The world of kettlebell training can be daunting for beginners to strength and conditioning training. But don’t fret! With our guide, you will be able to understand kettlebell exercises better and how they can be included in your workout rotation.
What Is The Kettlebell?
The kettlebell is a spherical free weight with a flat base and an arched handle. It resembles a giant metallic ball with a handle or a teapot without the spout, therefore the English name “kettlebell.” Kettlebells are typically constructed using cast iron or steel.
The kettlebell is used for various workouts, particularly ballistic exercises that incorporate a mix of cardiovascular, explosive, and flexibility type training. Kettlebells have slowly gained mainstream acceptance over the years. What was previously thought of as an inferior alternative to the barbell, they are now seen as a great tool to build athletic performance. Many martial arts and weight lifting gyms around the world now incorporate kettlebell training in their programs.
A Flexible Approach To Working Out
The great thing about the kettlebell is its flexibility of use. Using a single kettlebell alone can mean that you can work almost every part of the body. Combine kettlebell training with calisthenics, and you can build a functional and robust body very quickly! This is the reason why many martial arts gyms swear by the humble kettlebell — you don’t have to be super jacked to be a combat athlete. It is actually preferred by most coaches that you work on functional movements that can translate to your sport.
It is recommended that you start with 1 kettlebell, using a moderate weight. You can then proceed to 2 kettlebell exercises once you are familiar with the most common movements.
What Weight Should I Buy?
While there is no standard weight for beginners. However, it is usually recommended that if you’re a male, start with 35 pounds (16 kilograms), and if you’re a lady, start with 18-20 pounds (8-9 kilograms). This can, of course, change depending on the practitioner’s age, size, and overall health. Feel free to adjust as needed, keeping in mind that you should up the weight as you progress.
10 Best Kettlebell Exercises
After understanding how the kettlebell works, it’s time to get moving. Here are our 10 best kettlebell exercises that beginners can do.
1) Kettlebell Swing
Start by standing straight with your legs slightly bent. Make sure that your stance is shoulder-width apart to ensure good balance throughout the movement. Grab the kettlebell handle using both hands. Bend your hips back, keeping an arch in your lower back until the kettlebell goes past between the legs. Keep your hips straight and swing the weight up by clenching your buttocks. As you extend your hips and gently bend your knees, let the weight drop back down between your legs. Do this for 8-15 reps.
2) Kettlebell Press
Start by lifting the kettlebell with one hand, place it close to your shoulders. This is the starting position. Press the weight overhead with a vertical forearm. Note that your chin should be pulled back so that weight has no trouble clearing it. Slowly lower the weight and go back to placing the kettlebell near your shoulder. Do this for 8-15 reps before switching to the other hand.
3) Kettlebell One-Arm Row
Start by placing the kettlebell on the floor. Approach the weight by doing a staggered stance with knees slightly bent. Now grab the kettlebell and work on raising it near your rib cage. You should feel this on your mid back. Slowly lower it down and do this for 8-15 reps before switching to the other hand.
4) Kettlebell Halo (Upper)
Grab the kettlebell (with the bell facing up) by the handle using both hands – this is your starting position. Place the kettlebell near your chest. Now lift the kettlebell over your head in a clockwise direction, return to the starting position. Do this for 8-15 reps, and then do it counterclockwise.
5) Kettlebell Halo (Lower)
Also known as the “Around the World”. This is similar to the shoulder-raised version but is now done near the hip. Start by grabbing the kettlebell using one hand. Then pass the kettlebell from one hand to the other while keeping your torso braced and upright. Do this for 8-15 reps, and then do it counterclockwise.
6) Kettlebell Deadlift
Bend your knees into a squat posture, then hold the kettlebell with both hands. The neutral posture of your spine should be maintained so that you can focus on the core. Next is to brace your buttocks and lift the kettlebell while your arms are fully extended. End the lift by standing upright with the weight placed directly in front of you. Do this for 8-15 reps.
7) Upright Row
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab the kettle using both hands. Raise the kettlebell starting with the elbows until the hands are just around the collar bone. Lower the weight gradually until you reach the beginning position. Take note to spread your grip as far as possible as a close grip might cause shoulder impingement. Do this for 8-15 reps.
8) Kettlebell Curl
Grab the kettlebell by the handle using both hands and placing it near your chest. Slowly lower the weight while keeping your elbow close to your side. Complete the rep by raising the weight back up and putting the kettlebell near the front of your body. Do this for 8-15 reps.
9) Goblet Squat
Start by grabbing the kettlebell by the handle. Make sure to keep the weight close to your body and your elbows tight. Now do a squat while bracing your core. Make sure that you focus on form while doing this exercise. Do this for 8-15 reps.
10) Squat to Curl
This is a combination of the last 2 exercises. Grab the kettlebell by the handle using both hands and placing it near your chest. Perform a squat by lowering your body while keeping the kettlebell near your chest. Do a bicep curl at the bottom of the squat by lowering the weight and raising it back up. Complete the rep by standing up to the starting position. Do this for 8-15 reps.
This list is created with the beginner in mind. Exercises such as the Turkish Get-Up and Snatch are also highly beneficial but not recommended to absolute beginners as their movements require more steps. Work on mastering the 10 exercises first and then proceed to other movements as you improve your technique.
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