You may have seen some kettlebells lying around the gym and wondered what the funny looking dumbbells actually do, or how you are supposed to use them. Kettlebells are more than just fancy dumbbells. Yes, they can be a great training aid for adding strength, but they are also very functional. Due to their design, they mimic a lot of the objects you lift in your daily activities. Because kettebells are able to move a little in the fat part of the bell away from your hand, the center of gravity can shift. When you hold a traditional dumbbell, the weight is fixed and counterbalanced on either side of your grip, so their is very little movement. Kettlebells are more like the things you lift throughout the day, such as a backpack or grocery bag. The tremendous functionality of a kettlebell also makes it great during workouts, because you can go from exercise to exercise and movement to movement and have a really awesome flow to your workout.
If you aren’t using them already, it may be time to put kettlebells into the mix of your fitness regimen. It’s a great way to get a fast full-body workout. Try these exercises and focus on proper form. Hopefully you will know what to do with the kettlebells at the gym and have no excuse not to add these great dumbbell tools to your workout toolkit.
Kettlebell Single Arm Squats: Start with the weight in one hand just in front of the shoulder. Your palm should be facing in and your elbow should be at your side as your arm is bent. Perform squats holding the kettlebell in the same position. Do 10 reps and then switch hands and do 10 more. Bonus: One you master the single arm squats, progress to a squat and press movement where you press the weight overhead and perform a shoulder press as you stand up from the squat position. Before you begin the overhead press movement, be sure to face your palm outward. Do 10 reps then switch hands.
Kettlebell Crank: Get into a lunge position with the front knee bent and back leg straight. With your left knee forward and bent, grab the kettlebell with your right hand and mimic cranking up a lawnmower by rowing backwards and simultaneously twisting your upper body to extend the weight overhead. Maintain control and balance throughout the entire movement. Perform 10 reps and switch sides.
Kettlebell Swings: Grab a kettlebell with both hands and let your arms hand down in front of you. Assume an athletic stance like a defender in basketball or a shortstop with your knees bent, weight balanced, and back straight. Squat down and swing the weight back between your legs. Next, swing the weight forward to eye level as you stand up. Squeeze the glutes during this movement. Do 30 reps with a manageable weight.
Kettlebell Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat about shoulder-width apart. Lean back slightly to engage the abs and slowly rotate the torso from side to side swinging one light kettlebell grasped with both hands. Max it out and try to beat your previous number each time. Your abs will thank you.