Carl Davison, the wellness and fitness director at the March Wellness and Fitness Center at the Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, is not sold on kettlebells, either, and does not have them in his fitness center.
Davison, a strength and conditioning coach who has worked with professional athletes, as well as the general public, said his center doesn't have kettlebells because of the risk involved.
While he admitted that kettlebells can be a good method of training to increase strength, endurance and flexibility, he also acknowledged that they need to be used safely and with supervision.
"Under supervision, they're great," Davison said, citing certified instructors, exercise physiologists, athletic trainers or physical therapists. "But they might not be the best thing for you to reach your fitness goal."
Davison said that the marketing side of fitness has adapted kettlebells to everyday fitness needs and watered them down to the point where they are mostly used in the same way as a dumbbell.
But there's a whole other side to kettlebells that features hard-core devotees and clubs who seriously train and compete with them at a level comparable to competitive weightlifting.
Also, Davison said, ultimate fighters and some firefighters might use kettlebells as a training tool.
Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Sylvester Stallone, Matthew McConaughey and Lance Armstrong are all said to use kettlebells in their exercise programs. And when the stars tout them as a body-sculpting, fat-burning, time-saving fitness training tool, it makes others want to give them a try, too.
Even so, typical gym-goers might not have personal trainers at their side to coach them through workouts or watch their every move like the stars do.
As Davison put it, "It all comes back to safety."