The kettlebell is up there with dumbbells and barbells when it comes essential equipment that will shred that body into shape. In a small space at home, kettlebell exercises give you a highly effective full body workout. A kettlebell workout also improves coordination and activates a range of muscle groups in a short time. Even a 20-minute exercise program at home burns more than 300 calories.
From Russia with love, sweat and tears
The kettlebell is a ball with a flattened bottom and a handle. It probably originally came from Russia, where it was mainly used for circus performances. The military later recognized the benefits of the kettlebell. It is still an integral part of training in many special units worldwide. Security personnel, martial arts and strength athletes also keep fit with the kettlebell. For several years now, the kettle ball has been an essential piece of training equipment in gyms all around the world. It’s guaranteed to bring out your best in a crushing session.
The kettlebell training
Kettlebells keep on giving
Kettlebell exercises are the perfect full body workout, especially if you have a confined space at home. In contrast to dumbbells, kettlebell exercises don’t target muscle groups in isolation, because you’re working entire muscle chains with the swinging movements. While this doesn’t lead to massive muscle growth, it does develop a defined and well-trained physique. The kettlebell workout is particularly effective for your core and can also effectively prevent and eliminate back, neck and shoulder pain.
Let’s talk kettlebell kilos
Choosing the right weight depends entirely on your individual fitness level. Kettlebells come in weights ranging from 2-32kgs. If you haven’t trained for a while you should start with a weight of 2-4kg. The average fit person can lift between 6-20kgs.
Get kitted up for kettlebell
Most kettlebell exercises are about getting the kettlebells really swinging so sturdy shoes really help. Wearing light running shoes, or no shoes, means there’s a lack of grip and stability, especially with slightly higher weights. If you want to get serious about kettlebell, think about buying weightlifting shoes. They’re slightly raised on the heels to enable better power transition.
Kettlebell exercises also put a lot of pressure on the palms of your hands, which may cause calluses. You can use gloves or strapping to protect your hands.
Blast these kettlebell workouts
As a guide, beginners should work with the rep or time variant first, so you build a good base. Advanced and professionals can go straight to the circuit training.
Repetition method: 3 x 6-12 reps per exercise with a 60 second break. Do a total of 4-6 exercises.
Time method: 3 x 30- 60 seconds load per exercise with 30-60 seconds break. Do a total of 4-6 exercises.
Circuit training: 30 seconds of exercise with 30 seconds of rest. Switch to the next exercise and again 30 seconds exercise and 30 seconds rest. After each round of 4-6 exercises, take a 3-5 minute break. Depending on your fitness level, run through the circuit 3 to 5 times.
Kettlebell exercises for beginners
Which killer kettlebell exercises can I start with?
It’s best to train 2-3 times a week on non-consecutive days. After 6-8 weeks, you’ll have built up a solid base and be much more confident handling the kettlebell.
6 epic exercises for beginners.
1. Squat with kettlebell
Targets the buttocks and thigh muscles as well as the back, shoulder and biceps
Grab the handles of the kettlebell with both hands and hold them close to your chest. Stand between hip and shoulder width with your feet turned about 30 degrees outwards. Then crouch down with your back straight and toes pointing straight ahead, push yourself up again without going into full extension.
2. Deadlift or deadlift with a kettlebell
Targets all back muscles, the core and glutes
Stand hip-width apart and upright in front of the kettlebell, which is between your feet. Push your buttocks back and bend forward with your back straight as you grab the kettlebell with both hands. Straighten up a little, raising the kettlebell from floor. Then slowly straighten up and bend down again without the weight touching the floor again.
3. Overhead press with kettlebell
Targets the entire upper body with deep muscles, the shoulder, neck and arm muscles
Grab the kettlebell in one hand and bring it to your shoulder. The elbow is under the wrist. Stand hip-width apart, bend your knees very slightly and build body tension. Then lift the kettlebell over your head until your arm is fully extended. Lower the kettlebell again up to your shoulder and switch sides.
4. Floor press with kettlebell
Targets the shoulder, triceps and chest muscles
Lying on your back with your knees bent, hold the kettlebell with one hand and place your elbow on your side. From this position, push the kettlebell upwards, as you would with a bench press, and then lower it again without touching the floor with your elbow. Change sides.
5. Swing with kettlebell
Targets all your back muscles as well as the glutes and shoulder muscles
Holding a kettlebell with both hands, stand up straight with your arms front of your body. Then crouch with your back straight and buttocks stretched out backwards. From this position, set the kettlebell vibrating by guiding it backwards through your legs and then swinging it upwards by straightening your legs. The movement comes from your hips. Bring the kettlebell up to about chest height. Not higher. Then back down through your legs and crouch down.
6. One-armed rowing with a kettlebell
Targets shoulder, arm and back muscles
Step into the lunge placing the bent leg in front next to the kettlebell, which you grab with one hand. Then pull the weight up to your chest with the elbow above your hand. Lower again
Advanced kettlebell exercises
Kettlebell exercises to shred an amazing shape
If you’ve been training consistently for 6-8 weeks, it’s time to kick it up a gear with four new exercises. Let’s take your kettlebells skills to the next level.
1. Lunges with the kettlebell
Targets the buttocks, thighs and trunk muscles as well as sharpening coordination skills.
Grab the kettlebell with both hands, with the handle pointing downwards, and bring it in front of your chest. Stand up straight then take a long lunge step forward with the back knee almost touching the ground. Then push up again. Change sides.
2¦ One- legged deadlift with kettlebell
Trains the hip and back muscles as well as the entire trunk and coordination skills
You stand upright and hold a kettlebell that you hold on the side of your body. Then you shift your weight onto one leg, bend your straight upper body forward while at the same time stretching the other leg backwards. The dumbbell is moved slightly forward. Stand up again and change sides.
3. One-hand swing with kettlebell
Trains the entire back muscles with deep muscles as well as the buttocks, shoulder and arm muscles
Stand upright with feet hip-width apart. Grab the kettlebell with one hand, holding it by your side. Then set the kettlebell vibrating by moving your hips and upper body.
4. Pushing with the kettlebell
Targets the entire shoulder, arm, trunk, glutes and leg muscles
Grabbing the kettlebell so the ball is on the outside of the forearm, guide it to the shoulder with your arm bent. Arms and elbows should be close to the body. Stand with feet hip-width apart and your upper body upright. Then crouch down slightly pushing yourself up with momentum, while at the same time stretching your arm with the kettlebell. Then lower it again in one flowing movement. Change sides.
Kettlebell exercises for pros
Brace yourself for the kings of kettlebell exercises
If you’re in great shape and can handle the kettlebell like a legend, let’s get serious. Here are 4 exercises that will get you sweating and you muscles rippling.
1. Snatch with the kettlebell
Targets the glutes, core, shoulder and arm muscles.
This exercise is similar to the one-armed overhead pull with a dumbbell. For this one it’s important you have mastered the kettlebell swing safely. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, crouch with your back straight and grip the kettlebell with one hand. Lift the kettlebell off the floor, swinging it through your legs at the back, then moving it forward and up with a strong hip movement. At chest height, let your arm stretch all the way up. Once at the top, let the kettlebell roll over your hand so it rests on your forearm. Then lower it again with the momentum swinging it through your legs. Change sides.
2. One-sided front squats with kettlebell
Targets the thighs, glutes, trunk and shoulder muscles
Standing with your feet a little more than shoulder width, grab a kettlebell and bring it to chest height. The weight should be on the forearm. Then do deep squats, bringing your knees straight over your slightly angled feet. Hold down briefly, then straighten up again without stretching your legs completely. Change sides.
3. Alternating shoulder presses with kettlebells
Trains the trunk, shoulder and arm muscles
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, the tips of your feet point slightly outwards and then you bend your knees very slightly. You take a kettlebell in each hand and bend your elbow so that the weight rests on your upper arm. From this position you alternately stretch one arm towards the ceiling and lower it again in a controlled manner.
4. High pulls with kettlebell
Targets the thigh, buttock, trunk, shoulder and arm muscles
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the kettlebell sitting between your feet. Crouch with your back straight and grab the handle with both hands. The backs of the hands should point forward. From this position push yourself upright in using the upward momentum to bring the weight close to the body up to the chin. The elbows should point downwards. Then lower it back down.