Our very first featured health & fitness tool -- the mighty Russian kettlebell -- is the mother of them all.

That's because if you go ahead and get yourself a kettlebell, you're probably not going to need any other exercise program or product.

Kettlebells are amazing. I particularly like them because they don't take up much space (I store mine in my closet) and you can sneak in a good workout with these things during a quick break on a busy day. And it's a powerful workout that rivals anything you could ever accomplish in a gym.

The benefits of working out with a kettlebell come much faster than any other exercise program I've tried. They hack off fat, tone your muscles, improve your cardio (without your ever having to step on a treadmill), and leave you feeling super-refreshed.

Kettlebells, as you can see in the photo at the top of this page, look like cannonballs with a handle. I currently have three of them -- a 44-pounder and a 35-pounder that I use on a regular basis, and a 26-pounder I use on "light" days and for exercises that I haven't yet been able to master. My long-range goal is to eventually progress to a 53-pounder. It's been said that only mutants like to go much further than that. (NOTE: Goal accomplished! 53-pounder added in summer of 2010.)

The ballistic nature of the exercises involved give you a full-body workout, including cardio. This little cross-breed of a cannonball and a handle replaces an entire gym. Say adios to dumbbells, barbells, treadmills, stationary bikes, the works. A kettlebell actually dominates all other forms of exercise equipment in terms of overall benefits and convenience.

Among the benefits you can expect to reap are:

  • Increased energy and strength
  • Improved muscle definition and significant fat loss
  • Greater explosiveness, power, and speed
  • Improved overall cardiovascular conditioning including lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure
  • For athletes, significant improvement in overall conditioning and performance
  • Strengthen and improve your "weak spots" -- that bad shoulder, that creaky knee, and that aching back
  • Efficiency -- incredible results in minimal time

In addition to the obvious health benefits, I love the kettlebell because it's remarkably time-saving. You don't have to work out with it for hours on end. 10 or 15 minutes a day is enough (although a lot of enthusiasts eventually work their way up to 30 minutes and beyond).

In fact, recently I disclosed a secret to a fellow kettlebell aficionado: I can sneak in a workout while my wife is hollering at me to do stuff around the house. As someone who's married with children, I've never been able to consistently go to karate class or a gym due to the inevitable domestic distractions. But look what happened the other day when my significant other barked about the laundry and other chores:

  • Pick up clothes from floor
  • SWING - 20 reps (note: the "swing" is a simple yet powerful exercise that hits every muscle in your body)
  • Dump clothes in laundry machine
  • SWING - 20 reps
  • Put in soap, start machine
  • SWING - 20 reps
  • Vacuum foyer
  • HAND-TO-HAND SWING - 10 reps each hand
  • Vacuum bedroom
  • CLEAN AND MILITARY PRESS - 10 reps each hand
  • Throw out trash
  • SNATCHES - 10 reps each hand
  • and so on, and so on...

It's a win-win situation. I'm happy because I got a workout in, my wife is happy because I did all the chores, and on top of that the chores weren't so bad after all because I'd turned them into a fun challenge. (The people behind the kettlebell are big on interval training -- one minute between sets is ideal -- so it's a fun sight for my wife to see me vacuuming in a frenzy before dropping the Hoover and picking up the kettlebell.)

All in all this is my favorite workout. If you think this might be something for you, here are some video links that can give you an idea of what the kettlebell can accomplish:

Weight Loss Video Featuring Kettlebells

A kettlebell workout for women (I'm including this one as evidence that a kettlebell will NOT turn a woman into a bulky NFL linebacker. Quite the contrary, as you can see for yourself.)

Men's 35lb Russian Kettlebell Quick-Start Kit with DVD (I highly recommend reading the book Enter the Kettlebell before getting started.)

The results speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Note: For any exercise program -- especially the kettlebell, which will give you an hour's workout in mere minutes -- check with your physician first before you begin.

Save up to 30% on Dragon Door's classic Kettelbells