What is a Kettlebell?
The kettlebell originated in Russia in the 18th century as a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops. It was then seen to be used by circus strongmen in the 19th century.
The kettlebell is made up of the bell which is a round ball shaped weight and a handle connected to the bell on both top corners known as the ‘’horns’. The unique design provides an unstable force which is the key for effectiveness in kettlebell exercises.
Killer Kettlebell Moves
The Kettlebell Swing
This is a full body exercise that builds strength, posture, cardio capacity and athletic ability. Making sure you choose a weight you can swing with good form is very important. While many may think the swing comes from the arms, but it in fact comes from the legs, hips and glutes, your arms are simply an extension of the rest of your body. The force of your hips will throw the weight upwards.
To complete a kettlebell swing, place the weight on the floor between you feet, squat down and grab the handle with both hands stand up with your back straight, and shoulders back. To initiate the swing throw the weight back through your legs, hinging at the hips and drive forwards with your hips, squeezing the glutes and the weight should drive upwards.
The Kettlebell Squat
This is a great exercise for strengthening your lower body. It’s a great exercise for beginners as the kettlebell helps keep you balanced and shifts the weight from your back to the front of your torso meaning there is less strain on your spine.
Standing up straight, holding the kettlebell either by the horns of the main bell part itself, with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly out. Drive your bum back, knees out, keeping your chest up and squat to just below parallel then drive back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
The Kettlebell Deadlift
This is a great all around exercise that will help you build strength, muscle and improve your athletic performance. The deadlift is a hinge movement as opposed to a squat movement meaning your break at the hips rather than the knees.
Some key cues for the deadlift are that you should keep a neutral spine, imagine you have a tennis ball underneath your chin to keep your neck neutral, so it shouldn’t always necessarily be looking straight ahead. This is important to keep the core engaged.
To perform the deadlift place the kettlebell between your feet, feet should be about shoulder width apart, hinge at the hips as if you’re pushing your bum back – you should feel the tension on your hamstrings. Holding onto the kettlebell with both hands, engage the lats and core and stand up, squeezing the glutes at the top.
The Kettlebell Clean
This is another full body exercise that can be used for both strength and conditioning. It is a slightly more technical exercise but is really beneficial when executed correctly.
Place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet, squat down with one arm extended out to the side, the other hand grabbing the kettlebell. Pull the weight to elbow height, keeping it close to your body, drop your elbow underneath it to catch the kettlebell at shoulder height, to soften the kettlebells landing, slightly bend your knees into a squat and stand up straight.
Need a quick workout?
Why not combine these four exercises together into a 15 minute workout. Do each of the four exercise for 60 seconds each then take 60 seconds rest so you’re working for 4 mins and resting for 1 minute. Complete this three times for a great workout in 15 minutes! No excuses that you can’t fit in a workout!