Keith here guys! Today I want to talk Kettlebells! Have you seen these lurking around your gym lately?
Kettlebells have been around since the early 1700’s and started in Russia. Russians used these cannonball shaped weights to train their armed forces and their Olympians. Kettlebells made their debut in the United State in the early 1900’s especially after seeing the Russian success. Kettlebells have become more popular in recent years due to the resurgence of Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) training by Pavel Tsatsouline.
Kettlebells can be used as a workout alone or substituted for dumbbells and barbells in traditional strength training workouts. To begin, just try adding in 1 or 2 movements into your already established strength circuit or using them as a cardio interval at the end of your circuit. Kettlebells force you to use your body’s momentum in a series of fast swings, jerks, and cleans. The core is always engaged and the workout is usually high repetition. This is ensures your strength training workout is also a cardio workout (second only to cross-country skiing in caloric burn according to recent studies) Kettlebell workouts have shown to be effective in burning fat, building muscle, and increasing strength and stamina. Sound like something you want to a part of? I would strongly suggest that if you are brand new to kettlebell you should meet with a trainer for the first few times to get comfortable with the movements and ensure proper form!
The first basic kettlebell movement is called a Swing. It is the foundation for all other kettlebell movements. Here is how to do it:
- Step 1: Stand straight with your legs shoulder width apart.
Step 2: Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees so as to go into a semi-squat. Keep your back arched and head facing forward steadily.
Step 3: Let you arms hang loosely and raise the weight with both hands over your head and inhale. Then, swing the weight with both hands in between the legs towards the back of you while exhaling. Move the kettlebell using power thrusts from the hip, thigh, and lower back muscles. A powerful hip snap on every rep is a must.
Step 4: Complete 5 to 10 sets of 20 to 50 reps of kettlebell swings with a minute pause between each set of repetitions. With heavier weights, inhale on the swing between your legs and exhale when you raise it above your head.
For a visual here is my YouTube video:
Once you have mastered the Basic Swing there are 2 progressions that you can try:
Progression 1: A Two-Arm Swing. Here you do the same movement but with 2 lighter kettlebells. Make sure you hold the handle in the center and really focus on balancing your weight on both side. Need a visual? Okay.
Progression 2: Alternating One-Arm Swing. Here you are using one kettlebell and switching hands mid-air at the top of the trust. In my video I switch on every 5th repetition but you can switch on every one or every other one…it is entirely up to you.
As always shoot me an email (via Kelly) or leave a comment if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them for you! My last tip: REMEMBER TO BREATH! (exhale on the trust) See you next Wednesday!
Challenge: Try the basic swing movements this week. Next week we will move on to cleans and jerks!