A kettlebell is a killer piece of workout equipment.
A kettlebell is a killer piece of workout equipment. Originally used by farmers in Russia, it can be utilized in cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. But some still struggle to incorporate kettlebells into their routine. I get it, it can be confusing. Is it a kettle? Is it a bell? What is it really!?
To clear things up, I've put together a full body kettlebell workout you can crush to get better acquainted with this fantastic workout companion! Perform each exercised between 10 – 15 reps and run through them 2 – 4 times (depending on fitness level and goals). Happy sweating!
Start standing with good posture, feet hip-width apart. Hold your kettlebell with straight arms and an overhand grip in both hands, keeping your knees soft and always focusing on keeping your spine straight. Imagine your Grandma is behind you nagging you to "stand up straight". Drive your hips back, kind of into a half squat (but not a full squat!) and let the kettle bell swing back between your legs. Is your spine still in neutral? Better be, Grandma is watching! Then, in a fluid motion, drive your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell till your arms are horizontal with the ground. Knees still soft, squeezing them glutes. The kettlebell should naturally swing back as you return to your start position. But remember, the motion needs to be driven by your hips, not your arms, both when you swing forward and when you swing it back between your legs before fluidly powering into your second rep.
Drop into an athletic stance – this is where you keep your spine neutral, hips back and hold a slight bend to your knee. Take a kettlebell in each hand and let them hang at your sides. Lookin' pretty cool so far! Then, squeezing your shoulder blades together, bend at the elbow and pull kettlebells up towards your torso. Keep your elbows close to your body and really squeeze them shoulder blades together to activate your back muscles. With control, bring your arms back down to their starting position before doing it all over again.
Everyone's favourite - squats! For this one, stand with feet just outside of shoulder width. Hold your kettlebell close to your body at chest level. Make sure your spine is neutral, bend at the hip and begin lowering into your squat. Make sure your chest stays high and your knees don't extend over your toes. Once you're at 90 degrees or a little deeper, squeeze your hamstrings and glutes, push through your heels and bring yourself back to standing. Don't lock your knees at the top, though! Keep them soft. After a beat at the top, drop back down into another rep. Fun right?
Your lunges are about to get turnt. Stand up straight and hold the kettlebell by the handle, letting it rest at shoulder level. Step forward with one foot into a ready-lunge position. Then, keeping your spine neutral, drop your back knee down to lower into your lunge. As you begin to lower into your lunge, straighten the arm holding your kettlebell to perform an overhead press at the same time. Making sure your front knee stays behind your toes while you're lunging and that your wrist stays right below your shoulder during the top end of your press. Pushing through your hamstrings and glutes, stand back up to your start position and, with full control, bring your kettlebell back down to shoulder level at the same time. This is a compound exercise, meaning you're moving both your upper and lower body at the same time. So, go slow and put the focus on stability over speed.
Let's do the twist! The Russian Twist. Sit with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight and hold your kettlebell at chest level. Then, taking your feet just off the floor, lean back so your torso is in a V position. Very important to keep your spine neutral and shoulders back! Once you're stable, twist your torso so your kettlebell faces the left side of the room. In a fluid motion, twist toward the opposite direction so your kettlebell faces the right side of the room. Make sure it's your torso that is moving and not your arms and try and keep your hips square the whole time by engaging your core. Keep going from side to side and you're twistin'!
This is basically a normal push-up, only more awesome because it's with kettlebells! Take two kettlebells and position them on the ground, about shoulder width apart. Grab the handles and position yourself into a long-arm plank, with your shoulders right above your wrists and your core engaged. Then lower your body into a push-up, keeping your elbows in close to your body. Using strength from your arms to push back up to your start position. Sounds simple, but using kettlebells adds some extra challenge to your standard, run of the mill push-up!
Time to lie down… but not to rest! Lie on your back with your feet on the ground, knees bent. Hold a kettlebell to hover just above your chest. To perform the crunch properly, tense your abs to engage your core and then sit up and press the weight away from your chest in front of you. Maintaining a neutral head and neck position the whole time. Using control, slowly lower yourself back to lie down and bring the kettlebell back to your chest. Rinse and repeat. You can run this workout as a circuit, combine them into supersets or bang out each exercise separately. Whichever way you slice it, this kettlebell workout is one hard hitting full body workout! Give 'er and go and comment below with your thoughts!