- Exercise & Fitness
An Introduction to Kettlebell
What is Kettlebell?
A kettlebell workout is fairly recent training method that has been garnering a lot of positive attention, and for a good reason. The dynamic movements coupled with the minimal rest period in between movements adds up to maximum calorie burn in the minimal time. Kettlebell workouts challenges muscles all over the body, resulting in an incredibly toned and fit physique. It shatters the mold on classic weight-training exercise circuits, creating a fun and challenging workout that will catapult a fitness level to the next level.
One of the best aspects of kettlebell training programs is its inherent simplicity. No other equipment is required beyond the kettlebell itself, along with a space to swing it in. Kettlebells are cast iron, ball-shaped weights that have a handle for swinging. Their weight varies, ranging from five to one hundred pounds. Once a few basic moves are mastered, kettlebell training programs can easily be tailored to meet a wide range of fitness levels simply by adjusting the weight of the kettlebell. Kettlebell targets balance, stretches the endurance, and hones agility, making it the exercise program of choice for those who wish to achieve results fast.
Some Basic Kettlebell Workout Moves
Once a few basic kettlebell moves are mastered, a more advanced workout can be achieved by simply switching to a heavier kettlebell. Of the many kettlebell moves that have been developed, three will be discussed today, which, when worked into a single routine, provide a total-body challenge.
First up: The Windmill
The Windmill should be the first move to reach for in the kettlebell toolbox. It targets the major muscle groups in the shoulders, back, abs, and hips. As with any exercise, the more muscle groups that are targeted, the more effective the exercise is. To begin, hold the kettlebell in one hand, keeping one's arms at the sides. Bend the elbow and rest the weighted hand on the opposite forearm. Switch hands, and repeat the move.
Next: The Slingshot
The next move, called the slingshot, targets different muscles in the same groups (the shoulder, the back, the arms and the abs). To complete this move, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, extending arms in front at waist level. Holding the kettlebell in both hands, release one hand slowly to hold the kettlebell with one hand. Bring the dropped arm back up, repeat the move on the other side. Remember to keep arms extended, and elbows locked at the top.
Finally: The Two-Handed Swing
The final move discussed here is the Two-Handed Swing. This move adds challenges to the lower quadrant of the body, including the hips, butt, and legs. To begin, stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and sink into a squat position. Holding the kettlebell with both hands, slowly rise from squat position to bring the kettlebell up to shoulder height, using a swinging motion.
A kettlebell workout can be easily worked into a balanced fitness routine that rotates between cardio sessions and strength training exercises. Because a kettlebell workout integrates aspects of cardio and strength training, it can be done in 30 minute intervals, three times a week, and will garner excellent results within a short time frame.
That's It: Get Moving!
Now that you know some of the basic moves, you can ease into a kettlebell workout, and soon you'll be swinging like a pro. As with any exercise, be sure to consult your physician before you begin the program, in order to ensure that it's right for you. In addition, LISTEN to your body: if something hurts, STOP, before a more serious injury occurs. Work out smart, and you will be able to work out hard.