Chances are you’ve seen a few kettlebells lying around your gym and wondered what exactly they are used for. If you have been wondering whether you should try them out, ponder no more!
Kettlebells are perfect for a whole-body strength and cardio workout. By combining the benefits of strength training along with those of heart-rate increasing cardio, kettlebells are the perfect HIIT alternative to spending an hour on the treadmill.
Getting The Most From Your Kettlebells
Kettlebells usually come in weights starting at 2kg all the way up to 50kg. Unlike dumbbells, the shape of the kettlebells allow you to grip them in different ways depending on the exercise. They are a great alternative to regular dumbbells because of the ergonomic design and handles, allowing you to hold onto them with one hand or both.
It is recommended that women start off with 8kg kettlebells and men with kettlebells weighing 16kg, allowing you enough resistance for a full and effective workout. Opt for cast iron kettlebells with the handle exposed. Plastic-covered handles can result in a reduced grip, especially with sweaty hands.
Before you get swinging, we strongly recommend that beginners take a session or two with a kettlebell instructor. These are effective pieces of equipment that produce results fast, but the moves do need to be done properly in order to avoid injury. Take a session or two with a professional that can make sure you are using correct form.
There are a wide range of kettlebell exercises you can do that work your entire body from top to toe. The king of these, however, is the kettlebell swing. If there is only one exercise you have ten minutes spare for each day, make it this one for full body results.
Swings are probably the most recognisable exercise with this piece of equipment. This exercise works all of the muscles, especially on the backside of the body like the glutes.
Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width with your toes pointed slightly outward, with the kettlebell between your feet. Squat down and grasp the kettlebell with both hands, and thrust your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder-height. Make sure you’re not using your arms and shoulders to swing the kettlebell, but squeezing your glutes while thrusting forward to bring the kettlebell up with natural momentum.
Next, perform one-arm rows that focus on your back muscles and your core. Lunge forward on your left leg, keeping balance with your right leg stretched behind you.
Standing with the kettlebell in your right hand by your side, keeping your core tight and engaged, pull the kettlebell up toward your chest while keeping your arm close to your side and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Repeat on the other side.
Kettlebell Overhead Tricep Extension
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Holding the base in both hands at chest-height, push the kettlebell up towards the ceiling using your shoulder muscles. Once arms are extended, bend the arms back at the elbows to perform an overhead tricep extension. Make sure you keep your elbows close together and maintain control of the movement. Bring the kettlebell back down and repeat.
Just by doing these three exercises you will have finished a full-body workout with just one piece of equipment! It not only will help you become more toned and build muscle, but will burn more calories than a simple cardio session alone!