A kettlebell is essentially a cannon ball with an iron suitcase handle welded onto it. It is a traditional Russian strength and conditioning tool and there have been some wild claims made about its effectiveness. Kettlebells have been described as "weightlifting time ten," and are purported to add muscle to "hard gainers" and shred fat from "hard losers." Additionally, dedicated kettlebell users have been known to complete marathons without running a single step in preparation. When I first heard these claims I thought it was just a fad, and I continued to refuse to believe the hype for another three years. When I finally did order my first kettlebell to test out the claims, I was immediately turned into a convert.
Kettlebell exercises are divided into two different categories. Heavy kettlebells can be lifted slowly to build strength, and lighter kettlebells can be moved in various arcing patterns for ludicrously high repetitions as a way to boost cardiovascular fitness.
Any exercise that can be done with dumbbells can also be completed using kettlebells, but the same cannot be said about the reverse. Because of the shape of the kettlebell it can be swung between your legs - with no fear of having a wide dumbbell take out your knees. Furthermore, every exercise can be completed with the "cannonball" above the handle or below, effectively doubling the number of exercises that can be completed with a dumbbell before even considering the new and novel exercises that can only be performed with a kettlebell.
I won't waste my breath trying to convince you any more, since you if you are not yet intrigued by a device that is "weightlifting times ten," then nothing more I can say will interest you. Suffice it to say you owe it to yourself to check out Russian Kettlebells and see what all the hype is about.
(Even ferocious, man-eating Alpacas know the value of kettlebells, do you?)