Ditch the Gym and Work Out at Home
There’s a huge misconception that in order to get a full-body workout you need a home gym machine or a gym membership. While a gym membership is more reasonably priced, it still requires you to leave the comfort of your home. Also, when factoring in traveling, it’s not always easy to find the time to commit to a regular exercise routine.
A home gym machine will solve that problem but also creates other issues. The most obvious is the cost. Even the most basic of these machines will likely run you at least a few hundred dollars. Take it a step further with a name brand or deluxe set up and you’re talking thousands!
Then, of course, there’s the problem of space. These bulky pieces of equipment leave a large footprint and will take up precious space in your home. Between the price and space used, it might start feeling like an obligation to work out rather than a personal goal. Thankfully, there’s an affordable and compact solution.
The Kettlebell - The Smallest Home Gym
Searching for minimalist home gym will likely yield results of clever do-it-yourselfer’s cramming various fitness equipment into tight spaces. It never ceases to amaze me the creativity that some people are able to come up with in such projects. However, I rarely see any of these home gyms featuring kettlebells.
There’s no mistaking a kettlebell. Its unique shape resembles that of a cannonball with a handle attached. There are different styles and brands of kettlebells but they are typically made from either cast iron or steel. Sizes range from 5 lbs (2 kg) all the way to 200+ lbs (90 kg). Although, unlike other weights, how light a kettlebell feels when picked up is quite deceptive when evaluating fatigue after an intense workout session.
So what makes kettlebells so special? Why haven’t they gotten more exposure over the years? These are great questions. I think that part of the reason is that people just won’t believe or realize the many benefits they offer until they try them. I’m not talking about just giving them a whirl for one workout. Rather, give it a solid month and it should become clear.
What’s that you say? There’s no way one piece of equipment can work every single muscle in the body? It’s not fiction or even exaggeration, it’s a fact! Take for instance this article from Tracy Reifkind on Bodybuilding.com. She’s an acclaimed kettlebell instructor and author who completely transformed her body with just ONE kettlebell exercise, the swing.
In fact there’s a lot of parallel’s between Tracy’s story and my story. We both were at one point severely overweight. Needing a change, we both chose the kettlebell as our tool to help burn fat. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a bonus side effect to my kettlebell weight loss journey was that I was building muscle at the same time. Actually, I don’t think it is possible to just lose weight and not build muscle when working out with kettlebells!
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you must have a similar story to tracy’s or mine to reap the many benefits of kettlebell training. In my year-plus of using kettlebells I’ve come across so many other stories of people who have successfully gained strength, toned their body, and even rehabbed nagging injuries. Below are just a few of these stories that I covered in my various blog posts.
Cyclist Rehabs Injury
Shoulder, Back & Knee Rehab
Strength & Flexibility
Kettlebell Windmill Improves Flexibility
Strengthen Core Muscles
Balance, Dexterity & Stability
Improving Balance For Runners
Dexterity Kettlebell Workout
I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the potential benefits that kettlebell workouts offer. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the kettlebell when used properly. While the effects of kettlebell exercises have on your body should be the primary concern, it’s hard to ignore the intangible aspects.
The World Is Your Workout Space
I’ve already mentioned just how relatively small a kettlebell is compared to other home gym equipment. You can use it just about anywhere you have clearance from outstretched arms. Want to work out in the living room? No problem. Perhaps a spare bedroom? Hey, that’s what I do! You can easily have privacy if you so desire.
Since kettlebells are so portable, why limit yourself to an indoor home gym? Take them outside for a refreshing workout in your back yard. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring them along for a hike. You might get some weird looks but it’s a great way to challenge yourself even further.
Going on vacation or holiday? There’s no excuse for interrupting your workout schedule. You can easily fit several kettlebells in the trunk of your car. Who knows, maybe you can even convince some friends and family to exercise along with you! Not just a space-saving home gym, kettlebells are the best fitness tool to use on the go.
A Fitness Community Unlike Any Other
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete or novice, fit or overweight, young or old – everyone is united by one goal. The desire for self-improvement. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with people from all walks of life that are kettlebell enthusiasts and trainers. Everyone is excited about their accomplishments and eager to help others. You won’t find many egotistical members with holier-than-thou attitudes.
In the rare case that a negative person does cause a problem in the online kettlebell communities, they are quickly reminded of the proper etiquette that is expected. This includes limiting feedback and excessive critique on technique and form of beginner kettlebell users. Everyone is there to learn and even the most seasoned of kettlebell veterans will say as much. In all honesty, I’ve rarely encountered this sort of behavior. People just seem to be in a generally good and happy mood because of their fitness success!
Beginning Your Kettlebell Training
So now that I’ve answered the why and how kettlebells are a good solution for a home gym, it’s time I go over the what and where. Specifically where to buy kettlebells and what size should you start with. It can be confusing as suggestions online always seem to target the average person. But what exactly does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine.
Start With a Cast Iron Kettlebell
A cast iron or traditional kettlebell offers a couple of advantages over steel or competition kettlebells when it comes to newcomers. For one, the price for cast iron kettlebells is a lot cheaper than competition kettlebells of equal weight. In some cases up to half the amount for the same weight.
Secondly, competition kettlebells are uniform in size. It makes no difference if it weighs 18 pounds or 100 pounds. This is important for athletes and serious lifters so that the kettlebell always rests in the same position when in use. Compare that to cast iron kettlebells which vary in size greatly depending on their weight. Lighter kettlebells, for instance, are small enough for beginners to handle more easily than their competition style counterparts.
There are a lot of brands to choose from, so for the sake of simplicity and affordability, you can’t go wrong with the one below. Many sizes are available.
Contrary to the popular sentiment that the average man should start with a 35 lb kettlebell, I wouldn’t recommend that as a starting weight. Instead, men of average or athletic build should opt for a 25 lb kettlebell. If you’re overweight, go 5 pounds lighter with a 20 lb kettlebell. I actually started with a 15 lb kettlebell and I found it to be quite the challenge for my 265 pound, 5’7″ body!
Women will want to deduct 5 lbs. less from the recommended sizes above. That’s 20 lbs for average/athletic females and 15 lbs if you’re overweight. Just for the record, there are some insanely strong women kettlebell lifters out there! Some of them are able to throw around 80 pounds like it’s a paperweight. Truly impressive!
Learn The Fundamentals Before Jumping In
There are TONS of videos on youtube of kettlebell exercises and workouts. Some of them are nicely done while others show poor form. Before you start swinging away with your new kettlebell, it’s vital that you have an understanding of correct technique. Everything from how to hold the kettlebell to where power is generated from in basic moves should be carefully reviewed.
The problem with improper use of the kettlebell is two-fold. First, there is the concern of injury. Since you’ll be using a lighter kettlebell, the initial concern relates to injuries occurred due to incorrect repetitive motions. Although serious injury is unlikely, you may become discouraged and throw in the towel before the benefits of kettlebell training are realized.
The other issue pertains to the ineffectiveness of certain exercises when performed the wrong way. When I first started, I was using my arms to power the kettlebell swing. I didn’t realize that they were supposed to be an extension of my body instead of lifting the kettlebell!
Once you’ve nailed down the right movements for kettlebell exercises, the possibilities are limitless. You can chain those exercises together to create unique workouts targeting multiple muscle groups. However, it’s imperative that you learn not just the correct technique, but also the common mistakes! Fortunately, there is such a program that does just that.
The Ultimate Kettlebell Starter Kit
Once you’ve chosen a kettlebell, everything else you need to get started with kettlebell training is included in this kit. You’ll learn the essential kettlebell moves and how to execute them properly from expert kettlebell trainer, Taco Fleur.
Taco, who has helped numerous people with improving their kettlebell technique, provides specific details and explanations in his teachings. Author of hundreds of training and workout videos as well as dozens of books, he’s established himself as one of the elite instructors in the industry. I’ll get more into his background later, but first, let’s go over what’s included in the package.
Starter Kit Contents
For just $65 you get 3 training ebooks, a 40-minute video, access to an online course, and another ebook focusing on a variety of different workouts. Purchasing these separately would cost you over $100. So there’s definitely tremendous value when buying this kit. Let’s take a closer look!
Each of the Ebooks contains step-by-step instructions along with multiple photos to guide you in your training. The Fundamentals Ebook even includes video links so you can watch exactly how the exercises are performed.
The subject matter is taught in such a way so that beginners will not feel overwhelmed or frustrated. However, the contents are not just some watered-down version of what you can find on other training sites. Anyone can benefit from it. Stay-at-home moms, men looking to get into shape, and even MMA fighters and professional athletes. You’ll certainly have a better understanding of why the kettlebell is the ultimate training tool!
This 40+ minute video covers 4 of the most common kettlebell exercises – the press, row, clean, and of course the swing. Each is thoroughly demonstrated and you’ll also learn how to avoid common injuries associated with these moves. Compare this to other kettlebell training videos and it’s clear that Taco actually cares about showing his students the proper method for handling a kettlebell. This isn’t something that should be rushed through!
The extremely popular 21 Days to Kettlebell Training Course has over 140 minutes of video broken up into lessons ranging anywhere from a few minutes to around 15 minutes. You can choose to take this course in its intended format over the course of a few weeks or continue one lesson after the next in succession. An accompanying PDF explains what you learned in the video by pointing out all the important stuff in text form.
I could write multiple paragraphs explaining all the details of this course and how amazing it is. Instead, why don’t you just read my full review on the course here. Once you’ve completed this course you’ll be well on your way to participating in various kettlebell workouts to reach your fitness goal.
Workouts and Challenges Ebook
After all of this training, you’re going to want to put your new skills to use. Other home gym workout programs don’t even come close to the number of workouts included in this ebook. Consisting of over 40 workouts and 4 challenges, there’s never a dull moment and you WILL test your own limits!
These workouts are all 100% original and won’t be found anywhere else. Taco has carefully selected them based on the feedback from his students and the goals they are trying to achieve. You’ll learn how to score an AMRAP (As many reps as possible) workout while also focusing on warming up and staying mobile to keep your body primed.
Once you’ve completed all of the workouts, you should absolutely take advantage of the other free workouts posted online by Cavemantraining. There’s already a huge library of videos which can be accessed via youtube, on the website, and in multiple Facebook groups moderated by Taco. I’ll share those in a second but first…
Who Is Taco Fleur?
Taco will be the first person to tell you how unique his name is. Indeed, I can’t help but think of the food every time I hear or read the word. Although, by his own admission, he wouldn’t change his name for anyone or anything. Such a unique name really coincides with his personality and demeanor. Easy-going, laid-back, but extremely dedicated and passionate in what he does.
It was Taco who reached out to me some months ago, asking about how my kettlebell journey was going after discovering my blog. It was really quite a shock since I usually have to harass other kettlebell trainers for tips, advice, and things of that nature. Since that first encounter I’ve had the pleasure of:
- Interviewing him
- Including him in my list of top 10 kettlebell Instagram accounts
- and breaking down his videos
Now, I couldn’t blame you for being a little skeptical. After all, I am promoting his products. You may think that this is just a marketing ploy and that he or I only care about ourselves. In reality, nothing can be further from the truth. We both want to help people. Him, through his extensive knowledge of training. Myself, through inspiration by showing my progress and weight loss journey.
Want more proof? Just keep reading. I’m almost finished I promised!
Kettlebell Training Groups
Taco has created several kettlebell groups on Facebook. The most popular one, Kettlebell Training, boasts over 10,000 members and is the largest online community of kettlebell enthusiasts, athletes, and trainers. This is the group I was referring to earlier that has members of all ages, races, fitness levels, and gender. The support among one another is amazing.
Members are constantly posting their own workout videos for sharing and/or feedback. I’ve posted questions to the group on numerous occasions including what brand, style, and size of a kettlebell I should progress next to. It’s really refreshing to be among people who care about one another in such a manner.
As busy as Taco is he still finds time to chime in when feedback or advice is requested. It would be easy for him to just sit back and let other members answer those questions (which they do too!). However, he really does try to make every effort to respond in a prompt manner. Below is just one example of an exchange in the Kettlebell Training group. In fact, what you don’t see are other follow up comments in this particular post by Taco.
I should emphasize that while seeing feedback like this from Taco is not uncommon; if you truly want some personal attention in your kettlebell training regimen, consider the Caveman Inner Circle. It’s a small private Facebook group where custom workouts are created and voted on by the members as well an extensive critique on their form and technique. I’ve been a member for a few months now and love it.
Although, for now, it’s best you take things one step at a time. Stick with the basic Facebook groups, progress, and get a feel for the community. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks For Your Time
I know that this is a lot of information to let sink in. Hopefully, I’ve convinced you as to why this kettlebell starter package is the best choice for your own home gym. When I first began my weight loss journey, I was searching for the best cardio equipment for a home gym. I never knew the full potential that a kettlebell offers aside from just cardio.
With that being said, I wish you the best of luck in your own fitness journey. Remember, you’re never too old or out of shape to improve yourself. It’s not supposed to be easy, but with kettlebell training, you’ll have more time to do the things you love. Put in the effort and I guarantee you’ll get satisfactory results.