Kettlebell weights consisting thick handles were used by Russian lifters more than a century ago as a weapon of choice. Currently, these workouts are becoming increasingly popular among Americans due to their health benefits. Other than offering dumbbell training, the thick handles in kettlebell challenges the lifter’s grip and works the core a little harder. Flexibility of kettlebell exercises makes them more adaptable for beginners as they work almost all the major muscles. They are ideal for bodybuilders or those struggling to lose extra pounds. If you can perform kettlebeall exercise regularly, you will definitely get the results you crave for.
Origin of Kettlebell Exercise
Kettlebell exercises hail from the Russian culture since the 1700s. Any old-time weightlifter or strongman in Russia was referred to as “kettlebell man” or Girevik. The exercise was also performed by the Soviet army in their strength and conditioning programs. Every military unit in Russia had a gym dubbed as “courage corner” where kettlebell exercises were carried out. Due to the strength and conditioning benefits that the Russian army developed, kettlebell exercises were envied by other countries across Europe and other parts of the world. Although the American strongmen have been training with kettlebell, the exercise only achieved mainstream use a few decades ago.
How it Works?
With its weight hanging a few inches below the handle, it makes it a little difficult to control. You are compelled to work every muscle from your grip to your core unlike when dealing with dumbbell. Since it creates extra muscle activity in your shoulder, chest, core, grip and legs, it means you are burning more calories.
How to Do Kettlebell Exercise?
The kettlebell exercise should be performed as a circuit for every set. Rest every time you complete each set. Just 2 sets are adequate if you are a beginner. However, if you are experienced, aim between 3 and 5 sets. Go for weights that allow you to complete 12 to 15 repetitions per set. For set 1, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Bend your hips forward and swing the weight between your legs. Pause for a while and the explosively swing the bell back to your eye level.
Kettlebell exercise can be categorized into four main varieties depending on their performance. They include:
- Sumo Deadlift – This is ideal for loosening up your hips and strengthening the quads and abductor muscles. It is performed when standing your feet slightly apart than your shoulder-with. With your feet slightly turned in, sit back as if you are sitting on a chair while keeping your heels firmly on the ground. Grab the kettlebell with both hands ensuring they are straightened and rise to a standing position. Lower the kettlebell to the ground and repeat 15-20 times per set.
- Two-Arm Swing – This is a full-body exercise that targets the muscles of your hips, shoulders and quads. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand over your kettlebell and bend as if you want to sit on a chair and grab it with both hands. Move your hips forward to swing the kettlebell ensuring that you are supporting your weight with your heels instead of your toes. Swing a couple of times per set before taking a rest.
- Clean and Press – This is also a full-body exercise performed with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Squat and grab the kettlebell with one hand in an overhand grip. With your back straight and facing forward, grasp the kettlebell vigorously from the ground with your shoulder and bring it forward Hold the kettlebell close to your body for as long as you can and repeat several times.
- Turkish Getup – This is a killer exercise that works your hips, legs, forearms, core and shoulders. It boosts* your stability and balance. Lie flat on your back and hold the kettlebell with the right hand and extend it over your chest. Sit up and bend your right leg while still extending the left one. Place your left arm on the side to support your body and lift the right shoulder off the ground and come to up to rest on your left knee and the right leg bent at 90 degrees. Stand up as if you are rising from a lunge while still keeping your arm extended above your head. Reverse this process and return to the starting position and switch sides.
Benefits of Kettlebell Exercises
Kettlebell training is extremely versatile. When performing kettlebell exercises, you get strength training workout and some high-intensity conditioning essential for boosting* testosterone levels in your body. Additionally, it helps in muscle building and gets your heart pumping. It is also beneficial to your hips in increasing power and explosiveness while maximizing the deadlift as well as the squat. Most importantly, kettlebell training boosts* your flexibility and range of motion. Something else that makes kettlebell useful is that it works and benefits your entire body despite being small enough and easy to use or store. It can be performed at the comfort of your apartment or house although caution is necessary when swinging around if there are other occupants in the room.
The ease of execution and benefits on the entire body makes kettlebell exercise suitable for all. It is a dynamic exercise that can be performed with comfortable weights depending on your experience. It doesn’t require a large space and can be performed at the comfort of your home. When carried out appropriately, kettlebell exercise will definitely give the results you have always craved for.