Kettlebell Workouts Versus Elliptical Trainers

When you sit back and compare the difference between kettlebells and elliptical trainers, something obvious comes to mind. The elliptical is a machine and the kettlebell is a free weight. In a number of ways, this means one is definitely better than the other.

Mechanical Differences

From purely a mechanical standpoint, the kettlebell wins out hands down. When you place your feet atop the paddles on an elliptical and start gliding, you are more or less on cruise control. Yes it’s true you can adjust the incline and resistance to make your workout more intense, but there’s still no real feedback going on in your central nervous system. Any way you slice it, you’re still following the same pattern with your arms and legs.

Kettlebell workouts, on the other hand, involve strict attention to detail. You have to be very conscious of your every move to insure you maintain proper alignment, contract the right muscles at the right time, and fix your gaze in the right direction. If you have even the slightest breach in judgment, you can end up seriously injured.

Impact

Really, the only area where kettlebells and elliptical trainers are close is with impact. In both workouts, your feet remain in a fixed position, causing very little stress on your joints. This makes both forms of exercise beneficial if you are trying to spare your joints from trauma or have previous conditions that force you to stick with non-impactful options.

Muscle Engagement

When you look at specific muscle recruitment, kettlebell workouts are far superior. An elliptical targets your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves, but you get little work in the upper body. Even though you move poles back and forth, it’s a very minimal neural output. In fact, you can just as easily take your hands off the poles and glide with your legs alone.

Kettlebells, however, have the capacity to work all of the major muscles from head to toe. And you can achieve this in one workout by pairing exercises together in what are called complexes.

In this case, not only can you expect to thoroughly work a number of muscle groups together, but you will also get a high caloric expenditure. This makes the kettlebell worthy of fat loss and muscle building. An elliptical will never give you that effect. All you really get is a moderate calorie burn.

Kettlebells Are More Fun

If you get bored easily, kettlebell workouts are better choices once again. Their versatility affords you the ability to press them, swing them, row them and just simply hold them still close to your body for added resistance.

It’s a win-win situation no matter how you look at it.

Workout Space

Elliptical trainers tend to be bulky too. If you live in a studio apartment and are looking to get fitness equipment, you are out of luck with an elliptical.

But, a kettlebell stores easily in the corner of a room, against a wall or even under your bed. And although they come in multiple sizes, you really only need one to get an entire workout.

Mobility

Kettlebells also lend handy to traveling. If you are taking a road trip, you can’t pack an elliptical into your trunk. Even if you could, you still need power to operate it. The only power you need for a kettlebell is that which you generate from your body.

Bottom Line

Although there are a lot of differences between kettlebells and elliptical trainers, your personal preference is really all that matters.

Choose the form of exercise that is going to keep you motivated and interested over the course of time. And if you use kettlebells for the first time, make sure to get expert training from a certified instructor in order to learn proper form and avoid injury.