Kettlebells are used to increase strength and speed. They have been used since ancient times. There are many different types of kettlebells available today, but they all share some common features. These include the following:
The handle is usually made from steel or aluminum alloy with a grip surface made from hard plastic or rubber. A metal ball at one end of the handle is attached to a loop that fits around your wrist (or other hand).
The ball is called the bell. The weight of the kettlebell hangs from the loop.
Kettlebells come in various weights, including light ones that can be easily handled by most people and heavy ones that require a little more effort to lift. Some kettlebells weigh less than five pounds while others are over 20 pounds!
You may want to start out with lighter weights first so you don’t injure yourself if you’re not used to them yet.
A kettlebell’s handles are designed to fit comfortably in your hands. If you’re right handed, then the handle should face up when you hold it.
If you’re left handed, then the handle should face down. Most people use their dominant hand to hold the bell and alternate sides as needed during workouts.
Kettlebells can be used to improve your strength, endurance, and speed. In addition, you will develop increased hand-eye coordination, co-ordination, balance, and flexibility.
Many people use kettlebells in their workouts as part of a routine that also includes push-ups and pull-ups. You can do this with your own body weight, or you can add free-weights such as dumbbells to your routine to increase the resistance even more.
If you are just starting out on your kettlebell training journey, then you should start with basic exercises such as swings and squats. These are two of the best exercises for working your core muscles, which stabilize your torso and keep your spine safe.
Swings can also help to strengthen the muscles in your hips.
The swings are a basic exercise that can be used to develop power and speed. You begin with the kettlebell between your feet.
Hips and knees are bent and you are in an athletic stance. The bell is gripped with both hands and thrust between your legs. Then, drive the weight back between your legs as you bend your knees and hips deeply. As the weight approaches the ground, thrust your hips forward so that the weight travels towards the ceiling. At the highest point, the bell should be next to your ear. As the bell swings back between your legs, bend your knees and hips deeply again. Continue this cycle of movements for as long as you can.
Beginners may wish to start out with lighter weights until they develop the appropriate strength to perform this exercise correctly.
Another basic exercise that is similar to the swing is the kettlebell military press. This exercise begins with the kettlebell between your legs.
Grip the bell with one hand and push it up to the ceiling above your head. Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. After you have completed a set, switch hands and repeat.
As in the swing, start out with lighter weights until you are able to perform the exercise correctly. This exercise can be dangerous if you try to lift too much weight.
It is best to have a spotter around to ensure your safety if you decide to lift more than you can handle.
The kettlebell squat is another basic, but very effective, exercise. It strengthens your legs and your core.
Begin by holding the bell in both hands in front of your body. Hinge at your knees and hips and bend your torso forward to pick up the weight. Your back remains straight as you lower your body into a squat position. Your heels should remain on the floor and your knees should not pass your toes. Continue to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Squeeze your legs and use your hip and hamstring muscles to power the weight back up to the starting position.
Again, start out with lighter weights until you are able to perform this exercise correctly.
The Turkish get up is an advanced exercise that can take a long time to perfect. It is very good for developing your core strength and stability.
This exercise requires a great deal of focus and concentration.
Begin by laying on the floor on your left side. Your head should be facing to the right, with your feet facing forward.
Your upper body is at a forty-five degree angle from your lower body. Grip a kettlebell in your right hand and place it just outside of your right shoulder, with the bell resting on the floor. Place your left hand on the floor just outside your left hip. You should support yourself on the floor with just your forearm and the palm of your hand. Slowly push yourself up to a kneeling position, making sure that you keep your back straight the entire time. Next, move your right foot backwards so that you are in a lunge position. The back knee does not touch the floor. Your right arm is now next to your right hip and your left arm is raised above your head. Pause, and slowly return to the starting position. After you have returned to the floor on your left side, push yourself up to a kneeling position again using just your right arm. Place your right foot next to your left foot and extend your left arm out to the left so that you are standing straight up. Do a kettlebell military press with the bell in this position. Finally, squat down and place the kettlebell on the floor so that you are back in the original starting position.
The Turkish get up is an extremely challenging exercise that should only be performed by very advanced lifters. It will take awhile for you to build up to this exercise, so start out slowly and concentrate on your form.
This is a very basic workout that can be modified in many different ways. If these exercises are too easy for you, add some weight to them or increase the number of reps that you are doing.
If these exercises are too difficult, perform them without weights or reduce the number of reps that you are doing. As you get stronger you will be able to add more weight and do more reps.
One thing to keep in mind is that this workout is just a guideline. You do not have to do all of these exercises at once.
You can pick and choose which ones you like best and perform only those. This is what’s known as “scheduled anarchy” and it’s a great way to keep from getting bored. As long as you are keeping yourself challenged you will continue to make progress.
You can also perform more than one type of exercise in a single workout. For example, you can do a few rounds of the five power cleans followed by a few rounds of the five snatches.
The more different kinds of exercises that you do in a single workout, the more productive your training sessions will be.
As you get stronger and more experienced, you can add additional exercises to your workouts. Always try to find new challenges and push yourself further.
The human body can always grow stronger and more resilient with hard work and dedication. The possibilities are endless.
While this system will work for most people, a few individuals may need to alterations in order to get the best results. Some people have difficulty with certain exercises.
For example, some people have bad knees and can’t perform squat or lunge exercises. Others might have shoulder issues that prevent them from doing upper body pulling movements like the pull up or lat pull down. If you have a history of injuries or you are severely overweight, you should definitely talk to a doctor before starting any kind of exercise routine. A physician can give you advice on which exercises will be safe for you to do and can provide other recommendations for getting started. Once you have received the “go ahead” from your physician, you can then seek out the appropriate substitutions for the exercises that you are semi-inhibited from doing.
In addition to modifications for people with injuries or physical limitations, there are also modifications for people that have specialized training goals. For example, the exercises that you selected (and how you perform them) will vary depending on your goal.
If your goal is to increase your strength, you would focus on heavier compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, barbell rows and military presses in addition to performing the kettlebell exercises. On the other hand, if your goal is to increase your muscular endurance (for example if you are a boxer), you may want to emphasize the kettlebell exercises in your program and either perform the barbell exercises with lighter weights or just perform the bare minimum of them in order to maintain proper form.
The following are some recommendations on which exercises you should emphasize and which ones you should de-emphasize as you progress through your workouts.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects of kettlebell swing vs. explosive deadlift training on strength and power by MR Maulit, DC Archer, WD Leyva… – … of Kinesiology and …, 2017 – journals.aiac.org.au
Mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise by JP Lake, MA Lauder – The Journal of Strength & Conditioning …, 2012 – cdn.journals.lww.com
The importance of muscular strength: training considerations by TJ Suchomel, S Nimphius, CR Bellon, MH Stone – Sports medicine, 2018 – Springer
Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads by SM McGill, LW Marshall – The Journal of Strength & …, 2012 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Enhancing the force-velocity profile of athletes using weightlifting derivatives by TJ Suchomel, P Comfort, JP Lake – Strength & Conditioning …, 2017 – journals.lww.com