your favorite kettlebell workout. We’ll be back with additional posts on the other functional fitness equipment mentioned above.

Now that you’ve got the basics, try the challenge! 

Third Coast Kettlebell Challenge

Pick a weight that works for you, even if its a little lighter than you think to start.

Perform 8-10 reps of each workout below (see youtube link) and repeat 3 times

**Challenge yourself by timing the workout and beating that time during your next workout*


  1. Goblet Squat
  2. Two Arm Kettlebell Swing 
  3. One Arm Swing
  4. Lunge
  5. Farmer’s Carry