The kettlebell is a widely used ancient training tool that has been around for centuries. The kettlebell features a unique design that sets it apart from other workout tools. If used correctly, the tool can serve as an awesome training aid to build strength and power whilst burning fat. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?
While there’s no doubt that this training tool is among the most functional and flexible pieces available, you need to follow proper guidelines when it comes to kettlebell training.
You will be pleased to know that kettlebell workouts are suitable for both men and women of all ages and various witness levels.
What Is Kettlebell Training?
Kettlebell training offers a unique combination of cardio and strength exercises using a kettlebell. As mentioned above, a kettlebell is an unconventional workout tool that resembles a cannonball with a handle attached to it. It can be used for building strength, improving balance, agility and endurance whilst promoting weight loss.
Exercises may feature a variety of kettlebell lifts and swings. The training tool is quite flexible and can be used for a variety of intense training exercises. Using a hybrid strength and cardio approach, you can use a kettlebell for creating a highly effective and time efficient workout. This makes the kettlebell great for a variety of exercises.
Benefits Of Kettlebell Training
Decreased Body Fat
If you want to lose body fat and are dreaming of a leaner physique, perhaps kettlebell training is a good option for you. Kettlebell training incorporates a large number of high-intensity workouts that allow you to burn fat. While most weight loss programs seem like a drag and tend to get boring over time, kettlebell training is an exciting alternative to boring or ‘normal’ workout routines. These workouts will help you stay motivated while boosting your metabolism.
Want to look your best even in your senior years? Perhaps kettlebell training is the right answer for you. Most kettlebell exercises improves posture and counteract the effects of modern day living and sitting. Postural muscles are often neglected while working out but kettlebell training will drastically improve results and improve your posture. Not to mention, an improved posture allows you to look leaner and more confident.
Kettlebells are fairly expensive workout tools that will last you a lifetime. For most newbies, one kettlebell made from solid metal will last several years. Additionally, kettlebell training does not require you to wear specialized footwear so you save on buying expensive workout shoes.
Strength Without Bulk
Most women who work out have a common desire to build strength without achieving the bulky appearance of a bodybuilder. Well, kettlebell training is not designed to increase muscle mass, rather it only increases strength without the heavy, bulky appearance.
Kettlebell exercises incorporate full body functional movements that target several muscle groups at the same time. Talk to your trainer about your special needs and they will be happy to design a workout routine that meets all of your specified requirements.
Burns More Fat
If you are following a correctly designed kettlebell workout and are incorporating full-body exercises, these exercises will target almost every muscle in your body, allowing you to reap maximum benefits. The more muscles you are able to target at one time, the more fat you will burn. It’s a win-win.
Comfortable To Use
Unlike dumbbells that might strain your arms and other workout techniques that have a high risk of injuries, kettlebell are comfortable to use and do not pull on your muscles too hard. In fact, the weight of the kettlebell will rest comfortably in your forearm, without feeling too heavy. This makes kettlebells a popular choice among women.
Do not have enough time to hit the gym? Well, you are in luck because kettlebell workouts target plenty of muscles so you do not have to waste time in targeting each body part individually. This makes kettlebell training a great solution for busy mums and dad who cannot dedicate much time of their day to working out. Best of all, you can perform these exercises at home with minimal supervision.
Kettlebell training tones muscles and burns fat at a faster rate. Additionally, most kettlebell workouts feature multi-joint movements that links the bottom half of the body with the top half using your core muscles, resulting in great abs. Kettlebell exercises are also great for burning fat, allowing you to look leaner, with reduced body weight.
How To Perform A Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is among the most popular exercises that should be a part of everybody’s fitness regimen. Follow these steps if you want to perform the perfect kettlebell swing:
- First things first, stand over the kettlebell with your chest up with your feet hip-width apart. Your shoulders should be back and down with the kettlebell lined with the middle of your feet. Invest in a kettlebell that allows you swing using the perfect technique without challenging yourself. If you are a newbie, consider starting off with a lightweight kettlebell or use a kettlebell that is lighter than the one you would normally use.
- Swat down while gripping the kettlebell with your palms, with your thumbs loosely gripping around the handle.
- Stand tall while gripping the bell. You must keep your arms loose and long while engaging your core and retracting your shoulder blades. Now, shift your bodyweight towards your heels while softening your knees. Lower your rear end back towards the wall behind you. It is time to start swinging the kettlebells.
- Drive through your heels and engage your quads while swinging the kettlebells. The kettlebell should reach up to your chest while keeping your arms extended. Contract your core while reaching this final position.
- As the bell starts to descend, allow the weight to work its magic as you prepare yourself for the next rep. Shift the weight into your heels while loading the hamstrings and glute. The weight will back towards the back of your legs.
- As the bell makes the transition from backward to forward, continue engaging your heels and hips to attain maximum benefits.
- Do 10 reps
Tips For Performing The Kettlebell Swing
Performing the swing and maintaining the correct posture can be difficult if you are newbie. Here are a couple of tips you should keep in mind:
- Load the heels, not the toes
- Try maintaining a flat back while performing the exercise
- Keep the shoulders in their sockets while lifting your chest
- Do not hinge the lower back
- Breathe in on the way up and out on the way down
- Continue to stand tall throughout the exercise and squeeze your abs
Turkish Get Up
The Turkish Get Up is a widely known full body exercise that incorporates most fundamental movement patterns that condition your stabilizer muscles and your core during the process. The Turkish Get Up is regarded one of the best stabilization exercises and has been performed for many years.
It is believed the ancient Greeks would not train a boy with weights until he has mastered the art of getting up from the floor while holding weights above his head. This indicates the importance of building a strong stabilization system. The Turkish Get Up involves seven stages. Follow these instructions to benefit from this workout routine:
- Form the fetal position while holding the kettlebell. Roll onto your back and hold the bell into the straight arm position. Fix your gaze onto the kettlebell and do not take your eyes away from it.
- Bend your leg on the same side as the kettlebell while placing your opposite arm at 45 degrees
- Once you sit up along the line of your arm, crush the handle to the elbow followed by the hand. Position the kettlebell arm in its socket and position the shoulder away from the ear.
- Start pushing from the heel of your bent leg. Push your hips upwards to achieve a full hip extension. There should be a straight line starting from the bottom hand to the bell.
- Start sweeping the straight leg through and back to form a half kneeling position.
- Lift your hand off the floor and straighten your body. Remove your eyes from the bell and look forward.
- Drive from the heel and stand straight. Once you have steadied yourself, reverse the movement.
Kettlebell Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
So, the secret’s out. Kettlebell training is an effective way to build power and strength. Thanks to the booming kettlebell market, kettlebells can select from a variety of training tools in the market. Kettlebell swings have been known to boost endurance and strengthen the posterior chain.
However, it is not always fun and games when it comes to kettlebell training. Beginners can severely injure themselves if they have not received proper guidance or do not know how to use the equipment properly. To help you out, we have compiled a list of common mistakes and how to avoid them while using kettlebells:
Mistake Number #1: Opting For A Heavier Weight
As a beginner, you might be tempted to challenge yourself and start off with the heaviest kettlebell you can handle. However, adding more weight will only restrict in improper form and increase the risks of an injury.
Safety comes first so carefully select the weight of the kettlebell to reduce the risk of injuries. Talk to a professional while selecting weights. Remember not to mix up the measurements and learn the difference between pounds, kilograms and poods (Russian poods).
Before you get your hands on a kettlebell, practice basic movements without using weights. Start off with a few mobility exercises to warm up your joints. If you are a beginner, you can practice kettlebell swings by holding lightweight objects, such as a water bottle or a small towel. This will help you practice kettlebell exercises without hurting your back.
Mistake #2: Only Generating Force By Using Your Upper Body
Most kettlebells utilize full body movements, making your workout session twice as more effective. Unfortunately, some beginners may try to muscle their way through the exercises. Avoid doing so as it would place unnecessary strain on the upper body.
To practice using the force of your entire body, consider practicing kettlebell swings. This will help you experience the transfer of power from lower to upper body. Remember to keep your back flat and squeeze your glutes. Sooner or later, you will be able to perform kettlebell workouts with greater zeal and zest.
Mistake #3: Swinging The Kettlebell Too Quickly
Swinging the kettlebell too quickly can cause you to lose control and pull a muscle, resulting in dangerous injuries (or a broken window!) While it may be exciting the swing the kettlebell with great force after am exhausting day at work, your form can suffer significantly.
The next time you are practicing, opt for a slower and more controlled movement. This will strengthen and stabilize your larger muscle groups, reducing the risk of injuries. Remember, it is just as important to control the bell while moving it downward as it is to move it upwards. Many exercises require the ability to control the kettlebell as you bring it around your head while keeping your shoulders stable.
Mistake #4: Focusing On Quantity
Again, as a beginner, you may be tempted to go overboard and push yourself too hard. If 10 reps are good, 50 reps is not great! Finishing 50 reps with bad form is worse than never picking up the kettlebell in the first place. This is simply because you are using the wrong technique. Not performing an exercise the way it should can have adverse effects and can also lead to injuries. Always follow the guidelines before attempting to perform the exercise.
If you are a beginner, start by setting yourself small targets. Focus on completing 10 reps and build your way up only if you think you can handle the pressure. Talk to a physical trainer if you are having any problems. While working out at home is a great option, you may need some guidance if you have never used a kettlebell before.
Mistake #5: Wearing The Wrong Running Shoes
While you may be tempted to wear thick-soled running shoes while working out with a kettlebell, it will only hinder movement. Kettlebell training requires natural movements of the ankle, foot and lower leg ligaments. Thick running shows feature cushioned heels. This raises your foot off the ground, destabilizing your natural grip on the floor.
Try working out in flat shoes or better yet, considering going bare feet. Getting rid of sows will strengthen the ligaments and muscles of your feet, giving you more freedom to move around. Consider wearing converse to strengthen your feet and ankles.
Kettlebell Workouts For Beginners
Ask any trainer and they will guarantee that kettlebells are here to stay and have outstanding results. Here’s why: Kettlebell training involves the use of multiple joints that engages larger muscles of the body. Additionally, compound kettlebell is a highly effective way to burn calories at a much faster rate compared to isolation moves that only target one muscle.
The Figure 8 offers pretty much the same benefits as the swing. This exercise is great for the heart and core since you will be squatting up and down. It is also great for the stabilizers and incorporates twisting movements. Follow these easy steps to perform the Figure 8:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell to your chest. Use your right hand to hold the corner of the handle and lower down into a squat.
- Once you have adopted the squat position, start threading the bell through the middle of your legs. Reach behind and use your left hand to grab onto the other corner of the handle.
- Once the kettlebell is in your left hand and behind your left leg, move it along the outside of your left thigh. Thread the kettlebell back to the middle of your legs. Only this time, grab onto the kettlebell with your right hand and hold it behind your right leg.
- Start moving the kettlebell around your right leg, bringing it in front of you with your right hand. This step completes one rep.
- Perform 10 reps.
The Kettlebell Windmill is phenomenal for strengthening the core and decreasing your waistline. Follow these instructions to perform a Kettlebell Windmill:
- Position the kettlebell in the front of your lead foot and press it overhead using your opposite arm. Clean the bell to your shoulder by extending it through the legs and hips as the kettlebell moves towards your shoulders. Rotate your wrists so that your palms face forward. Press the kettlebell overhead by extending your elbow.
- Keep the kettlebell locked out while pushing your behind in the direction of the locked out bell. Extend your feet out at a 45-degree angle from the arm with locked out kettlebell. While bending at the hips, slowly lean forward until you are able to reach the ground with your free hand. Keep your eyes fixed on the kettlebell the whole time while holding it over your head.
- Pause for a couple of seconds when you reach the ground and go back to the starting position.
Kettlebell Workouts For Women
Kettlebell workouts target a variety of muscles, which means you don’t have to waste them targeting a specific body part or area individually. Kettlebell workouts require hard work, are time efficient and utilize a lot of energy. This allows you to save time and benefit from a more effective workout. Here are a couple of easy workouts you should try:
Single Leg Deadlift
The single leg deadlift will teach you how to stabilize during movement. Practice this exercise so that you are able to handle the kettlebell when it is swinging at speed. The single dead lift is a comprehensive exercise that singles out your legs in the deadlift process.
The exercise requires balance, not to mention, you have to focus and engage your glutes, lower back and ham strings. The Single leg deadlift is an awesome exercise that will result in leaner legs and will strengthen the posterior chain. Follow these simple steps:
- Position your feet together and place the kettlebell at your toes
- Pick it up while only raising a single leg with the other one behind you
- While maintaining a straight back, place the bell back on the ground and repeat
- Do 5 to 10 reps
Safety Tip: Hold on to the handle tightly and maintain a tight core. You should feel tension on the glutes and hamstrings.
Tips On Perfecting A Single Leg Deadlift
Here are some tips that will help you perfect the single leg deadlift:
- Maintain a tight grip, keeping your back and shoulder in alignment at all times
- Keep your weight on the heel
- Instigate movements by moving one of your legs backwards
- Descend slowly with control and do not over rotate your rear leg or it could result in a fall
- Do not arch your lower back
- Only move as far as you are comfortable, do not test your flexibility
Hopefully, this handy guide has provided you enough information on kettlebell workouts. Remember to invest in quality workout equipment and not push yourself too hard. Good luck!