Best Kettlebell Workouts
Have you ever used a kettlebell? Perhaps you’ve seen people in gyms working out with them and wondered why. They don’t exactly look like traditional free weights. And they resemble a tea kettle, strangely enough. They must be good for something, right? Otherwise, why their popularity? In this blog article, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of a kettlebell. We’ll learn what it is, what it’s good for, why you should use them, and some simple step-by-step workouts to follow in the comfort of your own home, or at your local gym. So, let’s take a plunge into the wide world of kettlebells, shall we?
What’s a kettlebell?
First off, what exactly is a kettlebell? When purchasing, or using a kettlebell, you need to make sure you’ve chosen one that fits your body. Kettlebells come in various sizes, for various strength levels. Because some of the exercises can be challenging, you’ll probably want to start with a lighter weight than you think. You can always work up. A good guideline for choosing your kettlebell is this: use a kettlebell that you can swing with just one arm. Drop the weight down if the one you’re using is difficult to swing with one arm. You want to be able to do this fairly comfortably. This should be your general gauge.
Primary benefits of kettlebell workouts
Kettlebell workouts have many benefits for your health. They’re incredibly effective for a number of reasons, the main one being that they kill two birds with one stone. For example, when you do kettlebell swings, which we’ll teach you how to do further on in this article, not only are you giving most of the muscles in your body more strength, you’re also working your heart muscle. This particular workout is both a cardiovascular workout, as well as a strength training one. Not many workouts in the world can say the same.
Kettlebell workouts also help with back pain. They have the ability to reduce pain in the body by strengthening and properly training the muscles in your back. What’s more, kettlebell exercises help prevent back injuries, mainly because they work to strengthen the core so well. Using a kettlebell on a regular basis will help you move more easily in your daily life. Why? Because kettlebell workouts are what fitness gurus call a functional kind of exercise. Functional workouts work to strengthen your body in the same way your daily activities do. Think picking up groceries, lifting boxes, picking up a child, carrying a laptop to your favorite coffee shop—you get the idea.
The following kettlebell exercises you’re about to learn will also help with your posture. They’re innately good movements for strengthening your core muscles, which is an essential part of maintaining spinal strength, flexibility, and overall good posture. If you’re keeping the spine long, and holding the correct stance as you do the following exercises, your posture will improve over time. This is yet another surprising boon of doing kettlebell exercises on a regular basis.
The last benefit we’ll cover here is one you’re going to love. It’s this: your behind is going to get a lot firmer and stronger as you practice these exercises. Every exercise we do with the kettlebell builds your backside. No more flat booty! Your behind will be nice and shapely in no time!
How to do kettlebell swings
First off, you’ll want to take the proper stance—one that protects your body. The best stance for kettlebell swings is with your feet planted on the ground just a little wider than your hips. You’ll want your feet turned slightly outward, with your knees ever so slightly bent. Never lock them when you’re doing kettlebell swings. You’ll hold onto the kettlebell with both hands, pulling the shoulders up and down the back so that your spine is straight and your shoulders relaxed. Bend your arms ever so slightly as you do with your legs. As with most of these exercises, start small. There’s no need to do too many reps at the beginning. Work your way up so as to not cause injury. Like anything, building strength is a gradual process. Do 2 sets of 10 reps in one workout when you first begin.
Start with the kettlebell hanging down between your legs. Then swing it out and up until it's at shoulder height, and then let it swing down between your legs again to the starting position. You’ll notice your legs straighten a bit with the upward swing, and then bend some with the downward swing. Again, swing the kettlebell out and up to shoulder height, then back down again between your legs. Simply repeat this motion ten times. Take a break, then repeat for your second set. As you do this, keep the hips squared forward, your shoulders back, and your abs tight. Next try doing the exact same exercise with one arm. Start with one side, do two sets of 10 reps. Relax for a few deep breaths. Then, repeat with the other arm.
Kettlebell swing benefits
The kettlebell swing exercises are so, so good for you. Why? Because they target pretty much every area of the body. That’s pretty cool, considering so many weight-training exercises only target certain parts of the body. With the kettlebell swings, you’re working your shoulders and arms, your upper and lower back, your core muscles, and even your lower body. This makes kettlebell swings one of the most effective and efficient workouts known to man. While that’s a bold statement, it’s absolutely true! This is one of the primary reasons to motivate you in your kettlebell workout journey.
Kettlebell swings also help you become a fat burning machine! This is because they’re a high intensity exercise, meaning, they burn way more fat in less time than do other forms of moderate exercise. You may want to add them to the different exercises in your high intensity interval training workout (HIIT) if you have one. If you don’t, simply try doing 50 kettlebell swings in one fell swoop, and see just how intense it is!
Kettlebell squats are another effective exercise to do often. First, you’ll want to turn your kettlebell upside down, so that you’re holding onto the bottom of the ball part with both hands. This is the opposite position from the swings you just did, in which you’re holding onto the handle. The kettle bowl should be just below your chin as you hold onto the bottom with bent arms. Your legs are just a little wider than hip’s width apart, with your feet pointing slightly outward—the stance you were in for the kettlebell swings.
Now, do squats as you normally would. Your back is straight, your weight is in the heels, and you’re squatting back and down. Your abs are tight, and you’re squeezing your gluteal muscles at the top of each squat. There’s no need to go fast. Just work at your own pace. Do 10 squats. Take a rest. If your legs aren’t burning too terribly much, repeat for another set of 10 squats. Kettlebell squats are excellent for strengthening your gluteal muscles, your quads, your abs, shoulders and arms. Do them often!
Place the kettlebell on the floor next to the side of your foot. Your stance is the same as the other two exercises. All you do is bend down, to pick up the handle of the kettlebell with one arm, as if you were picking up a suitcase. The other arm can be straight out, helping you with balance. So, you pick up the kettlebell like a suitcase as you squat, then stand up with the kettlebell, and place it down on the ground again as you squat. The weight is in the heels, as with your squat. Do ten reps, then switch hands to the other side. Again, you’ll do ten reps on the second side.
You’ll likely be breathing heavily by now. If you’re not, you’re not working hard enough, so pick up the pace! These exercises should be challenging. This is why they’re great for both your heart, as well as your muscles—cardiovascular exercise meets strength training! Have fun with these exercises, and do them whenever you feel like it. Shoot for doing your kettlebell workouts at least twice a week. Do them thrice a week if you’re feeling ambitious!
Kettlebell workouts are a fun way to spice up your regular exercise regimen. They don’t take long. And you’ll get more bang for your buck doing them when compared to spending long hours at the gym on the treadmill and lifting weights. Efficacy and efficiency make the kettlebell a workout prop you’ll want to invest in. And they’re a great investment, considering you can do them from the comfort of your own home, which costs nothing! Enjoy these exercises and do them when you want to tone and break a sweat!