Kettlebell Workouts: Tips, Tricks, and More!
Kettlebell Workouts: Tips, Tricks, and More!
Kettlebells are one of the most versatile and useful tools we have at our disposal in the gym. Their unique handle makes them great for various workouts, and they can help you achieve a wide range of different fitness goals.
The strongmen of the 1800s initially used kettlebells to train muscles and get a physique worth showing off at the circus. But today, these incredibly effective cannonballs with handles are not used nearly as much as they should be.
In this article, you’ll find out why kettlebell workouts can be so good for you, and you’ll learn some specific kettlebell workouts to try. Keep reading if you want to unlock a new workout type that will increase muscle, strength, and endurance.
Kettlebells have various uses in the gym, from beginners just starting out, to seniors trying to improve their health, to seasoned gym veterans trying to build even more muscle.
Form is everything in the gym. If you aren’t careful with it, not only will you work the wrong muscles and build potentially imbalanced muscle mass, but you could also increase your risk for injury.
Kettlebell workouts are great ways to practice the movement of some of the heavier lifting exercises to solidify form before going to those squats, deadlifts, or other exercises with a heavier load. Doing the exercise at lightweight allows you to make those movements in your hips, hamstrings, or quadriceps into muscle memory before grabbing a dumbbell.
But form is also critical for gym-goers who do squats and deadlifts all the time. Every once in a while, you should go back to basics and reestablish good form. Kettlebell exercises can be a good form refresher every so often so you can stay safe while you get your gains and improve your stability.
Range of Movement
Kettlebells also are great for increasing your range of movement. Kettlebell exercises are mostly compound movement exercises, meaning they don’t isolate one joint or muscle. They combine several, like your abs, torso, biceps and upper body, upper back, and legs.
This makes for a more functional movement in the workout, more applicable to real-life movements. These exercises can help increase your mobility and help your body perform better in your sport or your work around the house.
Of course, lifting kettlebell weights will increase your muscle strength and help increase your muscle mass. The basic principle of muscle gain is that your body will overcome resistance when required to do so.
That means if you regularly put it through resistance (weight lifting) that breaks down your muscle fibers, your body will build them back thicker and stronger so that you can complete the movement the next time.
Aerobic exercise helps your body increase the amount of oxygen it can take in and use for energy. Most of the time, aerobic exercise is cardio, like running, swimming, or rowing.
But kettlebells present a new type of aerobic exercise. A 2019 study showed that kettlebell exercises are effective at increasing aerobic capacity and muscle strength simultaneously. They help you kill two fitness goals with one stone. Kettlebell exercises can improve your overall exercise health, not just parts of it.
Understanding The Risks
As with any form of exercise, there are some risks associated with kettlebell usage. The risks are fairly minimal, though, and you will most likely stay safe if you focus on good form.
The most obvious risk is injury. If you don’t have proper form in kettlebell exercises, you could really injure yourself. For example, if you arch your back on a kettlebell goblet squat, you put yourself at risk for a lower back injury. Holding a kettlebell incorrectly could also lead to a wrist injury.
You also don’t want to lift too much weight too soon. If you attempt to lift too much weight, you may put yourself at risk for muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, and falls.
And, of course, there’s the obvious risk of dropping a kettlebell on your foot. As long as you’re careful and focused on what you’re doing, you should be able to reduce your risk of injury.
Kettlebell exercises can also be hard on the joints. The pressure from the additional weight puts stress on your joints and can cause some pain.
If you’re struggling with joint discomfort, try Instaflex to help support your joint health. It help can deliver relief to your achey joints.
Now let’s get to what you came here for: the exercises! These kettlebell exercises will work all sorts of different muscle groups so you can get a full-body workout with one key piece of equipment.
The most basic kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing. Place your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Grab the kettlebell with two hands by the handle. Then push with your legs into the ground and stand up, swinging the kettlebell forward with straight arms to about eye level or shoulder height without bringing the kettlebell overhead.
Then return to the starting position (a squat), and swing the kettlebell through your legs. Repeat the movements in succession without letting the kettlebell lose momentum. Make sure you keep your back straight and your eyes forward.
This works your quads and glutes from the squat, your core from the balance, and your shoulders from the swinging.
Thrusters are similar to squats but with a little twist. Grab one kettlebell in your right hand and one in your left hand, and rest them on the backs of your shoulders. Get into a squat position, feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent so your femur is level with the ground, back straight, eyes up.
Stand upwards from your squat, driving the kettlebells into the sky, fully extending your forearms. Then come back down to the starting position and repeat. You get all the benefits of squats with the added benefit of an arm workout.
Lay down on a bench with your head at the very end. Grab a kettlebell and hold it with two hands by the base of the grip on each side. Lift it straight up in the air, right above your chest, and don’t bend your elbows.
Flatten your back against the bench, and slowly lower the kettlebell behind your head, keeping your arms straight; once your arms are in line with your body, squeeze your lats and bring the kettlebell back to starting position. This can work your lats and improve your grip strength really well if you do them right, and you’ll feel a little bit in your triceps as well from keeping your arms straight.
Pistol squats will give you an amazing burn in your quads. Grab the kettlebell with two hands and hold it close to your chest, just under your chin.
Then, stand on one leg, and lower yourself into a squat, standing on one leg the whole time, not letting the other one touch the ground. Your elevated leg should be straight out in front of you. When squatting on your left leg, extend your right leg, and vice versa.
Push through your heel to stand back up again and repeat the motion for eight to twelve reps. Then switch to the other leg. Obviously, this works your legs with the squat, but your core will be really engaged to keep yourself balanced on one foot, and your arms will get a good workout holding that kettlebell in place.
This incredibly adaptable tool is one of the most useful things in the gym. If you’re not already acquainted with these weights, you need to change that. The best kettlebell exercises can bring a great change to your exercise routine, boost your heart rate, and improve your strength and your aerobic capacity all in one.
And if you need help with your joint health so you can get back into the gym, Instaflex can be just the thing you need to help you get into the gym and reap the benefits of kettlebells.