An introduction to kettlebell workouts
If you’re anything like me, half your New Year resolutions are already broken! Every year mine include getting fitter. We all know that exercise is a good thing to do, right?
Possibly because it’s hard to find the perfect all-in-one fitness tool suitable for every athlete, regardless of skill level. Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s one specific piece of exercise equipment which will give you a great full-body workout and it’s suitable for anyone. It’s easy to use, will help you build muscle and will improve your cardiovascular and strength training immeasurably….
Introducing the Kettlebell
The kettlebell is a U-shaped handle attached to a ball-shaped weight. It’s designed so the centre of gravity is constantly shifting depending on which movements you’re engaged in. That’s why it’s a little more difficult than dumbbell training but also why it’s considered more effective as a total-body training workout.
Since the centre of gravity shifts, you’ll be building extra stability in your core and shoulders. Lifts such as snatches and presses really work your shoulders while the kettlebell swing and clean have a lower focus. Arrange your routines to focus on the areas you’d most like to work on.
Should I Warm Up?
Warming up is an essential element of your exercise routine as it prevents injury. The Australian Physiotherapy Association says that one of the best ways to warm up is to spend 5-10 minutes doing some brisk walking or jogging. Some light stretching before you begin is always advisable too.
New Australian research has revealed that our muscles and other organs communicate with each other (through vesicles) during exercise. So, it’s incredibly important to keep this healthy communication happening through engagement in healthy activities. Light exercise lets your body know that something strenuous may be on its way.
Moderate strength efforts + cardiovascular stress + good form = metabolic conditioning
A kettlebell exercise is only as good as the form you use for it. Since most kettlebell workouts are ballistic - they operate under the force of gravity – you need to move with confidence but don’t overtax yourself.
Different lifts need different weights so you can’t simply grab any size kettlebell. You should aim for something which works within your weight range and also acts well for the type of lift you’re going to engage in.
Pat Flynn, the author of Racked and Loaded says, “I do not tolerate sloppy reps, and you shouldn’t either. Make your last rep as clean, crisp, and fluid as your first.
- PICKING IT UP OR HOLDING IT INCORRECTLY – Don’t hug the kettlebell too close to your chest. Kettlebell swings are about momentum, and to start a swing move, you can’t grab from directly between your legs. Stand with feet wider than hip width and cradle the kettlebell with both hands.
- SWINGING THE KETTLEBELL TOO AGGRESSIVELY – When holding the kettlebell, control the movement, don’t round your back and lean too far in.
- LEANING BACK TOO FAR – Can be just as damaging to the spine as leaning too far in.
- TILTING YOUR SHOULDERS – Doing left-hand or right-hand single-arm kettlebell swings often make people tilt their weighted shoulder too far forward.
Kettlebell training is fantastic for improving heart rate and core strength of certain muscle groups but must be done with due diligence paid to form and physical limits.