So, I haven't used one before, but I was eyeballing the kettlebells at our local sporting goods store the other day, and contemplating the muscles used to swing it. My day is pretty much spent picking up and putting down a child, which has resulted in some wicked guns and good muscle tone in my shoulders, is there further benefit to be derived from that ol' kettlebell?
Ha ha! I believe Mark Sisson has an element in his workouts called "The Petulant Child Carry" and this would definitely count!
But as a straight-across substitute? Nah. Kettlebells and their handles allow certain ranges of motion and grips. In fact, strengthening other muscles will probably make carrying those toddlers easier.
Another benefit of using infants/toddlers to exercise is that their weight scales up as you get stronger.
I've done some "toddler swings" with my niece; it wore me out! However, there's a lot you can do with a kettlebell that could be frowned upon if done with a toddler- turkish getups and snatches are a lot of fun, but you'll probably need a kettlebell for them. KBs can be pricey though; beware of buying a kettlebell you'll outgrow!
Basic kettlebell swings - done properly with a high enough weight - work your hips, quads, and abs, possibly more than arms/shoulders. They're a great core workout, so a nicely heavy one for swings is a decent investment!
Kids are great for providing all the necessary exercise elements of a Paleo/primal lifestyle...lots of walking, occasional sprints to stop them walking into traffic, heavy lifting and of course play. However the normal child life-cycle does provide these in different measures between conception and them leaving home for University...
Before you know it, that toddler will be running everywhere and being picked up less (particularly if fed a good paleo diet, the toddler will be so full of energy...). So while then you may be getting more low level cardio from your child, the strength element may start to be lacking.
Then you will need to lift other heavy things. So unless you want to start producing your next toddler (not recommended just for the convenient strength training provided by "toddler swings"...) then kettlebells would be a great way to keep your guns and shoulders.
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