Kettlebells anyone?

The first time I picked up a kettlebell was around 11 years ago.  I didn’t know much about them, and I had absolutely no idea all the things you could do with them, but lucky for me I had some friends who had a few kettlebell certifications under their belt – so naturally I snuck in some good training in with them. Ahhhh friends are the best 🙂

I love kettlebell work. It’s a nice break from my more regular dumbbell and barbell workouts. Sometimes I do focused kettlebell workouts and other times I choose a few kettlebell movements and work them into my workout with other exercises and equipment. It all depends of my mood and what my goals are for the workout. shutterstock_614169584.jpg

In case you’re unfamiliar, what are kettlebells? 

A kettlebell is a cast steel or cast iron weight that looks like a cannon ball with a handle attached to it.  They come in a variety of weights and sizes, and to make things fun sometimes they come in a variety of colours 🙂

Kettlebells have been around for years, like hundreds of years, but in more recently  they’ve made a come back and have become a common piece of equipment in fitness facilities. They might look a little intimidating at first but they are worth getting familiar with because there is SO much you can do with them!

Why kettlebell?

There are so many reasons. First, kettlebells are super efficient for working out. They are inexpensive compared to other exercise equipment, they are incredibly versatile, and can give you both a cardiovascular and strength workout. So. Awesome. shutterstock_660652771.jpg

Kettlebells are a super tool for training multiple muscle groups at one time, rather than isolating a particular muscle group – this can make for a more productive workout (depending on your fitness goals).  In addition to that, the unique movements you can perform with kettlebells mean that you will not only increase your muscular strength, you will improve the strength in your ligament and tendons (which can help prevent injury ….since I’m getting old this is great news!).

The moves. There are basically two types of kettlebell movements – ballistic and grinds.  Ballistic movements are quick and explosive movement patterns like swings and tosses. These exercises are typically performed within a wide range of motion, and incorporate several muscles and muscular chains simultaneously throughout the body. These are the movements that also tax your cardiovascular system.

Grinds are slower, more controlled movements like overhead presses, squats, and deadlifts. These exercises require constant tension on the muscular chain throughout the exercise.

Both of these movements are extremely beneficial and can provide you will awesome workouts and results.

The workout – I wanted to put together a full body kettlebell workout that not only challenges strength but gets your heart rate working. This is a good starter kettlebell workout because the exercises are simple, it gets you gripping the kettlebell and comfortable moving around with the kettlebell. I will get into more traditional kettlebell moves, both ballistic and grinds very soon so stay tuned for that. But for now, this workout shows you that kettlebells don’t necessarily mean highly technical and complicated moves.

6-8 rounds.   Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds.

  • 20 Lateral KB Handoffs 
    • stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and toes slightly turned out.
    • with the kettlebell sitting on the floor in front of one of your feet, lean into that  side of your body and squat down into that leg, pick up the KB with your opposite hand
    • stand up and exchange the KB with your other hand and then lower the KB down to your other foot. *really squat down into your foot
    • ***keep your back flat, shoulders back and abs engaged through out the set
  • 20 paces x 2 Walking 1-hand KB Lounge
    • holding a KB in one hand, lounge 20 paces. Keep your shoulders back and level and abs tight
    • after 20 paces, switch the KB over to your other hand and perform 20 more paces
  • 20 KB Swings 
    • stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and place the KB between your legs
    • grip the KB with both and hands, keep your back flat and legs slightly bent
    • swing the KB up – to do this you will thrust your hips forward come into quickly (this is a ballistic movement), the momentum will swing the KB to shoulder height
    • as the KB comes down, your hips should act as a hinge, NO squatting down, just a small bend in your knees.
    • The swing should be an explosive movement and the KB is a pendulum between your legs.
    • *keep good posture and your abs engaged
  • 20 Reverse Crunches
    • lay on the floor with your legs extended out in front, and use the KB as your anchor. Bring your knees in toward your body and then push your hips up off the floor.
    • come as high as you feel comfortable and then slowly lower one vertebra at a time, then lower your hips and bring your legs down to starting position. Repeat for 20 reps.
  • 20 Elbow Drops
    • switch lead elbow every 5 reps, perform this movement quickly
  • 20 KB Ab Twists
    • sit on the floor with your back tilted back about 45 degrees and your legs bent. Your heels can rest on the floor, or for more difficulty elevate your heels slightly off the floor to add more difficulty
    • with the KB sitting on the floor beside your hip, twist your shoulders toward the KB and pick it up with both hands. Move it across your body in an arch to your other side. Set the KB on the floor and immediately pick it up and move it back to your other side. Repeat this for 20 reps.

**choose a KB that make the exercises very challenging but still allows you to perform every set with proper from. Some exercises may require a heavier KB then others.

Hope you like this little KB intro! Let me know what your think 🙂

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