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.
- 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.