If you are looking for one very efficient piece of exercise, look no further than the kettlebell. Kettlebell workouts are famous for burning fat by increasing lean muscle while building balance and grace. Plus it is an amazing stress-reliever that relieves tension in both the muscles and the mind. The exercises are simple, yet effective.
When used correctly, kettleballs are wonderful conditioning tools. They can be used for various purposes such as:
- Cardiovascular conditioning
- Fat loss
- Strength and stamina
- Muscular endurance, especially the legs, buttocks and lower back
Choosing the Correctly Sized Kettlebell
When first starting out, choosing the correct size kettlebell to train with is very important. You need to pick a weight that is easy enough to handle but heavy enough to make you use your hips explosively to drive the kettlebell in to its correct position, depending upon the exercise that you are doing.
Most ladies would normally start with either a 5-10 pound kettlebell, while men would normally start with a 15-20 pound kettlebell. The size depends on the condition of the person exercising, so don't be afraid to drop down a size to keep proper form. Initially, more repetitions are better than more weight.
Kettlebell Basic Exercises
Before you can start on a basic routine, you must first master the three basic exercises with the kettlebell. These are:
- The Swing
- The Clean
- The Snatch
1. The Swing
This is a simple exercise, but extremely effective using the whole body. Standing with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, hold a kettlebell with knees bent. Grip the kettlebell with both hands and lift to groin height. Ensure that your back is arched and that your head is upright. Keep the weight on your heels, bending at the knees, back straight and head looking up and forwards (as if you are going to sit down in a chair). Swing the kettlebell to the rear backwards, between the legs. The weight should remain on your heels and the shins should be vertical.
It is essential that you perfect this movement because without it, you will never have the leverage to get your hips into the movement. You should feel the kettlebell pulling you backwards and your hamstrings contracting. Pushing through your feet and legs, quickly snap/thrust the hips forward tightening the glutes and abs (This motion is similar to jumping up vertically.) Do this quick snap of the hips motion while at the same time projecting the kettlebell forwards and away from the body. Keep the arms relatively straight and bring the kettlebell to waist, chest or head height, then allow the kettlebell to freely return to the start position and repeat.
2. The Clean
Hold the kettlebell in one hand. Swing it through the legs, bring it forward, and push up through the legs from the feet. As the kettlebell comes over the top of your hand to hit your forearm, grip the handle tight and also dip at the knees. This will assist you in absorbing the impact of the kettlebell. The kettlebell should lie on the forearm with your elbow tucked into the side. The wrist should be flat, and your palm should be facing inwards towards the body.
The Swing will test your stamina, grip, and body coordination. The entire exercise can be carried out using one hand, switching at the top or bottom of the drill. It is important to keep core muscles tight to control the kettlebell at all times.
3. The 'One-Arm' Snatch
Swing the kettlebell back through the legs as you push through the feet and legs. Bring it up, snapping at the hips, sucking the floor up with your glutes. At this point, the body should be locked; the power of your drill should now have the kettlebell well on its way up. Remember: as the kettlebell comes over, dip at the knees and grip the handle to slow the kettlebell and avoid the impact on the forearm. The entire body should be locked with total tension that includes a strong core.
Kettlebells can make a huge difference in your strength, core, muscle tone and stamina. The exercises are simple but effective. Losing weight is an added bonus! Enjoy!
Source Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, National Speaker and Spokesperson, Author of 2 healthy cookbooks, Writer, Ghost Writer, Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer.