The first time I saw a trainer using a kettlebell, I judged him. With his thick Russian accent he would yell at his clients, "Pop your hips. Use your legs." I cringed as another trainer tossed a 30-pound kettlebell in the air and caught it with the other hand. Part of me thought, that can't be good for your joints.
Yet I was also intrigued. Fast forward a few years, and this weighted ball with a handle went from an Eastern European fad, to an American gym staple.
The most cost-effective bell is made from cast iron; they last forever and are not expensive. They also make vinyl versions (which don't wear well) and steel (more expensive). The benefit of a kettlebell over a dumbbell is the way the kettlebell can be held, swung, and racked next to your body. These heavy objects are not for everyone, but they are great for improving endurance, burning calories, and becoming more athletic. I own several and use them with most of my clients. When I'm short on time, I'll crank out a quick workout of squats, rows, deadlifts, and presses with limited breaks.
If you are already weight-training, ask a trainer at your gym for some guidance. If you are new to weight training, schedule a session with a trainer to learn the basics. I would look for a trainer that completed a certification or class on using kettlebells.
If you don't work out at a gym with kettlebells or trainers, there are a million videos online that can help. Obliviously, be cautious; whipping a heavy object around can lead to injury. I start my clients off with a few basic movements and light weight, and once the movement is down we can add more weight, speed up the movement or make other tweaks.
The links below are four great starter exercises:
Let me know if you have any questions. Keep moving!