As I explained in my article Grind to Grow: Try Your Squats and Presses with Kettle bells,” part of the reason the kettle bell triggers newfound strength and muscle growth is because of its offset shape. It forces the body to stabilize its joints differently from barbells, dumbbells, and other traditional bodybuilding equipment.
This forces your muscles to contract differently than normal, and increases the demand placed upon them. Look no further than the extra depth that every lifter instantly discovers when they front squat with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position, versus a barbell across the back.
With this new and increased range of motion comes increased muscular growth in your legs, and strength in your entire torso, from the inside out, including the all-important core musculature. Best of all, the kettle bell lends itself to a simple, but very challenging programming.
This 12-week program requires only two kettle bells and time for three workouts a week. But after one time through it, you'll find yourself more muscular in all the areas that matter: shoulders, upper back, upper chest, arms, legs, and posterior chain.
When you go back to “traditional” weight training, don't be surprised if you destroy your old performances—and have to buy bigger shirts. According to research by Brad Schoenberg, PhD, there are three basic ways to stimulate muscle growth:
Mechanical Tension: Lifting heavier weights for lower reps, similar to the way powerlifters train; think multiple sets of 2-5 reps. Muscular Damage: Lifting moderate weights for medium to higher reps, similar to the way bodybuilders train; think multiple sets of 8-20 reps. Metabolic Stress: Doing either high reps or complexes where you don't set the weight down, producing intense burning and the release of metabolites like lactate.
That may not sound like enough variety to grow on, but all major movement patterns are covered by these exercises: Military Press : Upper body pressing and pulling (due to the clean that accompanies the press) Front Squat : Lower body pushing and upper body pulling (you'll need to clean again!)
Swing (single or double kettle bell): Lower body pulling Start the program with a pair of matching kettle bells you can press approximately 4-6 times.
If you're at all unsure or uncertain about your capability, drop back to swinging one kettle bell. More important than which variety you choose is that you focus on making each rep as explosive as possible, like I explained in my article Kettle bell Explosion: Harness the Power of the Kettle bell Swing.”
Your goal is to do as many sets of each exercise, with perfect form, as you can in that time. Then, when you're ready, clean the kettle bells back into the rack position and perform a set of front squats.
Your goal is to do as many sets of swings as you can, with perfect form, in that time. To start this phase, determine your rep max (RM) with both the military press and the front squat using your two trusty kettle bells.
Always round down the number of reps if you hit a decimal point in your math. Your goal is to do as many sets of each exercise, with perfect form, as you can in that time.
Clean the kettle bells to the rack position, then perform a set of military presses. Clean the kettle bells back into the rack position, and perform a set of front squats.
Do an RM test with your pair of kettle bells for the swing. If not, use these weeks to keep practicing with the one-handed swing, trying to build up to 20 reps per hand, each at chest height.
Your goal is to do as many sets of swings as you can, with perfect form, in that time. Once again, find your RM for the military press and the front squat.
There's one big difference in these workouts: You'll clean the kettle bells to the rack position and perform a set of military presses, followed immediately by one set of front squats. When your rest time is over, clean the kettle bells back into the rack position and repeat.
This slight variation may not seem like much, but it increases the time under tension you experience and triggers metabolic stress. *Your RM will drop due to fatigue as the sets progress.
By this point, you should be able to comfortably swing a pair of kettle bells. Do an RM test with your pair of kettle bells for the swing.
If not, keep on practicing with the one-handed swing, working up to 20 reps per hand, each at chest height. The amount of tension running through and across your abs will already be severe, especially combining the military presses and front squats in the same day.
However, if you can't live without ab training, I recommend you do hanging variations, like hanging leg raises, to decompress your spine from all the loading. Since this is a strength and muscle program, you need to eat a lot.
A tried-and-true starting point is to multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 15-20 for total calories. In my book, you can't beat the time-tested 30/40/30 split of protein/carbohydrates/fat when growth is the goal.
If you start putting on fatter than you'd like, cut back. Otherwise, your assignment is simple: Eat, sleep, lift, and grow.
The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. I thought it would be helpful to share with you my 25 bestkettlebellworkout routines.
The kettlebellworkout routines listed below are fun supplements to the kettlebellworkout programs that I plan out in advance and are great for kettle bell workouts at home. You can also use these workouts as a kettle bell Won (workout of the day) but you will need to be careful not to overdo things as many of them are rather intense and may require at least a days rest.
Double Handed Swing — 20 reps Push Ups — 10, 9, 8, 7 etc. A super simple home kettlebellworkout and great kettle bell Won that hits almost every muscle in the body using only 2 exercises.
Perform 20 Double Handed Swings and then 10 Push Ups. At the end of the routine you will have completed 200 Swings and 55 Push Ups.
A workout movement ladder that adds a new exercise after each rest period. If you are feeling brave you can then come back down the ladder by removing an exercise every round.
Climbing both up and back down the ladder is very challenging! You can test yourself every month and see how your strength and fitness is improving.
For the Snatches and Lunges switch sides every 10 reps. A fun kettle bell routine that adds a new exercise every round.
A double kettle bell routine that will work both your strength first and then your cardio. Next perform the second block for 20 reps each side.
Work up to 3 complete kettle bell circuits. Continue performing each exercise and adding 10 Push Ups into the rest periods.
The quicker you can perform the Push Ups the more rest you will have remaining! If you find this too demanding then leave out the Push Ups.
The same format as the workout above except with different exercises and no Push Ups during the rest period. My classic kettle bell workout challenge.
You will find it easier to perform each exercise in blocks of 5 or 10 before changing sides. Use the same format as the Classic and perform the 300 reps as quickly as possible.
Two separate circuits that are performed one after the other with 60 seconds of rest between them. The first kettle bell circuit is more for strength and the second if for improving your cardio.
Another pair of 7 minute kettle bell circuits that follow the same format as above. A fun workout to perform either outside or in a large room.
Start with the One Handed Swings for 10 reps on each side. Repeat the One Handed Swing again for 10 reps each side, and also the Walking Lunges again.
Rest 30 seconds and repeat for a final time. Using two kettle bells perform each pairing 3 times, rest for 1 minute after each round.
Great for building up strength and also improving your cardio. A big circuit that uses lots of fun kettle bell and body weight exercises.
Click for More Hearts — Push Ups Spades — Reverse Lunge Clubs — Slow Mountain Climbers Diamonds — Squat & Press Jack — High Pulls x 10 each Queen — Snatch x 10 each King — One Handed Swings x 10 each Ace — Reverse Turkish Get Up x 1 each Joker (optional) — 1-Minute Rest
A fun way to randomize your workouts and keep them interesting also a possible kettle bell Won. Next shuffle the deck and turn over the top card.
Depending on the number and suit you will perform that exercise for a certain amount of reps. Work your way through the full deck of cards as quickly as possible.
3 Classic circuits that should really flow from one exercise to the next without you putting the kettle bell down. One large circuit based workout that requires 60 seconds for each exercise or per side depending on the movement.
Rest 10 secs after each exercise Repeat each pair 8 times Nice and simple but effective Tabatha style workout.
Then repeat all the exercises again but for 5 reps each side but without any rest in between circuits. All of these would be great as a home kettlebellworkout using only one kettle bell and your body weight.
If you are new to kettle bell training then you need to learn the basic movements before progressing on to most of these kettlebellworkout routines. The bestkettlebell workouts activate as many muscles as possible creating a huge amount of calorie burn, improving movement skills and increasing cardio levels at the same time.
In fact, if you choose your kettle bell carefully it can last you for a lifetime of fun-filled workouts. If your goals are overall fat loss, general conditioning and improvement in strength, then kettle bell workouts are a great choice.
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 kettlebellworkout. 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.
Lastly, you can more naturally string together moves to create a workout flow — do a swing, then a clean, and then a press for example. Kettle bell workouts offer all the benefits of dumbbell training, with the added advantage that the super-thick handles challenge your grip.
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.
And you don’t need a wall-length rack of them to get a great workout —one pair will suffice for this routine. The idea is that you’ll exhaust your muscles just enough while jacking up your heart rate to burn more calories and therefore more fat.
Just like the kettle bell itself, the methods of this routine aren’t new — but they’ve stood the test of time because they work. The weight of a kettle bell hangs a few inches below its handle, which makes it more difficult to control.
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.
Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set for each, one after the other. Read article Workout Routines With minor tweaks and subtle changes to your exercise form, you can be sure to finish your chest training on a high note...
An open space filled with heavy iron, benches, cable setups, and if you're in a big box, plenty of cardio stations and machines. Most of the weights are probably barbells, both on squat platforms and benches, or dumbbells, sitting stacked along the wall on a rack.
Kettle bells are some of the most versatile, efficient tools you can have in your exercise repertoire—and as this year proved, people love them and consider them essential. Click here to join to access even more top-level fitness tips. Thanks to the implement's unique shape, which places the rounded load beneath the handle, kettle bells are perfect for swings, presses, and carries from different positions that you wouldn't attempt with dumbbells.
You can work your arms, of course, but also your legs, chest, back, core, posterior chain—really, you can use kettle bells to train your whole body. You get the same unilateral capabilities you get with a dumbbell, and the shape of the kettle bell make them an even better option for single-arm, multi-joint movements like cleans and snatches.
There's also an entirely distinct training modality that has gained popularity thanks to the utility of kettle bells: the flow. The front rack can be used for moves like squats, lunges, walks—really anything focused on your lower body.
Using either one or two kettle bells, you'll hold the load in such a way (demonstrated above) that you'll be forced to engage your core to prevent your torso from tipping over. This simple, incredibly effective movement is a great way to build shoulder stability while working the core.
Try the exercise for 10 to 20 reps per side to start before adding extra features, like the kneeling position in the video or even a squat, for more of a metabolic impact. Goblet Pulse Squat Crush your legs with a little bounce with this dynamic exercise.
Your upper body will get a challenge, too, since you'll be using your arms and bracing your core to keep the kettle bells in the racked position. Try 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps, lowering down into position slowly and pausing at the bottom to create a ton of tension.
Turkish Getup This multi-part movement takes some time and coordination to master, but it's an effective full body exercise once you nail every step. Keep the weight light to start (run through the first few times without any), then add heavier loads as you progress.
If you're bold, set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes, then alternate 5 reps per arm for the whole period. Since you can easily hold and maneuver the implement, you can use it as a load for some traditionally body weight movements.
Perform 4 sets of 12 reps of all or any of the moves individually, or hit them back-to-back as a circuit with no rest as a workout that will torch your whole body. This short workout uses four full body moves to torch off calories—so you'll be feeling its effects for a lot longer than it takes to finish the routine itself.
30:60:90 Bodywork Blast your body with this intense interval ladder from trainer Hannah Eden. Take the longer approach with this routine designed to ramp up your metabolic conditioning.
Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.