Kettlebell Exercise: Single Body Workout
The first thing you need to do is get a good kettlebell. A kettlebell is a heavy weight used for training your muscles. There are different types of kettlebells. Some are made out of steel while others are made from aluminum or even plastic. You will have to choose which one suits your needs best and then buy it yourself!
There are various ways to train with a kettlebell. One way is using it as a weapon, another way is using it for punching bags and some other uses. For example, you may use it for pushing up weights or doing push ups. You can also use them for exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges.
You may want to start off with just two kettlebells. After that, you can increase the number of kettlebells you have. If you decide to add more than four kettlebells, make sure they are sturdy ones because if they break or bend too much, it could cause injury. Make sure that the handles are strong enough so when someone tries to lift them up, no matter how big their arms are, they cannot move them very far. Ultimately, what you are going to need when working with kettlebells is very strong arms and a sense of balance.
The very first exercise with the kettlebell is called the swing. This exercise will work out your entire body from head to toe. In order to do a proper swing, grab the kettlebell by its handle with both hands and hold it down at your side. You may find it easier to stand with your knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight while looking straight ahead.
In one quick movement, bring the kettlebell between your legs and thrust your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell up to chest height and then overhead. Make sure to keep your arms straight at this point. When the kettlebell gets to the top, release your grip so only to grab the handle again. This completes one full swing.
Before beginning the next repetition, first place the kettlebell back at your side until you are prepared to do another swing. Continue doing the swings for a recommended amount of repetitions.
You can also do single arm swings. This is the exact same movement as a regular swing except you only use one arm at a time to complete the exercise. This will help you improve your balance and coordination because each arm will have to work individually when going from down between the legs up to chest level and then back down again.
Kettlebell Drills to Add Real Function to Your Fitness
The kettlebell swing is a great example of the kind of multifunctional exercises that can drastically increase your fitness level. It strengthens the hamstrings and glutes, as well as the lower back and core muscles. In addition, it involves the arms and shoulders to a lesser degree, but still enough to count. It’ll also get you sweating up a storm in almost no time.
The problem is, it’s not exactly the most elegant of exercises. I mean, it’s great that it provides all that functionality, but it looks a little raw. If you’re in the company of delicate types or just someone who prefers to keep things a bit more civil, it might not be appropriate.
But there are alternatives! Kettlebell drills are exactly what they sound like: drills that use kettlebells to accomplish many of the same things as the swing. They’re a little more refined and they look prettier, but most importantly, they still get the job done.
So if you’re looking for a way to spice up your routine, try incorporating one or two kettlebell drills into it. I guarantee your muscles will thank you.
The Single Leg Deadlift is an excellent alternative to the swing because it targets many of the exact same muscles, but with a greater focus on balance. Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold the kettlebell in your left hand. Place your left foot on top of your right foot so that it’s just in front of your right heel. It is very important that you keep your back as straight as possible while doing this exercise. Now bend at the waist and lower the kettlebell until it touches the ground.
When the kettlebell touches the ground, pause and then bring yourself back up to standing while trying to keep your back as straight as possible. Complete all reps on one side and then switch hands and feet and do the exact same thing.
The Windmill is a great drill for your obliques and spinal erectors—there’s that term again. Stand with your feet just outside of hip width apart. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand and place it at the crease of your left hip. Your arm should be straight and the weight should be resting against your hip bone. Now push your hips backwards and bend to the left at the waist.
Try to keep your body as straight as possible, but don’t sacrifice form for posture. Your left arm should be outstretched and your right arm should be bent with a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Using your arm strength, pull the kettlebell to the side of your left shoulder. The top of the kettlebell should end up next to your ear. Pause for one second and then slowly return back to the start position. Do all reps on one side and then switch hands and feet and do the exact same thing.
The two exercises above are fantastic for strengthening many of the smaller muscles that are otherwise overlooked when people use free weights. The Single Leg Deadlift focuses on your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The Kettlebell Swing works your entire body with an emphasis on your hamstrings, glutes, back, and even a little on your arms. Also, both are great for increasing your conditioning and stamina.
You can do this with a barbell, dumbbells, a treadmill, or anything else that you can add weights to. The key is to start with a light weight that you can lift 10 times easily. Do as many reps as you can and add weight. So if you started with a weight you could lift 10 times, and you got up to the 12th rep, add weight. If you couldn’t get past 10 then take some weight off.
You can do these with an overhand grip like traditional curls or, for a greater emphasis on your forearms and the muscles on the underside of your arms, do them with an underhand grip. Be sure to keep your elbows tucked at your sides during the movement.
The last exercise for your arms is a single arm, single leg exercise called a 1-Arm 1-Leg Cable Curl. This is a great finishing exercise for your biceps and forearm and will really bring them to the next level. Attach a rope to the bottom of a high pulley and grab the ends of both the rope with each end in each hand. Stand a few feet away from the high pulley with your right side towards it. Hold one end of the rope in your right hand and extend the other hand straight out to your side.
Now, bend at the elbow and bring your hand up towards your shoulder. As you curl your hand up, kick your right leg straight out in front of you. Your back should stay completely straight and you should only move from the elbow joint.
Sources & references used in this article:
Oxygen cost of kettlebell swings by RE Farrar, JL Mayhew, AJ Koch – The Journal of Strength & …, 2010 – journals.lww.com
Mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise by JP Lake, MA Lauder – The Journal of Strength & Conditioning …, 2012 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Pedagogical model for developing skills required by cadets of higher education institutions of the Aerospace Forces to organize their kettlebell self-training by A Bolotin, V Bakayev, S Vazhenin – Journal of Physical Education and …, 2016 – efsupit.ro
Are injuries more common with CrossFit training than other forms of exercise? by C Klimek, C Ashbeck, AJ Brook… – Journal of sport …, 2018 – journals.humankinetics.com
Energy cost and relative intensity of the kettlebell workout by C Schnettler – 2009 – minds.wisconsin.edu