Kettlebells are not only the best tools for cutting fat and gaining lean muscle: they are incredibly fun as well! When a workout is this fun, you will want to push yourself further regardless of the benefits. However, even the benefits speak for themselves: better posture, tightened abs, and lean muscle from your neck to your toes. Learn about these five best kettlebell workouts to get started!
The swing is the kettlebell’s quintessential movement. The swing will tone your butt like nothing else, and it will strengthen your hamstrings, calves, shoulders, forearms, and it can even greatly improve your posture. It’s an aerobic exercise that can cut your weight down, and with a heavier weight it can help you pack on muscle. Plus, you’re essentially swinging a cannonball by a handle, so what’s not to love?
Before even getting a kettlebell, practice the swinging movement weightless to ensure proper form. You will want your knees aligned with your shoulders, and your feet pointing slightly outside of your body. Your back should remain straight while going downwards, and your butt should kick backwards as if trying to hit a wall. When you rise up, your butt jerks forwards bringing your body up along with it. The force of going upwards will bring the kettlebell, and your arms, upwards to chest level. Remember not to use your arms to swing the kettlebell up; simply allow the kettlebell to rise on it is own with your arms acting more as a rope. As a general tip: you want to feel the most tension in your thighs and hips, and not in your arms.
While your ultimate goal is one-armed swings, it is best to start with both hands attached. Choose a kettlebell that is not too heavy nor too light. If it’s too heavy you’ll risk losing balance; if it’s too light, then you may be using your arms more than you should.
Your beginning routine should be five sets of 10 swings for a total of 50 swings. After this becomes comfortable, you can move on to 10 sets or start doing solely one-armed swings. Once you have the swing down, you can move on to the next exciting kettlebell move!
The snatch is one of the most fun kettlebell moves, but it should not be taken lightly. To perform, you will do a one-armed kettlebell swing where, at the peak of the movement, you bring the kettlebell next to your chest as it rests on your forearm. Allow the kettlebell to move towards your forearm in a fluid motion so as to not bruise yourself, and once in this position, you can perform one military shoulder press.
When getting the kettlebell into the resting position, imagine your forearm “scooping” the air to make the motion fluid and clean. You don’t want the kettlebell to slam into your arm or be jerked around. Practice with a light bell at first, and take it slow. Perform five reps with each arm to begin with, and then move up to 10 reps once you are comfortable.
Kettlebells aren’t just for swinging and snatching. Prying Goblet Squats are perfect for targeting your core, thighs, and shoulders, plus they make a great warm-up before any routine! Begin standing and by holding your kettlebell with both hands. You should hold it by the lower parts of the handle where the handle meets the weight, and make sure to have one hand on each side. With your legs shoulder-width apart, perform a squat. While at the bottom, rest your elbows on the insides of your knees. Keep the kettlebell close to your chest, and begin to shake the kettlebell as though it were a post in the ground that you are trying to remove. After a few shakes, stand up and let out a strong breath. Do three sets of five reps for maximum benefits!
Lunges are a great exercise for your legs and core, and the kettlebell adds the perfect amount of weight to help you trim down and tone up! Simply perform lunges as usual, but while in the deep-lunge position, pass the kettlebell under your leg to the other hand. If the kettlebell is in your right hand, you want to step forward with your right leg first. Repeat 20 times, and if possible, do another set just for fun!
Turkish Get-Ups are infamous, revered, and yet still underrated. This exercise will strengthen your core beyond belief, and it will give you a body carved by Michelangelo himself. Before trying with a kettlebell, follow these instructions with a shoe or loaf of bread resting on top of your closed fist. If you can find the balance to keep this item from falling, then you will be able to safely hold a kettlebell!
Begin on your back with both legs on the ground. This example illustrates having the kettlebell in your right hand, so have your left arm extended at a 45 degree angle from your body. Raise your right arm with your shoulder tucked in, and simultaneously bend your right knee.
Put pressure on your right foot and bring your left arm behind you. Make sure not to bring your left arm off of the ground during this move, and when completed, your forearm should still be resting on the ground. Drive your right hand hand towards the ceiling, but make sure to keep your shoulder tightly close by.
Push your hip in the air, and then bring your left leg behind you. You should now be in a lunge position. Carefully stand up, take a breath, and then slowly reverse the position move-by-move. Once you are back in the starting position, you may repeat on the other side.
Make sure to do all of these kettlebell moves slowly at the beginning. If done properly, these moves will help you to cut fat, gain lean muscle, and drastically improve your posture. Plus, what could be more fun than swinging a cannonball with a handle? So grab a kettlebell and get started today!