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Is Kettlebell Good Exercise

Kettle bells, which look like cannonballs with handles, have become a popular strength training alternative to traditional barbells, dumbbells, and resistance machines.

author
Maria Johnson
• Saturday, 07 November, 2020
• 23 min read
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Kettle bells can be used for a variety of exercises that improve both your strength and cardiovascular fitness. Russian strongmen in the 1700s developed kettle bells as implements to build strength and endurance.

You’ve probably seen depictions of bare-chested carnival strongmen hoisting them over their heads. Using lighter kettle bells at first allows you to focus on using the proper form and technique for the different exercises.

You can always increase the weight once you’re comfortable with the correct form for each exercise. Fitness experts suggest using kettle bells with the following weights if you’re at an intermediate to advanced level with your strength training:

Aim to add more reps each week, then work toward adding more sets as you build strength. Push your hips backward, and bend your knees to reach the kettle bell handles.

Firmly grip the kettle bells, keeping your arms and back straight. This is an excellent exercise to boost both your muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

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While your shoulders and arms will do a lot of the work, most of the effort should come from the hips and legs. Engage your abdominal muscles and set your shoulders back.

Exhale as you make an explosive upward movement to swing the kettle bell out in front of you. Squats are an excellent lower-body exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, as well as your abdominal muscles.

Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position.

With both hands around the handle, hold the kettle bell close to your chest. Alternatively, you can hold a kettle bell by the handle in one or both hands, with your arms at your sides.

Slowly step forward with your left leg, bending your knee while keeping your right foot in place. A great exercise for working your abs and obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen that run from your hips to your ribs), the Russian twist can also be done with a weighted medicine ball or barbell plate.

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When using a kettle bell, be sure to keep a firm grip so that you don’t drop it on your lap. Holding the kettle bell handle with both hands, lean back so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to the floor.

With your heels a few inches above the floor, rotate your torso from right to left, swinging the kettle bell slightly across your body. When you’ve completed your repetitions, return to your starting position.

When your chest is even with the kettle bell handles, exhale and push your body back up to its starting position. Hold a kettle bell by the handle so that it rests against the outside part of your shoulder.

There are many benefits to working out with kettle bells, for both men and women, across all age groups. According to a 2019 study, a kettle bell workout is a highly effective way to improve your strength, aerobic power, and overall physical fitness.

Compared to resistance circuit-based training, the same study found that a regular kettle bell workout is just as effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength. A 2013 study reported that participants who completed an 8-week kettle bell training session saw noticeable improvements in their aerobic capacity.

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Kettle bell exercises have the ability to restore muscle mass and improve grip strength in older adults, according to a 2018 study. According to Harvard Health, kettle bell exercises can also help improve your posture and balance.

You typically use your core muscles more with kettle bell exercises than with dumbbells or barbells. If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises.

Stop immediately if you feel sudden or sharp pain. A little mild soreness after a workout is normal, but you shouldn’t feel sudden, sharp pain while working out.

Kettle bells can take a little getting used to, but working out with them is a highly effective way of improving your muscle strength and cardio fitness. The key is to start slow and, if possible, with the help of a certified personal trainer.

Kettlebellexercise is one such exercise that requires kettle bells and that helps in burning calories, building flexibility of the body and in several other ways. These kettle bells come in different weights and you can make use of these equipments as you do lunges, shoulder presses, and lifts.

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The kettle bell workouts get your heart pumping and are quite beneficial in burning calories, offering body flexibility and many other things. Kettle bell exercises mostly targets areas like the core, arms, glutes, legs, and back.

These kettle bells come in weights that range from 5-100 pounds and you can purchase them from sporting goods stores or from online retailers. There is a short review of research on kettle bell exercises that teaches about some workouts and its benefits.

Kettle bell exercises stimulate an incredible amount of abdominal contraction because of their explosive conditioning movements. The abdominal contraction along with coordinated breathing offers quite a high level of conditioning that actually has made kettle bells popular among athletes and fighters.

In one study there was absolutely clear evidence of some effective positive changes in cardiovascular health from kettle bell exercises. This in turn forces the muscles that are most responsible for the breathing process to play an even higher role in the cardiovascular health.

They also enable you for increasing your strength and building up speed and also your endurance levels simultaneously. The first thing that must be kept in mind is that your entire back and abs remain absolutely straight.

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Most physical therapists value these exercises because they teach us to move in a better, stronger, and a safer way. Kettle bell exercises help you build powerful forearms and also improves your grip.

Moreover, such exercises also allow you to devote your attention towards your skill, strategy, rest and recovery. Tour any modern gym and you're bound to stumble upon a section littered with kettle bells.

It is unclear as to when kettle bells officially became a recognized tool for strength and conditioning, however it's estimated their history dates back over 300 years. Known as a “girl” in Russia, kettle bells were originally used to help balance scales while weighing crops.

The man most notable for Westernizing the kettle bell is Pavel Tsatsouline, chairman of Strongest Inc. and former PT drill instructor for Smetana. Tsatsouline's authored several books that outline simple but effective kettle bell training programs.

Entire workouts can be executed with nothing more than a single kettle bell, whether the aim is strength, hypertrophy, power or endurance. A kettle bell is relatively small (though I dare not say it's “light,” as that all depends on the weight you select) and relatively affordable in comparison to most other gym equipment.

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Compared to training with machines or even dumbbells, the kettle bell provides variability and offsets the load so that no one rep is ever truly the same. Kettle bell exercises can at times be the biggest bang for your fitness buck, targeting numerous muscle groups and moving you through multiple planes of motion.

As Tsatouline writes in his book Simple & Sinister, “the kettle bell is an ancient Russian weapon against weakness.” Every piece of equipment brings something unique to the table, and every person is different, so it's foolish to speak in definitive.

Barbells make it easy for a newbie to load a movement heavier than they can handle in a fixed position. A perfect example is that of a Barbell Bench Press, where the hands are pronated and the shoulders are inherently placed in an internally rotated position.

Kettle bells are a great option to keep an individual's load lower while growing their movement competency. It targets the posterior chain and teaches individuals how to hip hinge properly with some force.

This exercise involves holding the kettle bell with both hands (although single-arm and double-bell variations do exist) and using the hip hinge to forcefully drive it out in front of yourself. Your gripping muscles may eventually burn if the set is long or enough or the weight's heavy enough, but your arms and shoulders should essentially contribute no power to the movement.

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Once the Kettle bell Swing is mastered, it is an excellent addition to any program or a convenient stand-alone option for a conditioning day. Its goal is simple: Stand from a supine position while keeping a weight over your head.

However, that simple act requires a lot of technique, shoulder stability, core strength, hip mobility and focus to execute effectively. There are also many scenarios where replacing a classic barbell or dumbbell exercise with a kettle bell version can make sense.

It might seem like an insignificant swap, but kettle bells naturally lead to better scapular position, making the move more effective and reducing wear and tear on your body. Undoubtedly the kettle bell is an extraordinary tool with a long history of producing excellent results.

The workout gets your heart pumping and uses up to 20 calories per minute: about as much as running a 6-minute mile. Buy a DVD or sign up for a kettle bell class at the gym to learn how to do the moves safely.

It won’t take long to understand why celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Hall are huge fans of kettle bell workouts. 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.

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Most kettle bell workouts include squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that work your abs and other core muscles. The kettle bell is used as a weight for arm exercises like single-arm rows and shoulder presses.

Lunges and squats are among the most popular moves in a kettle bell workout. Your tush will be toned by using the kettle bell for added weight during lunges and squats.

Using a kettle bell for a dead lift helps tone your back muscles. The kettle bell is an effective weight that will build muscle strength.

You may want to buy DVDs or sign up for classes to learn the basics of a kettle bell workout. Yes, if you take a class or pick a DVD that's for beginners and use a lighter kettle bell.

Depending on the program, you may be getting both your strength training and your aerobic workout at the same time. If you choose a kettle bell that is too heavy or if you have poor form, you are likely to lose control of it.

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This can lead to a serious injury to your back, shoulders, or neck. Start out with an experienced trainer who can correct your technique before you hurt something.

Adding a kettle bell to your existing workout is great if you want to burn more calories in less time. This type of high-intensity workout is not for you if you would rather do a more meditative approach to body sculpting, or if sweating isn’t your thing.

With your doctor’s OK, you can include kettle bells in your fitness routine if you have diabetes. Muscle burns energy more efficiently, so your blood sugar levels will go down.

Depending on the workout, you may also get some cardio to help prevent heart disease. Using kettle bells in your workout puts some serious demands on your hips and back, as well as your knees, neck, and shoulders.

If you have arthritis or pain in your knees or back, then look for a less risky strength-training program. If you have other physical limitations, ask an experienced instructor for advice on how to modify your workout.

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If you worked out with kettle bells before becoming pregnant and are not having any problems with your pregnancy, then you will likely be able to continue using them -- at least for a while. Talk to your instructor and your doctor; they might suggest switching out your kettle bells during your last trimester.

Sources American Council on Exercise : “Exclusive ACE research examines the benefits of kettle bells.” Build a Better Butt: Workouts for Slim and Shapely Glutes

Fitness Dos and Don'ts: Test Your Knowledge on Getting in Shape Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine; instead he will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, nutrition and the cause and prevention of disease.”

1 This is important because for those with lower back issues traditional posterior chain exercises such as dead lifts, good mornings, etc. For those looking to strengthen the lower back and unable to use these traditional exercises the swing may be just the thing they’re looking for.

Because of the dynamic nature of the swing the opportunity to overload or injure the body is quite low. A grind is like a missile — constantly being pushed along, no matter how fast or slow it moves.

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This results in a muscle flushing that McGill wrote about, quoting Jay’s 2010 research: The rapid acceleration of the bell via the motion of the hips and knees is accompanied by substantial activation of muscles in both the posterior chain and the abdominal.

They proposed the muscle flushing mechanism as an explanation for the reports of lower pain. Now, sniff air into your belly through your nose and then exhale short and sharp like you’re trying to blow out a candle far away.

But when you use forceful exhalation, known in ROC circles as power breathing, you are essentially creating a stiff wall around that flagpole to keep it stiffer. Using the Cassava maneuver creates a dynamic internal pressure that I believe supercharges the cerebral-spinal fluid flow.

The INTERCAL pressure is greatly increased when you add movement to the Cassava maneuver. Cerebral-spinal fluid is pumped or controlled by respiration that causes movement in the sacrum and cranial bones.

I believe that the spinal curves must be correctly maintained or the flow of information in the nervous system is compromised. In order to do the Kettle bell swing correctly I really had to work on my form and this had an incredible influence on establishing the proper robotic and kyphotic curvatures of my spine.

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Set up as if you were doing a conventional two hand swing: hips back shoulders down, lats engaged, connected and linked to the bell. The key principle of Hard style Kettle bell training is that, to quote Pavel, “We choose power over efficiency, choosing maximal acceleration in the quick lifts and maximum tension in the grinds.”

If we’re looking to the swing to be our one size fits all solution to back care then we must recognize that, for many, swinging the bell overhead is impossible without hyper extending the lower back or jamming the neck or shoulders due to limitations in their thoracic mobility. The swing is an expression of forward force projection such as found in boxing or martial arts, like a straight punch.

If you’re an athlete with a vertical component to your sport such as in Olympic weightlifting, Highland Games, or even swimming, then try the snatch. Picking the right tool for the job will go a long way to ensuring your back stays healthy and strong for years to come!

When used correctly, kettle bells are extremely effective training tools for providing total-body strength and conditioning. As with any technical movement, lift, or skill, proper coaching is required to maximize the benefits.

It's a two-for-one exercise, meaning you're able to combine strength training and cardiovascular conditioning into one efficient movement. Though it looks easy to perform, the swing can take a significant amount of time, practice, and coaching to perfect.

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Unfortunately, this exercise is often performed incorrectly, which will limit your results as well as any further progressions that are based on this basic movement. The kettle bell goblet squat isn't just a leg exercise ; it's another total-body juggernaut that offers more mobility—the ability to move easily so you can safely train with heavier loads—and improved conditioning.

It teaches you to move fluidly, and when you add the external load (a kettle bell) it requires strength, mobility, and skilled movement. It's a powerful full-body exercise that requires attention to detail and a respect for human movement.

For strong, resilient shoulders, improved hip and trunk strength, and enhanced mobility, the Turkish get-up is essential. Once you can do the first three exercises—and have demonstrated appropriate shoulder mobility and stability—the kettle bell press is another exceptional movement to learn.

The unique shape of a kettle bell and offset handle allow you to press in the natural plane of motion relative to your shoulder joint. You just feel like you have more power to press efficiently with a kettle bell, mostly because of the more natural plane of motion.

Similar to the kettle bell swing, the clean is another explosive exercise for total-body strength and conditioning. The difference here is that the kettle bell finishes in the rack position as opposed to being projected horizontally away from your body.

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The kettle bell snatch is physically demanding and technical, but offers outstanding total-body strength and conditioning benefits. It can help transcend athletic performance to new levels, build explosive strength, and forge strong, powerful shoulders.

The snatch requires proper technique, explosive hip power, and athleticism. This exercise should not be attempted until the kettle bell swing hip-hinge pattern and explosive hip drive are established.

Though watching videos is helpful, the best way to learn how to correctly do these challenging movements is to work with a certified kettle bell instructor. 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 goodkettlebell 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.

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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.

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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 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... In today’s world we spend the majority of our days doing things in front of us with terrible posture.

Cubicles) for hours at a time not moving and making the front of our body even tighter. If You’re Not Doing The Kettle bell Swing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life!

This overuse of the muscles on the front side of our bodies is called “anterior dominance” and it is plaguing our society. Anterior dominance results in imbalances in our muscles causing us to move and perform at sub-optimal levels.

And because of our terrible posture — because our anterior muscles are shortened and tight pulling us forward — we give the illusion of being weak and unconfident as opposed to standing erect with our chins up. It’s no wonder that we’re generally unhealthy compared to previous generations that didn’t live a convenience lifestyle in this information age.

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And there is one exercise — that if you incorporate it into your daily routine — can easily combat the ill effects of anterior dominance and the Western Lifestyle. Frequency Exercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest up to 7x per week strength training high intensity varies by workout varies by workout Once labelled “hard core”, kettle bells are now popping up in every gym, garage and backyard because of their portability and reputation for fast results.

Go into any gym and you’ll see inexperienced exercisers turning a swing into a front squat and shoulder raise exercise further tightening our hips, quads, chest and shoulders and just adding to the anterior dominance issue that I told you about above. A hip hinge — like a dead lift movement — forces you to use those posterior chain muscles to move the kettle bell.

It will allow you to loosen your tight hips and strengthen your butt so that you’ll develop the rear end of an athlete. It will bulletproof your low back by creating an armored brace around your midsection, and it will get rid of that paunchy gut.

“If You’re Not Doing The Hard style Kettle bell Swing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life!” As opposed to starting your set of swings from the standing position like how you see most amateurs do it, the hike pass allows you to overstretch your lats — a powerful muscle in your upper body with a direct relationship with your glutes — and get more “juice” out of your swing.

Push your hips back keeping your butt high and bend your knees slightly. Always making sure your shoulders stay above the level of your hips, “hike pass” the kettle bell through your knees by contracting your lats.

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When you push your hips back keeping your butt high and your shins vertical, you are hinging. This is good because most people today are hip flexor and quad dominant (your anterior muscles), so learning how to load and use your posterior chain creates a natural balance between front and back that will help in preventing knee and hip issues.

Imagine that you are growing roots through your feet and grab the ground with your entire foot. Getting proper instruction from an expert so that you can MASTER THE KETTLEBELL SWING is the best thing that you can do for your training regardless of your goal.

If you want to build strength, kettle bell swings will forge a grip of steel and will add pounds to your dead lift & squat. If you want to boost your athleticism, kettle bell swings will make you more powerful and add height to your jump and shave seconds off your sprints.

If you want to pack on muscle, swinging a heavy kettle bell will build an intimidating upper back & set of shoulders. And if you want to shed body fat, swings will incinerate blubber like butter melting in an iron pan.

We've all turned up to the gym, short on time and motivation, only to find every piece of equipment we need for our workout isn't free. Faced with this scenario, you have two options: ditch the workout and go home or find a piece of versatile equipment that is underused and undervalued by most of the gym-going community.

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Packing the same weighty punch as dumbbells, kettle bells are likely to be found in a dusty corner of the gym. But don't let their underused fool you; this is a brilliant bit of kit, and while the bros are queuing for a bench, you can take advantage.

Kettle bell swings can help increase your heart rate, burn extra fat and tone muscle Corey Jenkins Getty Images Much like the humble rowing machine and versa climber, most gym bros steer clear of the cast-iron 'bells, helping you get an effective, time-efficient workout in, without having to worry about your kit getting pinched.

This and the growing popularity of sports such as CrossFit and Strongman have helped drive kettle bell training and workouts into the mainstream. On top of this, owing to their design, kettle bells are one of the easiest weights to move around during your workout in a short timeframe and can be stored away easily, from your car boot to your garden shed or garage.

“Kettle bells give you the opportunity to move athletically with additional resistance from a variety of angles and more challenging positions,” explains Jon Lewis, a personal trainer with fitness outlet Industrial Strength. Not only that, but exercises such as kettle bell swings can help increase your heart rate, burn extra fat and tone muscle, but where they really come into their own is in building strength throughout your posterior chain.

As these are your body’s biggest muscles, you’ll also torch calories,” says Rob Blair, PT at The Commando Temple. Additionally, kettle bells are an incredibly useful tool for those looking to build their base of strength and mobility, so if you're struggling with your barbell back squat, for example, utilizing the kettle bell goblet squat is a good way of practicing proper form with a safer exercise that can then be upgraded as your strength increases.

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Well-suited for swings, presses and carries, kettle bells also lend themselves to more dynamic movements, where a dumbbell or barbell may be more difficult to use. Usually, kettle bell workouts are built on a high-rep range, meaning that several muscles are worked at once and, if kept at a consistent pace, can offer similar aerobic benefits to HIIT training.

Similarly, by performing kettle bell circuits three times a week, you’ll pump up your VO2 max by 6 per cent in just under a month, according to the NSA’s Sac Report. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research also found that kettle bell training contributes to a healthier lower back, owing to the loading and movement patterns.

“Kettle bells are arguably one of the most versatile bits of equipment you can find in a gym,” says Sam Wrigley, a London Bridge-based PT. “They're great tools for metabolic conditioning and can be used for resistance work too, if you can't access dumbbells or barbells.”

“Typically, it’s with the kettle bell swing, because of its dynamic nature — moving back and forth quickly at the hip joint”. “This exaggerated flexion and extension at the hip puts a lot of force through the lower back.” When it comes to getting injuries from poor form, the “arching of the back and not engaging the glutes in an overhead press or folding in a goblet position” can put you at risk of busting your lower back.

Stand with feet set wider than shoulder-width and bend your knees to grab the kettle bell with both hands. Drive your hips, keep your back flat swing the weight up to shoulder height.

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Initiated by a powerful hip thrust from your hamstring and glutes, opting for heavier weights (once the move is mastered, of course) for up to 90 seconds a set will vastly improve your anaerobic fitness, accelerating your heart-rate and ignite a fat-burn that the bench press can only dream of. Instead, by combining a front squat with an overhead press, you're transforming a drab move into a compound, multi-joint exercise that demands full-body power.

In one swift movement, slightly jump off the ground and raise your arms to extend above your head. Land softly on your feet with your knees bent as though you're doing a squat and extend your arms straight above you shoulder-width apart.

Powerlifting moves needn't be restricted to barbells bending under crippling weight loads. Instead, the kettle bell clean and press offers the opportunity to increase grip strength, become stronger in overhead movements (your shoulder press will thank you) and will help you learn the lesson of maintaining a rigid core during all lifts.

Plus, the researchers found that participants performing the kettle bell snatch usually maintained 86 to 99 per cent of their maximum heart rate, making it an essential move for easy weightless. Drive through the heel and bring yourself back up to standing position, without letting your leg touch the floor.

Functional and an easy gym brag, the kettle bell pistol squat is the king of mobility moves. Ideal for oiling the stiff joints of desk-jockeys and gym bros, it'll also set your Instagram feed ablaze.

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Helping you master the holy trinity of fitness — stability, strength and mobility — it'll challenge your core (there's more to a six-pack than crunches and planks, after all) and will build sportive-worthy quads while increasing balance. Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, clasping a kettle bell in each hand in front of your chest with palms facing each other.

Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, keeping the kettle bells in the same position and ensuring you don't round your back by tensing your glutes throughout. Keep your arms strong and walk short, quick steps as fast as possible.

Ideal for building grip and plugging onto the end of a tough workout, farmer's walks also pack heavy-duty muscle onto your upper-back while fighting lower-back pain and being a useful conditioning tool and fat-loss. All the benefits of a traditional shoulder press — improved strength and targeting of many upper-body muscles — without the hassle of having to wait for dumbbells or a machine.

Stand with feet set wider than shoulder-width and bend your knees to grab the ketllebell with one hand. Drive your hips, keep your back flat swing the weight up to shoulder height.

Increase the demand you place on the shoulder stabilizing muscles by doing kettle bell swings with one arm. Sign up to the Men's Health newsletter and kick start your home body plan.

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