How to workout with a kettlebell
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Here’s how to workout with a kettlebell for beginnersReady to burn serious fat and calories while sculpting your muscles? It?s time to acquaint yourself with kettlebells, those cast-iron weights that look like a mini bowling ball with a handle. Learn how to workout with a kettlebell and you will soon feel stronger than ever.
Exercising with this cast-iron weight is fun once you get the hang of it. There’s a variety of kettlebell books, workshops and DVDs to teach beginners how to use it efficiently. Try one out at the gym and start your own home fitness regimen.
Familiarize yourself with a few basic movements and practice them in front of a mirror. Take the time to do every move correctly to prevent injury and maximize the benefits of every workout.
Get comfortable with it
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Pick up your kettlebell with both hands and swing it from side to side. The weight you choose should feel like a doable challenge – something you’ll be able to lift without hurting yourself.
Start with a basic two-handed swing. Spread your legs about hip width apart and bend your knees. Let your hips follow the downward momentum as the weight swings between your legs. Reverse the direction and swing it upright as the legs straighten and use your arms to lift it to the height of your chin.
Repeat each set for about 90 seconds, watching yourself in a mirror to ensure good form. Your back should stay straight at all times. The hamstrings and gluteals are to do the heavy lifting here, not your shoulders and back. The entire motion should be fluid and engage your core.
If you already do squats regularly, adding a kettlebell is the challenge you need to spice up the routine. Stand upright holding the weight at your chest with both hands. Dig your heels in the floor for balance as you bring your thighs parallel to the floor ? use a wall to keep your back straight if this is a new movement.
Keep your elbows close to your body as you return to an upward position. Focus on doing each squat slow and correct ? quality pays off more than quantity.
This intermediate exercise shows you how to workout with a kettlebell and strengthen your back, arms, abs, legs, glutes and shoulders. Hold the weight at your chest with both hands and arms bent. Do a forward lunge while bringing your arms straight above your head. Bring the weight down as your stand up.
Repeat this movement for the same number of reps on each leg, starting with 10 and working up to 15.
The one-armed lift
Build your upper body strength doing regular one-armed lifts. Bend your knees and stand so your feet are about hip distance apart. Use one hand to hold the handle with your palm facing inward towards you. Swing the kettlebell below the knees, but control the swing so both directions offer resistance.
As you stand upright, bring the weight to your chest again, rotating it so your palm faces the opposite arm. Do this for 30 seconds with each arm. Again, control the downward momentum, keep your back straight and maintain fluidity in each movement.
This intermediate-level exercise looks deceptively simple and gives your legs a break. Sit down on a mat with your legs bent, feet flat and hip-width apart. Hold the handle with both hands and lean backwards until you?re at a 45 degree angle from your body.
Slowly twist your abs from right to left and back, controlling the movement at your waist. The weight should move across the body in one clean motion. Count how many reps you can do and challenge yourself to raise that number with each set.
There are no secrets to fitness. The most important thing to know about how to workout with a kettlebell is to keep your core engaged while concentrating on the quality of every rep. Maintaining good form is the most efficient and safest way to build strength.
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