Make Friends with Kettlebells

rack of different colored kettlebells of various weights

I know, these funky-looking weights can seem a little weird if you’ve never tried them before.  And I guarantee you don’t have to have a certain qualifying percentage of Eastern European heritage in order to use them effectively!  Kettlebells are lean, mean fat-burning machines (well, technically you are the machine in this equation- but you get the gist of it) so I encourage you to make friends with them.

And hey, if you’re designing your own home gym, I encourage you to add a kettlebell or 2 (if not a whole set) into the mix. These bad boys are not just great strength and muscle builders but also provide that much-needed variety for your stale cardio routines – especially for folks that experience cold-weather winters and go stir crazy on the treadmill or other types of indoor cardio equipment.  Kettlebells are that fresh spin your body’s been craving. Calorie-incinerating, arm-toning, ab-tightening – what’s not to love?  If you’re new to kettlebells and not sure where to start, here are several standard exercises to get your muscles pumping.

Kettlebell Deadlift

  • Put some arch in your low back, pivoting slightly at the hips
  • Squeeze your glutes as you squat down, ensuring your back keeps its form
  • Grab the kettlebell with a full belly of air
  • Keep your arms at full extension as you rise

Around-the-World

woman does around-the-world kettlebell exercise

  • Hold the kettlebell in your right hand
  • Swing the bell out in front of you with an extended arm
  • Grab with your left hand as the weight passes your naval
  • Swing it behind you, grabbing the weight again with your right hand
  • After 4-6 rotations, switch the direction for 4-6 more
  • Try not to whack your butt too much!

Front Squats

  • Clean the kettlebell up to your chest and hold with both hands
  • Stand with your feet slighter wider than shoulder-width
  • Put a mild arch in your back (like the deadlift above), and point your chin up slightly
  • Descend until upper legs are right at parallel with the ground
  • Stand back up, avoiding lock-out in your knees

Two-Arm Kettlebell Row

  • Pick up 2 bells and hold them against the front of your thighs in an upright position
  • Hinge at the waist while keeping the upper back flat, bend knees a bit
  • Draw the kettlebells up to your waist together, keeping arms close to your sides
  • Hit 8-12 reps

Kettlebell Half-Get-Up

woman does get-up exercise with red kettlebell

  • Lie down on your back with legs out
  • Grab the kettlebell and then extend your right arm fully
  • Bend the left knee and surge up, with your left arm propping up your body in a triangle
  • Transition to sitting, then carefully reverse the movement; repeat 8-10 times

Kettlebell Swing

  • Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands, while keeping your feet wider than shoulder width apart
  • Start the movement by thrusting the hips forwards (as opposed to using the arms) and pinching the glutes
  • Let the arms continue the swing’s momentum until the bell comes up to face level
  • Control the swing in the downward motion too for safety and eccentric muscle training
  • Go for time: start with sets of 20 seconds – even go with a Tabata routine once you’re comfortable with the movement

woman swinging kettlebell

An efficient kettlebell circuit offers you a fantastic complete body blast leading to a bullet-proof core and excellent recruitment of multiple muscle groups for functional fitness training.  Prepared to give these monsters a shot? Trying putting the exercises above to work for you next time you’re bored with your tired old cardio routine, or if you need a change from the weight routine you’ve been using since high school.  You might just reap some impressive results in much less time than expected – and just in time for summer!

Work these individual exercises in here and there, or even try a full kettlebell-only workout up to 3 times a week to guarantee a nice metabolic shake-up to usher in some new weight loss.

 

How Women Can Benefit from Kickboxing

 

How Women Can Benefit from Kickboxing

You have been told up until this point that kickboxing is a sport dedicated primarily to men – that women who practice kickboxing are too masculine or rough around the edges. Well, we’ve got some news for them. Kickboxing is actually super beneficial to a woman’s health.

Recent studies have monitored women who love to kickbox and have discovered some amazing things along the way. Ladies who take on this gentleman’s sport seem to develop several improvements to their well-being, including things that aren’t physical at all. Emotional and mental health support can come from this activity as well, believe it or not.

The Main Benefits of Kickboxing

Ladies, get your boxing gloves on because the world of sports has just opened up to you a little bit more. Kickboxing is not only fun and challenging, but it also provides the following amazing benefits:

  1. It Helps You Burn Fat

Girls, we are always worried about our figures. Fortunately, kickboxing can help to reduce body fat by burning carbs and calories like a furnace (up to 750 calories per hour, to be exact). This high-impact, high-intensity sport keeps you moving for long periods of time while forcing you to flex muscles you don’t typically use. Meanwhile, you often don’t even realize you’re working so hard. Enjoyable and rewarding, kickboxing may soon be taken over by energetic women with weight issues.

  1. It Can Help to Tone Your Whole Body

With workouts and training exercises that include MMA drills, circuit workouts, and core-building courses, kickboxing is a lot more than simply kicking and punching an opponent. It’s a highly structured art form that requires dedication and hard work. As such, it can tone the muscles of the body to perfection in just a short time.

  1. It Can Teach You Self-Defense

Kickboxing may consist of more than just kicking and punching, but that has a lot to do with it as well. In fact, self-defense instructors use many kickboxing techniques to teach students ways to protect themselves against assailants. By practicing this sport, you will most likely learn vicariously how to defend yourself when the time comes to do so.

  1. It Can Help to Reduce Your Stress

Getting out there and becoming hyper-physical in some healthy activity is always a great way to decrease anxiety and stress. Kickboxing provides the ideal environment for such things by creating a safe zone for aggression alleviation. In other words, kicking and punching things for an hour or two can work wonders on your mental and emotional state of being.

  1. It Can Dramatically Boost Your Confidence

There’s nothing like looking better, feeling less stressed, and being able to adequately protect yourself. Kickboxing provides all those benefits and then some, even to the men and children who enjoy it. Considered a challenging yet safe sport to participate in, people are encouraged to supplement their self-esteem with activities that boost their health in several ways. Kickboxing can make an individual feel great physically, mentally, and emotionally.