One of the best ways to add resistance training to your exercise routine is through the use of medicine balls or kettlebells. Both can really enhance your workout (in very different ways) by adding weight to your cardio routine. So, how do you know which one to choose? Well, the answer is not that simple and may be different for everyone. For some people, it is solely based on preference, but for others, it is based on the body part they are focusing on or what they are training for.
Both types of weights are incredibly versatile when it comes to full-body training and focusing on your upper or lower body. Today we will focus on building strength and muscles in your upper body using medicine balls and kettlebells.
Kettlebell Arm Workouts
Before we get into the differences between kettlebells and medicine balls, let’s focus on the iron-handled, circular weight known as a kettlebell. They are available in various sizes and weights and can be used for several different workouts. They can be used while doing lunges, lifts, presses, and squats. Want to know a fun history fact about kettlebells? They have been around for centuries but became more “mainstream” during the early 2000s after celebrities credited kettlebell workouts for their toned-arms and muscle definition. Since then, they have become easier to find and widely available in most gyms.
One of the great things about kettlebells is that they can be added to an arm or leg workout, or you can have a dedicated full-body kettlebell workout. The flexibility is why so many people prefer kettlebells to regular dumbbells. Not to mention, they add resistance training to your cardio workouts, which means more calories burned!
A kettlebell arm workout is one of the best ways to get toned arms. Kettlebells are considered a free weight and because of that, you can use them for different exercises and motions (one-handed and two-handed).
Below is a list of toning arm workouts to try using a kettlebell. The great thing about the following workouts is that most of them also target other muscle groups.
- Overhead Press
- Push Press
- Rows (gorilla, upright, suitcase)
- Tricep Extension
- Squat and Press
- Lunge and press
- Floor Press
Medicine Ball Workouts
Dating back thousands of years, the use of medicine balls is nothing new to fitness and building strength. In fact, there are many examples of the medicine ball being used throughout history. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates stuffed animal skins for patients to “toss for medicinal purposes,” and Gladiators in Egypt trained with medicine balls to prepare for the arena.
Medicine balls are weighted balls that can be used to enhance workouts or assist in rehabilitation and sports training. Like kettlebells, they are extremely diverse in use and are also available in various sizes and weights. Medicine balls can be used with a partner or alone depending on the workout.
The weighted workout balls are often more specific to sports training because they mimic the shape and movements used in sports, which is why medicine balls are considered a staple when it comes to athletic training.
Another thing to keep in mind when doing medicine ball arm workouts is that movements will require the use of both hands, even if working out with another person. Below is a list of arm exercises that you can do with a medicine ball:
- Bent over rows
- Floor Press
- Diagonal Wood Chops
- Medicine Ball Swings
- Squat and Press
Medicine Ball or Kettlebell?
If you are weighing out your options between a medicine ball and kettlebell, you should decide what works best for you and your lifestyle. Both weights are compact, affordable, diverse, and are effective in adding resistance training to your cardio routine…so why choose one? You can alternate between the two for more effective workouts.
As with all exercises, be sure to stretch and warm up those muscles before doing a medicine ball or kettlebell arm workout. In order to see a significant improvement in strength and muscle tone, it is crucial to be consistent with your arm workouts. Every person is different, and if you are interested in trying any of these exercises, you should talk to a trainer (in-person or even online) that can demonstrate how to perform all of the exercises mentioned above correctly.
Another great way to strengthen your arms is by using a full-body workout that targets and activates multiple muscle groups at once. The Chopper is an excellent addition to any medicine ball or kettlebell arm workout or can be done entirely on its own. No matter what arm workout you decide to go with, just make sure that it is sustainable for you!