Kettlebells are versatile and effective pieces of gym equipment. Incorporating kettlebells into your routine is a great way to shake up your workout and maximize your results.
What you’ll need
You’ll need a selection of kettlebells. They should range from light warm-up weights up to your maximum capacity to push your limits.
You will also need a full-length mirror to ensure your posture and alignment is correct. Failure to efficiently perform exercises can lead to a whole host of issues. At best, you will be working your muscles inefficiently and not get the most out of your kettlebell sessions. At worst, you can cause long-term damage by repeatedly stressing your muscles.
A thorough warm-up is a key to a successful workout. It is also essential to prevent injury and long-term damage. A common mistake is to assume that a warm-up is just a few simple exercises to get your heart rate going. In reality, you should make sure that you have specifically warmed up the muscle groups you will be using. Jogging on the spot for 5 minutes, for example, will not prepare you sufficiently for trying to reach a new weight size when performing reps of Halos.
With that in mind, place your feet shoulder width apart and reach up high with alternate hands for 1 minute. Then do the same holding light kettlebells for 1 minute.
Next, place your hands on your hips and circle them for 1 minute in each direction. Then, take a light kettlebell and pass it around your middle. Do 12 reps in one direction and 12 in the other. This easy version of Around the World will help to activate the muscles needed to push yourself into the full workout.
To warm up your glutes and knees for your squats, try 1 minute of lunges on alternating legs. Finally, open your hips by going on all fours. Cross one ankle in front of the opposite knee and lower your weight back toward your bent knee.
The halo is a brilliant kettlebell exercise that works a big selection of muscles. It also requires concentration, so it’s a really good option when you’re wanting to clear your mind as well as working your body.
To perform a halo, grasp the kettlebell by the “horns”. These are the outer handles. Keeping your elbows tucked in, lift the kettlebell up to hip level, then towards one shoulder and loop it around the back of your head, bringing it down over the opposite shoulder.
This will work your deltoids and trapezius on your shoulder and back. The lifting motion will also activate your pectorals and your triceps.
In keeping a strong posture, you will work your abdominals and glutes. As you move from side to side, you will also work your obliques to keep a controlled manoeuvre.
Add halos to your workout in terms of minutes rather than reps. Start off by trying 30 seconds in each direction on a medium weight for your capabilities.
Squats are well known as a highly effective lower body workout. Kettlebells help to maximize their effectiveness.
Grasp the kettlebell by the horns and hold it in front of your chest. Lower down with your weight held in your heels. Bend your knees and sink down as though you are halfway sitting towards a chair. Hold for a moment and stand back up. This equals one rep.
You should go for a ratio of around 2 seconds lowering and one-second holding. Slowing it down will intensify the workout.
Make sure you do not curve your back as you lower or hold. Keep your core engaged and your stomach pulled to your spine to keep your posture straight.
This workout will target your hips, glutes and legs.
Around the World
This exercise is great for your core. You can experiment with movement and flexibility, but make sure you use lighter weights when pushing yourself.
Hold the handle of a kettlebell in one hand with your arms by your side. Then lift the kettlebell and swing it around the back of your hips. While it is behind you, pass the kettlebell to the opposite hand. Swing it to the front, and while it is in front of you swap hands again. This is one rep.
Keep your glutes engaged to ensure your posture remains straight. You should also make sure you keep your stomach muscles pulled in towards your spine. In doing this you will also maximize your muscle building and toning.
This is another workout that is best incorporated in terms of minutes rather than reps. Try doing half a minute in each direction.
How often should you do kettlebell exercises to see results?
Kettlebell exercises are great for toning up and losing weight. Adding 35 minutes of kettlebell exercises to your workout 6 times a week will help you lose an extra half a pound each week.
Kettlebell workouts can be easily incorporated into your existing workout, particularly if you already do resistance exercises.