Have you recently looked around your gym and spotted those odd, bell-shaped weights? You know, those funny-looking weights with the handle on top?
If you don’t already know, they’re called kettlebells, and they’re one of the best training tools that you haven’t been utilizing!
The unique features of the kettlebell make them just as beneficial as dumbbells and also help work your grip strength and the ever so important core.
Where the two tools differ is in their application. Kettlebell training focuses more on full body movements rather than the isolation exercises commonly found with dumbbells.
Kettlebells can also help to increase your cardiovascular endurance and help you break away from those monotonous running routes or elliptical machines.
Next time you step foot in the gym, grab a pair of kettlebells and try these exercises!
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
The goblet squat is a variation of the back squat, holding the weight at chest level. After grabbing the kettlebell, set your feet shoulder width apart and turn your feet outward to about a 45 degree angle, preventing your knees from going inward.
Then, squat down as deep as you can and drive with your legs back into an upright position. The goblet squat will work all of your lower body muscles, while also focusing on core strength and working our arms/shoulders from holding the weight.
Try this exercise for 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps!
To start this exercise, stand upright and hold the kettlebell near your hips. From there, bend back from the hips and let the kettlebell go between your legs. Then, quickly explode your hips forward, letting the kettlebell swing to about eye level.
This movement should be continuous and it’s important that the weight is not so heavy that it compromises proper form. Kettlebell swings work your hamstrings, lower back, core and grip and are also a great tool to help increase cardiovascular endurance.
Try performing this exercise for 4-5 sets of 8 reps for each set, taking a 15 second break between sets to really push your cardio.
And, if you’re up for more of a challenge, try them using just one arm!
The kettlebell clean is another full-body explosive exercise. Start with the kettlebell in the middle of your legs, with your legs shoulder width apart. From here, extend your legs and hips and raise the kettlebell near your shoulders.
To finish the movement, catch the kettlebell at the shoulder in the front rack position in a quarter squat while rotating your wrist (be aware, the kettlebell will hit your wrist) and then back to the floor to repeat the exercise.
This is an intermediate movement, so it may take a while to master. But once you get it down, make sure to include it in your kettlebell routine.
Try a simple 3 sets of 4-5 reps when first starting out.
Kettlebell Push Press
This is an explosive exercise that really works the shoulders. To start, you want to hold 2 kettlebells at shoulder height. From there, perform a quick dip (about a quarter squat) and drive out of this position by extending the legs and hips quickly into a shoulder press by extending the arms overhead all in one movement.
It is important that this exercise is performed in one fluid motion. Break it down into segments when learning the form. Once you have mastered this exercise, try it with one kettlebell or up the weight to really get the most out of the exercise.
Try this in 3-4 set of 6-8 repetitions.
Next time you’re at the gym, give the kettlebells a shot. But, most importantly, stick with them for an extended period of time. They are one of the best overlooked training tools and will help you achieve noticeable progress toward your fitness goals.
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