A kettlebell workout is an explosive style of exercise that can give you superior benefits of burning fat and calories while adding lean muscle. The nice thing about kettlebells is that you can get this done in just 20 minutes a day!!
Historically, kettlebells have been the tool of choice for strongmen and weight lifters everywhere. For centuries, athletes have realized the explosive exercises provided by these “cannon balls” can give a full-body workout with amazing results.
More recently, kettlebells have gained popularity because people are looking for ways to get an efficient workout in less time. For most of us, the days of spending 2 hours at the gym are gone. Who has the time? By adding kettlebells to your fitness program, you can increase strength, build muscle, lose fat, and improve overall conditioning.
The kettlebell, or girya, is a cast iron weight that looks much like a cannonball or bowling ball with a handle. It was developed in Russia in the 1700s; and, although it was one of the most commonly used conditioning tools in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, it didn't really become popular in North America until the 1990s.
While they may have had a late start, it didn't take long for American athletes to make up for lost time. The kettlebell workout quickly became the latest trend, and their ability to deliver outstanding results has given them the reputation of being one of the most effective fitness and conditioning tools available.
Unlike dumbbells or barbells, kettlebells can be used for swinging exercises and ballistic (or explosive) movements so you can add a completely different aspect to your workouts. And, since the heaviest part of the weight is hanging away from your hand, you will have to work harder and engage more muscles to perform exercises correctly.
While you can get great muscle building benefits, working with kettlebells will also give you a high-intensity interval training effect that you won't get with traditional weight lifting.
Kettlebells come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from 2 pounds to over 100 pounds. Choosing the right weight is important to the effectiveness of your workout. You want to make sure that it isn't too heavy or too light.
If you have never used kettlebells before, then it is recommended that you begin with a lighter weight until you master the moves. Most trainers suggest that men start with 25 pounds and women begin with about 12 pounds. If you are very physically fit, then you may want to increase the weight slightly.
A basic guideline is to choose a weight that you can lift above your head with some resistance while still maintaining control and stability. Remember, a kettlebell workout will have you swinging the kettlebell and moving it quite rapidly through several different planes of motion, and this can be much more challenging to your muscles than traditional bicep curls or chest presses.
Try various sizes to see which one you prefer. You may even want to visit your local gym for a few sessions to determine which weight works best for you before purchasing your own kettlebells.
Many of us have a hard time getting to the gym. If you're looking for a fitness plan that doesn't require expensive equipment that takes up to much space, a kettlebell workout could be the perfect solution.
Kettlebells are inexpensive, compact, and easy to use in your house or apartment. When your workout is finished, you can literally store them under your bed.
If you are new to the kettlebell experience, there are a few basic tips to follow that will make sure you get the most from your workout without causing injury. Working with kettlebells requires a lot of coordination because all of your muscles and joints are moving at the same time.
Compound exercises can be difficult for anyone at first, but when you add a kettlebell into the mix, the challenge is even greater. It takes practice and patience, but the benefits are definitely worth it!
1. Keep it simple. While there are a lot of exercises to choose from, a kettlebell workout doesn't have to be complicated. To get started, work on learning the 4 basic moves: swing, clean, press, snatch. Once you have mastered these, you can move on to their many variations or other more advanced movements such as the Windmill, Turkish Get-Up, or the High Pull. But, even if you don't learn any additional moves, the four core exercises will give you a great full-body workout.
2. Use the right grip and don't hold your shoulders too tightly. There is a tendency to want to tighten your shoulders in much the same way you would for traditional weight lifting. However, this can impair your swing and increase the stress put on your joints and tendons. An incorrect grip can also affect the balance of the weight, hinder your form, and put excess strain on your wrists, arms, and neck.
3. Don't use your upper body to power the movements. When you watch the exercises, it may look like you should use your arms to swing and lift the kettlebell. However, most of the energy should come from the legs, glutes, and hips, with the core being engaged for stability. Focusing on your upper body can cause instability, improper form, and may lead to injury.
4. Be patient. Progression is the most important factor in a kettlebell workout. If you are an experienced exerciser, you probably don't want to start at the beginning. But, remember, mastery is the key. Many people, especially men – particularly those who have done a lot of traditional weight lifting – lack flexibility, stability, and range of motion. No matter how physically fit you may be, it can take time and patience to re-train your muscles and develop the skills or abilities needed to perform complex kettlebell exercises. Don't get ahead of yourself. Start at the beginning and work through the progressions properly.
A kettlebell workout is one of the best ways to build muscle, increase conditioning, and improve overall health. Mastering the moves may take a little bit of time, but once you have them figured out, exercising with kettlebells can be both rewarding and fun.
Demonstration of Basic Kettlebell Exercises
As you can see by the video, using a kettlebell that isn’t too heavy will let you do a quite a few repetitions without ever setting the weight down. By doing this, you will increase your heart rate and also work most of the muscle groups in your upper and lower body.
Most people start with kettlebell’s that weigh anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds.
Other pages that might Interst you:
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.