Kettlebell Training: The Basics and Benefits
Written by Joe Vennare
Kettlebell training promotes the development of lean muscle and strength while revving up the metabolism. For anyone looking to develop lean and tone muscle, while torching away stubborn body fat, kettlebell training is the ideal exercise solution.
Kettlebell training fits into the busiest of lifestyles. By training multiple muscle groups at the same time, kettlebell training provides more significant benefits than traditional exercise programs in a fraction of the time. Exercises like the kettlebell swing engage the entire body, increasing the heart rate and teaching the body to work as one unit, instead of isolated muscles. Training with kettlebells, it is possible to reshape your body with three 20 minute workouts each week.
Unlike typical strength training programs and stationary exercise machines that are designed to increase muscular size. Interval and circuit based kettlebell workouts create lean and tone muscles, while burning up to 20 calories per minute. This type of exercise improves overall fitness levels and reflects the demands we put on our bodies during everyday activities.
Training the Core
There is no need to do “floor work” when using a kettlebell. With a focus on functional exercises that engage the core with every fat burning repetition, you can reveal your 6-pack without doing a single “crunch”. It is the hips and core, not the arms or upper body that are used to move the kettlebell. Using the larger muscles of the lower body, including the quads, glutes, hamstrings and core, you are able to move more weight and burn more calories.
Using the large muscles of the lower body and entire core strengthens and defines the abdominals, while increasing the metabolism allowing the body to burn stubborn belly fat.
When done correctly, kettlebell training is suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Instead of jumping into an “elite” form of kettlebell training that focuses on the amount of weight lifted or the number of repetitions completed for time, use a kettlebell for functional movements, completed with proper form, to safely improve strength and cardiovascular performance.
Start your training with the kettlebell swing. Keep in mind the legs and hips, not the arms or upper body are used to propel the kettlebell through the swing. Power is created by driving through the heels, using the large muscles of the lower body including the quads, glutes, hamstrings and core.
Begin in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart, chest up, shoulders back and down, core flexed, back arched (not rounded) with a slight knee bend, and weight distributed to the heels of your feet.
- Grip the kettlebell with both hands over top of the handle.
- Sink into a squat with the weight between the legs. Keep the torso upright, the abs braced and the arms loose. At the bottom of the movement shift your weight back onto your heels.
- Standing up from the squatted position, use your hips to propel the weight to hip level.
- Engaging the hips and core, swing the weight up higher until you reach shoulder level. Focus on using your hips and legs to move the weight, rather than your arms.
When you begin kettlebell training, it is a good idea to practice kettlebell swings in addition to your normal workouts. Then, when you are comfortable with the movements begin to increase weight and attempt more difficult kettlebell exercise routine [link kettlebell exercise routine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YhzbDVj6P0&feature=relmfu].
When you have perfected the swing form, try this workout.
2 rounds, 30 seconds each
Body Weight Squat
Arm Circles (forward /backward, large/small)
Alternate Lunge (each leg)
20x Kettlebell Swing
20x Dumbbell Plank Row
20x Dumbbell Squat and Press
Rest @ 30 sec max.
About the Author: Joe Vennare is Co-founder/Director of Programming at Hybrid Athlete