Kettlebells are great for cardio, strength, and flexibility training, but what are kettlebells? Kettlebells resemble a bowling ball with a handle. There are many exercise routines you can do with a kettlebell, and they can be organized in the level you are in – whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced.
How to choose kettlebells
Weight – You start by choosing the weight you are most comfortable with, especially if you are a beginner. There is no need to stress yourself with a new exercise routine.
Women usually grab between 8-16 kg while men go for 16-32kg. There is no harm in starting off low, as you gain experience and grow stronger, you may move on to heavier kettlebells. As you begin this exercise, it is suggested that you start off with a trainer; just to be sure you are doing it right.
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Type – For beginners, we suggest the Russian Kettlebell Swing. It targets the shoulders, back, hips, glutes and legs.
- You stand up straight with your feet a bit wider than hip distance.
- Grab the handle with both hands, keeping your palms downward and arms out front.
- Bend your knees slightly, holding it and drive your hips back to lower your body – but not too low.
- Drive your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell.
Tips – The motion should come from the hips, not the arms, as your body moves to a standing position. Lower the weight back between your legs. Continue this motion for 12-15 reps.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
A great exercise to transition from beginner to intermediate is the Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing. This exercise is just like the first one introduced, but instead you use one hand at a time.
Swing the kettlebell up with one arm while swinging the other to help with momentum. Try 10-12 reps before switching arms.
Now that you have moved up in the exercise, it’s time to do some harder ones. Try the Kettlebell Figure-8 which targets the arms, back and abs.
- Start with your legs spread wider than hip-width apart.
- Lower yourself into a quarter-squat position.
- Keeping you back straight and your chest up.
- Grab the kettlebell in one of your hands and swing it around the outside of your leg and then back between your legs.
- Pass it to your other hand and swing it around the outside of that leg. See if you can keep the motion going, alternating hands, for a minute.
Side Step Kettlebell Swing
Experienced learners can do even harder routines. Try the Side Step Kettlebell Swing. This exercise works on your legs, glutes and back.
- Grab your kettlebell and swing it with both of your hands, like in the first exercise given.
- When the bell is down between your feet, step your right foot out right.
- When the bell is up, bring the left foot together with your right.
- Keep side-stepping one way for about 10-15 steps, then head back the other way, leading with the other foot.
Kettlebell Power Plank
Now try the Kettlebell Power Plank with Row. This exercise targets the abs, arms and back and is for those who are transitioning from intermediate to advanced in the Kettlebell exercise routine.
- You begin in the plank position but with your hands grasping two kettlebell handles.
- Lift one kettlebell up so it reaches your hip, keeping your elbow in.
- Lower it back down and repeat with the other arm.
- Do 6-8 reps on each side, or until you feel the burn.
Another transition exercise is the Kettlebell Push-Up that targets the chest, arms and back. This exercise is merely like a push-up, but while using the kettlebells. Set two kettlebells in front of you and grab the handle in the usual start position. Lower your body until your shoulders are low enough to meet your hands, then push back up. Try for 10-15 reps.
The last exercise introduced is the advanced option of the previous exercise. This is the kettlebell Push-Up with Row; it works out the same body muscles.
- Begin in a push-up position with your right arm holding the kettlebell.
- Perform the push-up and at the top, lift the right elbow by squeezing your shoulder blades together about six inches behind the body.
- Then return to the starting push-up position.
- Do this for 5-8 reps per arm.
There are many other types of kettlebell workouts from different levels-beginning, intermediate and advanced-that target the different types of muscles-arms, leg, abs, etc. If you enjoy a certain type of kettlebell exercise, but you don’t seem to be strengthening yourself any farther with it, try heavier weights.
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Kettlebells are a great way to kick up your exercise routine that you can do at a gym or even at home alone, just remember to start these out with a trainer to make sure you are doing them right. Proper form is the key to a safe and effective workout. Find out BEST Health & Fitness book here.