The kettlebell has quickly become a fitness program must have. Whether you work out at home, in a gym or with a personal trainer, this simple piece of equipment can make dramatic changes to your strength and fitness.
What is a Kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a cast iron ball with a rounded handle on one side. They were developed in Russia in the 1700’s and measured in Pood. Today, they’re generally measured in kilograms. You can find them beginning at around eight kilograms (which is about 17 pounds). They increase in weight to 24 kilograms (about 50 pounds).
Kettlebells can work one general muscle group or several muscle groups at once. Whenever you try a new exercise, begin with a light weight until you are sure your form is correct. Improper form can lead to injury.
The Kettlebell Swing
The standard kettlebell swing works your core muscles as well as your arm muscles and shoulders. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Bending at the hips, stick your backside out. Let the kettlebell fall between your legs. Using your hips and legs for momentum, swing the kettlebell to eye level.
As the kettlebell begins to respond to gravity and swing back down, bend your knees slightly, stick your backside out and don’t let your back round. Swing the kettlebell back up. You can swing it over your head as well but take care to not hurt your shoulders or to lose your grip on the weight.
Grabbing a kettlebell, place your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Hold the kettlebell upside down with the handle facing down. Keeping your weight in your heels, bend at the knees and lower your backside until your hips are at or below your knees. Your back should be straight and you want to look straight ahead. Stand up, squat and repeat. You’ll feel the movement in your quadriceps as well as your glutes and hamstrings.
The get up is a movement that begins on the floor. You’ll stand up, and then finish the movement on the floor. To begin, lie on the floor on your back. Using a light weight kettlebell, grab the weight in one hand. Hold it over your face and look up at it. Hold tight so you don’t drop it on your face. Bend the knee of the leg that is opposite the arm holding the kettlebell. Using the arm that isn’t holding the kettlebell, push yourself into a sitting position. Keep the kettlebell over your head. Stand up. The movement is half way completed when you’re standing and the kettlebell is still being held over your head. Your arm that is holding the kettlebell should be straight. Now reverse the movement until you’re lying back on the ground. Switch hands and repeat on the other side.
Kettlebells can also be used for any movement you’d use a dumbbell for. You can use them for shoulder presses, curls and even to add weight to sit-ups and crunches. They’re a great piece of equipment to add to your repertoire.
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