If you’ve been wanting to start training with weights, kettle bells have become extremely popular among fitness fanatics. You will need to get heavier ones as your routine progresses, but for beginners, 1 kettle bell is enough to complete most workouts.
If you’d like to add more endurance to your training, you can hold it with one arm at a time. As long as your form is correct, you should be able to get great results with just one kettle bell.
Although, if you consider yourself athletic and have acquired much strength, you can start with two kettle bells. The reason you might see people with a “collection” of kettle bells is that some exercises require different sized weights.
Kettle bells are not like dumbbells or barbells which consist of two same-sized weights on each side of your body. You do not need two pairs of kettle bells consisting of the same weight to effectively complete your routine.
Swing Clean Press Push Press Jerk Snatch Squats (Front, Goblet, Overhead, Jump) Bottoms Up (Clean, Press, Push ups) Windmill Turkish Get Up Renegade Rows Juggling Dead lifts Arm Bars Halo Always remember that these routines should be performed with proper form to get the best outcome.
You don’t want to buy one that’s too heavy, this could cause injury to your muscles, especially for a beginner. You don’t want to buy one that’s too light either, as this can result in little to no muscle building or weight loss.
Choosing the right size will depend on a few aspects; your gender and how physically active you are. Remember when choosing the right size you have to mindful of how many kettle bells you want to use.
Whether you have decided yet on how many kettle bells you need, adding them to your workout will help you easily achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many kettle bell exercises will use this holding position either exclusively for exercises including the kettle bell row (as shown above), single arm dead lift variations, single arm swings, high pulls, or as a means to transition the KB front rack hold (shown later).
The single arm holding position places more load on the shoulder as well as creating rotation through the body which ultimately needs to be counteracted by the core muscles. Holding the kettle bell with the single hand will also put a greater strain on the grip and forearms muscles.
So many beginners often struggle with their grip strength when they first start kettle bell training using this holding position. The main disadvantage of the “by the body” holding position is that after several repetitions the kettle bell has a tendency to slide down through the hands making the grip challenging and readjustment necessary.
The goblet holding position does place additional demands on the wrists as the kettle bell has a tendency to flip and flop backwards and forwards. However, the instability produced by this holding position can be counteracted by resting the kettle bell against the chest when fatigue sets in.
During this position the kettle bell is held comfortably against the chest with the arm tucked in, wrist straight, shoulder down and Latissimus Doris muscle engaged. When correctly engaged the KB front rack hold should be sustainable for long periods of time without fatigue.
One common mistake is to wing the elbow out to the side and hold the kettle bell out and close to the shoulder, this position will lead to fatigue very quickly. For example, a badly designed kettle bell can pinch the wrist or feel very uncomfortable against the forearm.
Great alignment throughout the arm and body as well as wrist strength and balance are required to use this holding position. The bottoms up clean is a great place to begin mastering this position.
The instability of this holding position can be a great way to improve shoulder stability and alignment issues that may need addressing. A 16-kilogram (35 lb) “competition kettle bell Arthur Saxon with a kettle bell, cover of The Text Book of Weight-Lifting (1910)The Russian girl (, plural girl) was a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops in the 18th century.
They began to be used for recreational and competition strength athletics in Russia and Europe in the late 19th century. The birth of competitive kettle bell lifting or Gregory sport ( ) is dated to 1885, with the founding of the “Circle for Amateur Athletics” ( ).
Russian girl are traditionally measured in weight by Food, corresponding to 16.38 kilograms (36.1 lb). The English term kettle bell has been in use since the early 20th century.
Similar weights used in Classical Greece were the halter, comparable to the modern kettle bell in terms of movements. Variants of the kettle bell include bags filled with sand, water, or steel shot.
By their nature, typical kettle bell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength. The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling or farm work.
Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettle bell exercises involve large numbers of repetitions in the sport, and can also involve large reps in normal training. Kettle bell exercises are in their nature holistic; therefore they work several muscles simultaneously and may be repeated continuously for several minutes or with short breaks.
When training with high repetitions, kettle bell progression should start out slowly to build muscle endurance, support the joints and prevent injury. Like movements performed with any exercise tool, they can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems, or a weak core, when performed without proper education and progression.
They can offer improved mobility, range of motion, agility, cardio vascular endurance, mental toughness and increased strength. The following is a list of common exercises that are uniquely suited to the kettle bell for one reason or another.
A kettle bell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank in a slow, controlled movement. Keeping the arm holding the bell extended vertically, the athlete transitions from lying supine on the floor to standing, and back again.
As with the other slow exercises (the windmill, get-up, and halo), this drill improves shoulder mobility and stabilization. It starts lying on the ground with the kettle bell over the shoulder in a straight arm position, as in the top of a floor press, but with the other arm along the floor straight overhead.
The trainee then gradually turns their body away from the kettle bell until they are lying partially on their front. The kettle bell is held hanging in one arm and moved smoothly around the body, switching hands in front and behind.
Also called a front leg pass, this is a backward lunge, circling the bell around the front leg, returning to the standing position, and repeating. Like the slingshot, but the bell is swung forward until the arms are parallel to the ground.
Starting with the bell in the rack, the bell is pushed away to the side slightly, the swung down to the other side in front of the body, and reversed back up into the rack. A variation of the press where the other arm assists by pushing open palm against the ball.
Stand on one leg and hold the kettle bell with the opposite arm. By then lowering and raising the kettle bell you can work stabilization and power.
A press utilizing a bent-leg windmill position to lift heavier weight than is otherwise possible. One bell is rowed to the chest while maintaining the plank position, then returned to the ground and repeated with the other arm.
Alternatively performed with a single kettle bell, one arm at a time. This requires more control than an ordinary push up and results in a greater range of motion.
Feet may be elevated to increase the difficulty, until the trainee is performing a handstand push-up on the kettle bells. In any movement involving the rack or overhead position, the kettle bell can be held with the ball in an open palm (sometimes called the waiter hold) for a greater stabilization challenge, or for even more precise control and added grip challenge, the bottom-up hold, squeezing the kettle bell by the handle upside-down.
Holding a single kettle bell in the rack position bottom-up with two hands (“by the horns”) makes for goblet exercise variants. Conventional swing: The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell.
Hang clean: The kettle bell is held in the rack position (resting on the forearm in the crook of the elbow, with the elbow against the chest), lowered to below the knees, and then thrust back up in to the rack. The kettle bell is held in one hand, lowered to behind the knees via hip hinge, swung to an overhead position and held stable, before repeating the movement.
Jerk: As a push press, but with two dips, for more leg assistance (as in the barbell clean and jerk) Thruster: A rack squat with a press at the top using momentum from the squat. Pistol squat: A single-leg squat with one leg held straight in front parallel to the ground, holding the bell in the goblet or rack position.
An easier variant for those with less hip mobility is to perform the squat parallel to a step or ledge, so that the foot of the free leg can dip beneath the pushing leg at the bottom. Carry: Walking with the kettle bell held in various positions, such as suitcase, rack, goblet, or overhead.
Row: While bent over anywhere from 45 degrees to parallel with the ground, the kettle bell is held hanging from a straight arm, pulled up to the hips or laterally, and lowered again. Keeping the bell arm vertical, the upper body is bent to one side and rotated until the other hand is touching the floor.
The single kettle bell version is called the suitcase walk. These build grip strength while challenging your core, hips, back and traps.
The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell. The key to a good kettle bell swing is effectively thrusting the hips, not bending too much at the knees, and sending the weight forwards, as opposed to squatting the weight up, or lifting with the arms.
The one-arm swing presents a significant anti-twisting challenge, and can be used with an alternating catch switching between arms. Within those variations there are plenty more variations, some are, but not limited to: pace, movement, speed, power, grip, the direction of thumb, elbow flexion, knee flexion.
The kettle bell has more than 25 grips that can be employed, to provide variety, challenge different muscles, increase or decrease complexity, and work on proprioception. Competitive lifter (Greek) performing jerk with 32 kg kettle bells (rack position). Contemporary kettle bell training is represented basically by five styles.
Hard style has its roots in powerlifting and Gj-rykarate training, particularly hobo undo concepts. With emphasis on the “hard” component and borrowing the concept of time, the Hard style focuses on strength and power and duality of relaxation and tension.
Gregory, sometimes referred to as the fluid style in comparison to the Hard style, represents the training regimen for the competitive sport of kettle bell lifting, focusing on strength endurance. Juggling is a training style where the practitioner releases and catches the kettle bell with all manner of spins and flips around the body.
Kettle bell training is extremely broad and caters to many goals, some being, but not limited to: mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and power. The sport can be compared to what the CrossFit Games is to CrossFit, however, the sport has been much longer in existence, and is only recently gaining more popularity worldwide, with women participating as well.
One such example being Valerie Wazowski, who at age 52, was the first US female lifter in the veteran age category to achieve Master of Sport in 24 kg Kettle bell Long Cycle. ^ , «» .
« » “ ”, 22 August 2016 (with period photographs). 21 (1908), p. 505: “PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE USING SCHMIDT'S Celebrated 'MONARCH' DUMB-BELL, BAR BELL AND KETTLE BELL SYSTEM”; also spelled KETTLE-BELLS (with hyphen) in a 1910 advertisement for the “Automatic Exerciser”) ^ a b c Rathbone, Andy (2009-01-04).
Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 542-544 ^ a b Iv ill, Laura (2008-11-22). “Exclusive ACE research examines the fitness benefits of kettle bells” (PDF).
Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 125-127 ^ Kettle bell Swing Vs. High Pull”. ^ “The Kettle bell Clean, Stop Banging Your Wrists | The Complete Guide”.
If you’ve never trained with kettle bells before, choosing the correct weight takes some thought. Choose heavier weights for swinging or ballistic exercises and strength training.
Use lighter weights for slower exercises, sometimes referred to as “grinds,” and cardio workouts. The American Council on Exercise prefers using lighter weights for their 2010 whole-body kettle bell workout, which includes ballistic, strength, grind and cardio components.
As you become more experienced training with kettle bells, progress to heavier weights for ballistic exercises such swings, cleans and snatches. Experiment a bit to find a weight that allows you to execute the exercise properly.
Turkish setups, windmills, shoulder presses or single-arm rows require a lighter weight, usually because you are working more slowly or targeting your arms. Whole-body kettle bell exercises, such as the Turkish half-getup, have a lot of moving parts that can go askew if you're using a weight that's too heavy.
A trained eye will notice improper positioning or muscle imbalances and can help correct your form or recommend a different kettle bell. Hello, I love doing farmers walk but in the current situation I have no place to do them.
Largely my farmer's walk has been replaced with racked lunges, whereas these are a little harder on the legs I feel I still get the core and stability work due to the movement, especially of I rack the bell on the non-working leg side. I feel that in certain positions grip, core and shoulder stability would be improved, but maybe no as much as techniques that require movement, rack lunges or Turkish get up for example.
If there is a reason to perform static holds, is there any protocol that someone can recommend... 30 secs in each position starting with press, then rack, the suitcase, for example I think practicing static holds are great for strength development.
I've also done waiters walks at the top of the TGU for variety, which I find helps to dial in shoulder mobility and getting in touch with the feeling of a packed shoulder, but usually just stick with the typical TGU. Dan John Article These aren't static holds per se, but may be more enjoyable than those lunges.
You can march in place while doing these which adds a slight movement component (typically what people do with a trap bar)Or otherwise if you have room for swinging a kettle bell you have enough room for walking around in circles. My latest favorite is either suitcase or rack hold on one side, then verrrrrrry slow march.
This is sort of marching bird dog in place and since I've been doing them have noticed a dramatic improvement in my balance for example when drying one foot off after showering. With all the fancy kettle bell moves, and YouTube clips out there, it’s important to get people started on the right path safely.
As a rule, I suggest to everyone that they should seek at least one training session with a personal trainer familiar with kettle bell use prior to beginning their own program. This video, featured on Eric Crossed’s blog, covers the correct way to hold the kettle bell in the rack position.
A lot of times I see people placing strain on the forearm by holding the kettle bell with their wrists cocked back, or with a really tight grip on the handle, which requires an unnecessary expenditure of energy. I'm a Personal Trainer, e-500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and expert group fitness instructor.
Joining The Dark Iron Fitness VIP List Here for Free Once you join you can get 10% off our genuine leather wrist wrap guards for kettle bell workouts.
These sections are best read in order but feel free to jump around to the information you’re specifically looking for Enjoy ;) A kettle bell is a cast iron weight shaped like a bowling ball with a thick suitcase-style handle.
Kettle bells first appeared in Russia over 100 years ago., and were used in fairs and markets to balance scales when weighing heavy objects. The Russian military began using them within their training regime because they work the bodies’ energy systems simultaneously.
They actually have pretty decent article on the benefits of kettle bells that can get you some extra additional information. Legs: Lunges and squats are some of the most popular moves in a kettle bell workout.
Glutes : Tighten and tone by using the kettle bell for added weight during lunges and squats. Weight-bearing exercises increase bone density and make the muscles in the body stronger.
With older athletes, or people who are just starting a workout program, focusing on proper form and choosing an appropriate weight for your fitness level is crucial. So rather than moving to a heavier kettle bell you can complete more reps or change the exercise to a more difficult one.
You can get a great strength and endurance workout without necessarily having to use the heaviest weight you can find. You’ll work up a sweat doing a series of fast-paced cardio and strength-training moves like kettle bell swings, lunges, shoulder presses, and push-ups.
It won’t take long to understand why celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Hall are dedicated fans of kettle bell workouts. Whether your main focus is strength or endurance, the kettle bell will fit the bill.
The kettle bell alternates periods of intense contraction and controlled relaxation to give you a superior workout that combines both strength and endurance training. It's round shape lends itself to unique exercises and its odd center of gravity forces you to stabilize your muscles to create explosive movements with the bell.
It’s also a good tool for helping teach Olympic lifts safely with a small learning curve. It’s much easier on the wrists and shoulders to rack kettle bell cleans and to hold for front squats than it is to use a barbell.
The main muscle groups that are involved and strengthened the most with the basic kettle bell swing motion are the hamstrings, glutes, quads and abs. When learning how to “clean” the kettle bell, people often experience some banging of the bell on the backside of the wrist.
If you are new to strength training or have small hands, check to see if the kettle bells you are comparing have different handle sizes for different weights and buy accordingly. Wrap one hand around the handle to make sure the tips of your fingers are only a couple of inches from your palm.
Your kettle bell shouldn’t be too heavy or too light; you should be able to press it over your head with control and stability, but with some resistance. The 4 kg may not be heavy enough to provide a solid weight lifting effect for most women.
When it comes to kettle bells proper breathing is so important and often overlooked in most exercise studios. Focus on quickly squeezing your glutes and thrusting your hips forward to create momentum that will launch the bell into the air.
Explosive power from your butt will protect your lower back, not hurt it. Working out with a kettle bell gives you what fitness pros call a “functional” workout.
However, when performed incorrectly it is also a movement that can create back, hip, or knee injuries. Be sure to squeeze the glutes and quads every time you swing and tighten the abdominal muscles as if you are bracing hard for a punch.
Swinging correctly will make you stronger and more flexible than ever before, however incorrectly performing the movement can create or increase back strain or pain. Swings, high pulls, and lifts such as snatches and cleans, originate out of a squat position, and keeping good form is essential to avoiding injury.
Remember this checklist and use it as your guide for getting into the right start position for all your kettle bell exercises: Make sure the area immediately surrounding you is clear and you have room to swing and move freely.
Don’t wear running shoes with a high, cushioned platform; you could roll your ankle. Ultimately learning in person is the best scenario, but a quality DVD is definitely sufficient if that is your only option.
Those large cannonballs with handles, sitting in the corner collecting dust, look intriguing. But you're not about to start at the bottom, in the “pump” class with puny yellow and pink kettle bells that look like they belong in the daycare.
And as much as I love basic kettle bell moves like the swing, get-up, and snatch, I also recognize that not everyone is ready to subject themselves to the learning curve that goes along with those movements. By that, I mean that strength in awkward positions that fighters and other athletes seem to have in spades, but that barbells, dumbbells, and machines seldom produce.
“The rack hold is a powerful position for building strength throughout the body.” Bend down as if you were about to dead lift the kettle bell and grab the handle with your working hand.
The kettle bell will be resting on two points of contact: The back of your wrist and on your upper arm, just below your shoulder. Your forearm and upper arm will form a triangle in which the kettle bell sits.
Your hand should be facing the center of your body, and your elbow pointed down toward your hip. Like the farmer's carry, 10 minutes at the end of your workout is a good plan.
It adds a level of difficulty to the carry that many people find surprising, in the form of increased abdominal stress, respiration demand, and the way it reaches the little stabilizer muscles along your spine. Many gym rats and bodybuilders don't have the necessary wrist and shoulder flexibility to perform a true barbell front squat with a clean grip.
Holding one or two kettle bells also puts a larger-than-normal pressure on the abs, making them work harder than a far greater barbell load would, as I mentioned in my last article. Additionally, I consider the kettle bell front squat to be an incredibly effective “loaded mobility” exercise.
Because of the way the load is situated, your abs automatically contract, your shoulders depress, and your hips magically seem to have more space in them, allowing for a deeper squat than many people can manage with just a barbell. It also serves as a little assessment, since if the two sides feel dramatically different, there's a good chance you have a side-to-side imbalance.
If that's the case, you may not want to load with a heavy barbell, due to the possibility of injury, until you spend some good time with the kettle bell alternative. Squat until you go as low as you can, maintaining pressure in your abs, and keeping a slight extension in your lower back.
The single-arm floor press will not only strengthen your triceps and your lockout, but it will help you refine your bench press groove by positioning your arm in the strongest position to lift big weights. Roll to your side, and grab the kettle bell by the handle, using the pistol grip, like you did with the rack hold.
Pause with your upper arm on the floor for 2-3 seconds and then press the kettle bell. These six movements are more than enough to teach you about the unique challenges and benefits of working with kettle bells.
Experienced kettle bell lifters regularly utilize things like loaded carries and floor presses to address strength deficiencies and practice building tension. When you're ready, the floor press also has the benefit of preparing your arms and shoulders for one of the best kettle bell exercises you can do: the Turkish get-up.
Until then, just keep picking up those heavy beasts, squeezing your core for all it's worth, and holding on for dear life. But for some weighted moves, especially ones that require an explosive movement, kettle bells reign supreme.
You can also hold them by the handle or the bell (the round part of the weight), which allows you to get a different range of motion depending on the kettle bell exercise you're doing. Plus, the shape of a kettle bell lets you work your muscles a little differently than a traditional dumbbell, Jessica Sims, a NASM-certified personal trainer at the Hitting Room in New York City, tells SELF.
When you take a class with kettle bells, or any other new type of equipment, it's normal to feel a little lost. Oh, and a quick lesson on the lingo: The “ball” refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom, and the handle is the part attached to it.
The handle is also referred to as the “horns,” and can be gripped at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball. Adding a kettle bell increases the resistance your body has to work against to stand back up, challenging your muscles even more.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, gripping the sides of the kettle bell handle with both hands at chest height. They also secretly challenge your core, since you have to keep your abs tight to avoid arching your back.
“Make sure that you don’t let the kettle bells swing, keep them stable by your side like actual suitcases,” Sims says. Push through your heels, putting most of the weight on the back foot, to return to the starting position.
Adding weight to a sit-up adds an extra challenge for your core, and the press at the top works your shoulders and arms, too. For these sit-ups, Sims says you can either keep your knees bent or put them in butterfly position, depending on what feels comfortable for your hips.
Start in a sit-up position, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Kettle bell swings are great for your butt, legs, and lower back, Sims says.
You can probably go heavy here, but she suggests nailing the technique with a lighter kettle bell before adding too much weight. To perform a swing with proper form, you have to “thrust your hips aggressively to get the kettle bell up, don't use your arms,” Sims explains.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with both hands. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs.
Stand back up; use the momentum from your hips to swing the weight to chest height. Your form here should be similar to a traditional dead lift, except your legs should be wider than shoulder-width distance and your feet should be turned out a bit.
Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and toes angled out. Switching to one-handed swings isolates one side at a time, which makes it harder and helps improve stability.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to thread the kettle bell between your legs.
Bring your now-empty hand to meet the weight at the top of the movement (so you don't slam it into your chest). Grasp a kettle bell in each hand, palms facing out, arms bent so the weights are resting at each shoulder.
Grip the kettle bell by the ball at the base of the handle with both hands and raise it directly overhead. Keeping your elbows close to your ears, lower the kettle bell behind your head to neck level.
The trick is to keep your core tight and hold your torso stable as you rotate your arms and the weight. Lift the ball to eye level and slowly circle it around your head to the left.
Start with the weight above your shoulders, and to make it more difficult, bring it a little behind your head, Sims says. Make sure to keep your core super tight and lower back flat on the ground.
If your back comes off the ground, or you feel any strain, bring your legs up a couple more inches. Stand in front of a box or step, holding a kettle bell by the handle with both hands at your chest.
Crew Performance Zip-Front Sports Bra (jcrew.com, $45), Cotton On Body Pocket Crop Tight (, $35), and Puma Fierce Evoking Women's Training Shoes (, $120).