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They were first used by Russians as counterweights when measuring out goods, and then some old-timey strongmen started to juggle, press, and swing them around for entertainment. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s essentially how the kettle bell became a staple in gym culture.
Although we don’t recommend dressing up in loincloths and haphazardly tossing weights overhead, there are many benefits to a good kettle bell workout. For one, the thick handle that attaches to the cast iron base will challenge your grip more than a dumbbell or barbell.
This means you can perform more explosive and dynamic movements with kettle bells compared to their iron counterparts. You also can get a lot of work done in a tight space, so kettle bells are perfect for small home gyms or apartments.
They’re ideal for explosive exercises that work major muscles, burn body fat, and build power. They also add a new dimension to classic moves like chest presses and flies.
This extra muscle activity means your body burns more calories. Couple that with exercises that target the whole body, and you have a formula for significant fat loss.
Choose a weight that allows you to complete 12-15 reps for each exercise. Read articleWorkout Routines With minor tweaks and subtle changes to your exercise form, you can be sure to finish your chest training on a high note...
I think we can all agree that there are not enough CrossFit Words utilizing those door stoppers in the gym called Kettle bells, I’m here to change that. I’ve created a challenging full body workout utilizing kettle bells.
The first part of the Won will challenge every muscle in your body, it requires coordination and planning, as you don’t want to be messing about placing the kettle bells in position. This part will leave you feeling like you usually do at the end of a Won, but the great thing is, it’s not over yet, we’re just getting started.
That’s when the Swings come in, you want to test your skills, 6 minutes is a good time to show you’ve mastered the Swing and complete the six minutes without putting the weight down, pick your weight wisely, not too heavy, but definitely not too light or you won’t get the required resistance you need to properly utilize and activate the lower-body. You want to pick the weight that will leave you struggling to get that one hundred and fiftieth rep out, and then you collapse on the floor, wondering who took your arms.
I’ll do my best to give you the main pointers on each exercise, but be aware, this article does not cover all intricacies involved with kettle bell training. Now, I don’t know about you, but I like to see or hear where everyone is at, also like to keep everyone honest, I do that with a whiteboard to put a mark down for every round completed.
Once the kettle bells are overhead, you want to achieve a good lockout by pushing the chest out, pulling your shoulder blades down, and engaging your triceps. Lower your kettle bells into racking position by coming off the heels and meeting the bells, absorbing the weight with the legs; keep the handles close in the midline of your body, if your fingers are away from the handle (racking safety grip) you can even let them cling.
Note: not recommended with anything other than competition kettle bells due to the larger base for stability. If you place your bells right on the second rep, which is right in line with your shoulders, then you can smoothly transition into the second exercise, Renegade Rows.
With the bells placed in line with your shoulders you put your hands on the handles, the ball of your thumbs on the handle, wrists straight as possible, elbows locked out, kick your legs back into a plank position, with the feet wider than normal, this is to have a better support to row from; if your feet are close together as they normally would be in a plank position, then you would quite quickly see your hips shifting or losing balance. © RX'd Photography In the right position you want to engage all your muscles, your quads for good knee lockout, glutes for neutral pelvic alignment, abs engaged for the spine, lats engaged for the shoulders, everything nicely aligned; then you want to perform one Tricep Push-up; if you placed the bells right and your shoulders are directly above the bells, then you’ll find your shoulders coming past the bells on the bottom position of the Tricep Push-up.
Bring the bell back to the ground, find yourself a stable position with good lockout and balance, then row with the other side. After your last rep of the Renegade Rows, the bells should be in place for the third exercise, Bent-over Wide Rows, you simply kick your legs in, you hip hinge, push your belly-button (followed by the spine) and chest out, to get a good neutral spine position; your palms are facing backwards, thus you’ve also turned the handles; squeeze the glutes to protect the lower back, and row by pulling the shoulder blades together, elbows going outwards, 90° between your elbows and ribs; let the forearms relax, don’t turn it into a bicep curl; and return to start position.
The task is to complete 150 Alternating Strict Presses, how you switch hands upon each rep is up to you. If you’re good at swinging (hip hinging), then swing switch, if you prefer a more explosive squatting movement, then go for the Dead Clean, i.e. you put it down on the ground, switch hands and Dead Clean into Press.
Start your first rep from the ground with a Dead Swing Clean, straight into a Strict Press, then bring your body closer to the weight by coming on the balls of your feet, heels off the ground, take the impact with your legs, stay upright, let the bell fall down approx. If your Won music is banging, your frame of mind is right, you get into the rhythm and it starts to feel like dancing, you know you’re doing it right.
The kettle bell is one of the world’s oldest and most effective instruments for developing fitness. It was popularized in Russia in the 1800s, but some evidence suggests that the kettle bell was even used in Ancient Greece for their Olympics.
Perhaps for the same reasons as the Russians and ancient Greeks, CrossFit loves the kettle bell for its versatility and ability to build strength, muscle, increase cardio, and develop power in athletes. When performing a kettle bell swing, snatch, or get-up, maintain this straight back position, allowing your knees to bend and glutes to help absorb the force as the weight comes back down.
Don’t break at the waist and put unnecessary stress on your back. Good foot positioning (wide stance, weight in heels) will keep you from getting dragged forward by the bell.
Depending on your goals, you can tailor your kettle bell workouts to train muscles you want to get stronger or bigger. A kettle bell swing starts with the knees bent, a tight back, and the bell hanging off the ground.
Using power from your glutes and hips, you thrust the bell to above eye level or higher. The difference is mainly in height (Russian to eye level, American goes fully overhead) explained in this video.
Generally speaking, unless the Won specifically writes “Russian Swings”, assume that you should lock the bell out overhead. Depending on the athlete, you’ll sometimes see a different return phase of the bell.
The kettle bell snatch sets up very similarly to the swing, with the obvious different that it is a 1-handed exercise. Matt Chan, former CrossFit Games athlete breaks down the 1-arm kettle bell clean and press here.
Here are five CrossFit workouts that can test your fitness, build strength, and increase muscle using kettle bells: In terms of functionality, versatility, and benefits, the kettle bell is easily one of the most effective pieces of gym equipment ever created.