A Timeless Classic Makes a Comeback: The Best Kettlebell Training
Kettlebells have been around for a while. They’re basically a small cannonball with a handle, and the Russians have been using them for strength training for several decades.
It seems that segment of society that works out (yeah, you!) has caught on and realizes what an excellent piece of exercise equipment it can be.
We’re going to explain what kettlebells are as well as highlight some of the best kettlebell training regimens that a multitude of fitness folks are utilizing today.
First of all, let’s paint a simple picture on the modern version of the kettlebell, because they’re no longer the crude picture you might have of a cast iron or steel ball with a looped handle. Kettlebells are more high tech now, and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and weights, the perfect accompaniment to any exercise regimen.
What Are Kettlebells, and Which One Should I Use for a Kettlebell Training?
Modern kettlebells are sleeker, more colorful versions of their old school counterparts. Handle width varies, the kettlebells are usually adorned with a rubberized cover (of different colors) and the handles normally have grips for comfort. Sizes vary, as you can use sizes from as light as 4 kg (8.8 pounds) to 24 kg (53 pounds).
For the best kettlebell training, you’ll need to figure out what size you’ll need. For a general workout, you probably don’t need to worry about using the heavier kettlebells. But if your kettlebell training is one that is focusing on strength or weight training, then the size does matter.
The Best Kettlebell Workouts to Get Started With
Let’s switch gears and check out a few workouts you might want to try.
A real basic and simple kettlebell exercise for beginners requires a lighter kettlebell, say a pair 4 kg (about 9 pounds). In a standing position with knees slightly bent (shoulder-length apart), place the kettlebells a few inches in front of your feet.
Bend down and pick up each kettlebell (palms up and elbows close to your body with your back as straight as possible) and lift towards the stomach. Do 10-15 repetitions. Feel the burn (cue the theme from ‘Rocky’)!
A very popular exercise goes back to the old days, the kettlebell swing. It’s actually called the ‘Russian swing’.
With legs shoulder-length apart, in a broad jump like crouch, you’ll swing the kettlebell (a single kettlebell, so maybe use a heavier one like an 8 kg, or 17 pounds) below the groin area (be careful) and swing it up between the chest area to the shoulders, trying to keep your arms as straight as possible.
Thrust the hips, and this is important, as this workout is excellent for the posterior chain of muscles.
A similar version of this, the ‘American swing’, uses the exact same exercise, but with a twist. Just add a variation to the ‘Russian swing’ by extending the swing overhead instead of shoulder high.
For one more, try the ‘Snatch’. Hold the kettlebell in one hand, lower it to just below the groin area, and swing it overhead then hold it for a moment, and repeat. To make it tougher? Try starting the exercise with the kettlebell on the ground, and a crazy-hard version, add a lunge to the routine. Normally, anywhere from 8-15 repetitions makes for a nice regimen.