Kettlebells aren’t exactly new in the world of fitness and health.
In fact, they’ve been around for close to 300 years, and stayed at the top of many fitness guru’s lists for some time. And there’s a reason for it. These pieces of equipment aren’t just fun – it’s easy to learn what to do with it, and you will see a big jump in your overall muscle and strength.
A kettlebell is clear evidence of why you don’t need some big, fancy gym to get killer strength. Kettlebell workouts for men and for women are designed to give you that killer body you’ve always wanted.
And even though this seemingly small equipment seems like they are pretty easy to toss around, you’d be surprised at what a punch they can pack.
Couple that with the right kind of workout, and you’re going to be hitting every single muscle in your body. So that means major improvement in strength. Plus, as an added bonus, you’re going to be increasing your endurance, too.
Don’t believe us? Look back into the history of Russian bodybuilding. Since the year 1700 (yes there was a time before the ‘90’s) kettlebell workouts were incorporated into Russian’s bodybuilding routines. It was a key tool in the bodybuilding as well as the strong-lifting routines.
If you’ve ever heard the word ‘Girevik,’ this refers to extremely strong Russian men, the strongest of the strongest. And when you translate it, it actually means ‘kettlebell man.’
What Kind of Kettlebell Workouts Are There?
And there are a bunch of different ways to use the kettlebell to your advantage. Some people like to use certain kettlebell exercises as their top form for resistance training. If this is the case, these kinds of people generally lean more toward the heavier weights. On the other hand, there are people who like to use kettlebell workouts for an entire body circuit cardio. For this, they reach for the lighter weights but aim to do more reps.
What’s the best exercise to do? The answer – both. Both of these work fine for everyone. It mostly depends on what kind of results you want to get. If you’re going for more cardio-based workouts to burn calories, you’ll do the workouts with lighters weights but more reps. Or, if you want to focus on resistance training, stick with the heavier weights.
It probably goes without saying, but we’re big fans of the kettlebell. In fact, we push for kettlebell workouts to be incorporated into every single home exercise routine. So if you’re picking the home gym over the gym, make sure you’ve got kettlebells on hand and ready to go.
They’re so versatile and can be used for so many different exercises, yet there isn’t much to them. You won’t have an entire stack of kettlebells like you might have with weights or other pieces of equipment. Rather, you really only need anywhere from 2 to 6 kettlebells and you’re good to go.
How Do You Switch It Up With Kettlebell Workouts?
Kettlebells can be especially useful if you’re growing tired of the weightroom. You’re still going to build muscle and strength, even though you aren’t using weights.
So we want to go over the toughest, best kettlebell exercises you can use, And heads up, they’re killer.
First you’re going to step up with the double kettlebell squat. While this is easy to lie out in terms of words, it isn’t the easiest thing to do. And obviously, you need to kettlebells for this one. Basically, you are going to be doing squats with the two kettlebells right up by your shoulders.
In order to get started on the right foot, you want to clean them right into position. Then, get into the lowest squat you can, but keep your knees pointed out to the side, rather than keeping them face forward. You want to make sure your spine is nice and street, and stay stacked on right on top of your pelvis. You want to make sure you don’t let your shoulders slump forward, as you bring yourself back up and repeat the motion. You want to aim for going 15 to 20 squats.
The second killer workout with a kettlebell you’re going to do is the Turkish get-up.
Sounds interesting, right? Well, as interesting as they might be, they’re pretty tough, too. They do more than just build up your strength – they also help with any muscle imbalances you might have.
If you add these into your usual workout routine, you’re going to see a big gain in whatever area you’re doing, as well as other parts, because it helps each muscle group as a whole.
Here’s how it works –lay down and extend your arm straight, so it comes right in front of your chest. While you’re doing this, make sure your shoulders stay down, with your back flat right against the ground. Slowly bend your right knee in and bring up to your right shoulder so you’re able to prop yourself up on your left below. Carefully, sit up but keep your arm straight as you push the kettlebell up over your head. How you’re going to end up is with your right foot floor against the ground near where you’re sitting. Then push yourself up from your left elbow to your hand, while you straighten that arm and lift your chest.
And no you aren’t done yet. You’re about halfway through.
With your eyes focused on the weight, shift from one position right into the next one. Then swing your left leg back behind you so that you’re in a kneeling position. At this point, your right arm is still extended straight right above you. Stand yourself up by pushing with your right leg in order to pick that left knee up from the ground. Now you want to do as any of these as you can, without giving up form. You can repeat the same thing on the other side.
Third on the list is the kettlebell military press. You’re also going to start off this one by cleaning the kettlebell but here’s where things get different. You’re going to do both sides at the same time. As you press thekettlebells up over your head at the same time, you’re going to slightly lean forward. Then lower them down to where your shoulders are (slowly!) and do this for anywhere from 10 to 20 reps. This is going to be a lot harder than a military press with a bar because it’s a hell of a lot harder to move both of your hands at the same speed while you’re also keeping them steady.
Next up is the Kettlebell Push Up and as you might be able to guess, this is the best way to add some extra “Oomph” to your everyday push up. In order to make your push-ups a little bit more difficult, reach for the handles of two kettlebells. Because this gives you more of an unstable base, you’re going to be able to sink down into a much lower spot for a majorly increased range of motion. But here’s how we an help you kick it up a notch. Turn the kettlebells over and instead of resting your hands on the handle, rest your hands on the bottom.
When you rest your hands on the handle, you’re pushing up that instability amount. If you feel like it’s too stable, you can do shoulder taps at the top of your push up. Or, if you want to make sure your hips are level and your core is engaged, lift up one hand to the opposite shoulder. You don’t want to twist your body from side to side here, keep it straight. You can keep switching hands before you do another push-up. If you can, do 1 to 2 sets of 10 reps.
Fifth on our list is the kettlebell pistol squat. Because regular pistol squats aren’t impossible enough, we decided to add this one to the equation. Grab a kettlebell with both of your hands, and hold it out by the sides of the handles – or the horns if you want to get all technical. Then raise one of your legs off of the ground and squat down onto the other one. How? By flexing your knee and squatting with your hips. During this entire time, keep the kettlebell right up in front of you. Hold this position for about a minute, and then drive back up thru your heel, With your chest and your head staying up.
Like some of the other exercises we mentioned here, you’re going to start by cleaning the kettlebell. So this is going to have you in the position with the kettlebell right by your shoulder, with your palm facing outward. As you press the kettlebell up, keep it right above your shoulder and bend your knees down into the high lunge position. Your kettlebell should stay above your head as you straighten yourself up into standing position and lower the weight back down slowly. Go for 2 sets of 5 with these.
Russian Kettlebell Twist follows this one up. Even though you get to sit back for this exercise, this doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. Get started by putting your feet flat on the floor and bring your legs up so that your shins stay parallel with the ground. With both hands keeping the kettlebell nice and close to your chest, you can either use the handle or base as you lean back into a 45-degree angle. During this entire time, you want to keep your core engaged in order to remain steady. Then you want to twist at your waist, going left and right – make sure you don’t use your hips here. And use control in your core to bring the kettlebell from side to side.
If you don’t feel your obliques on fire, then there are certain things you can do to increase the difficulty. For example, hold the kettlebell further away from your chest. If you want to jump right to the hardest one, keep a v-shape, with your kegs straight out with your toes pointed up.
Do Kettlebell Workouts Actually Have An Impact?
Feeling the pain yet? With only one left on our list, you will!
Our last is the advanced kettlebell windmill. You’ve probably heard it before – having strong shoulders is going to help cut down on the likelihood of an injury while lifting. And this next exercise is going to give your shoulders some TLC while also giving your abs a much-needed challenge.
As you lift the kettlebell over your head in a press and clean, you want to flatten that free arm up against the small part of your back. Then shift your feet so they’re facing away from the kettlebell, as you lean your torso in the same direction.
Go as low as you can, using your hamstrings and glutes to push yourself back up. On each side, you should do 10 to 15.
Now let’s say you’ve read this entire thing….and you don’t have kettlebells. Or you want new ones. If you’re looking to grab some (and you’re probably itching to do it now after reading these killer exercises) then we suggest you go with either York’s or CAP’s. Not only are they affordable, but they’re also solid. But you won’t find your hands getting all blistered and sore. Because they have smooth finishes, and comfortable handles, it won’t feel like you’re putting yourself through torture.
After all, that’s what these exercises are for!
So add one, or two, or all of these exercises right into your everyday routine and you will find major improvements in all of your different areas, not just with kettlebells. So reach for those handles and get ready to feel the burn. You won’t be disappointed.
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