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.
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. 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. Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.
Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position. 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. Make sure your left knee doesn’t extend over your toes.
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. 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. Kettle bell exercises have the ability to restore muscle mass and improve grip strength in older adults, according to a 2018 study.
If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises. Kettle bells tend to swing, so get used to the feel and movement in your hands before using one.
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.
Place your hand through the handle and let the weight rest on the back of your forearm. Turn out the toe of the side that you aren’t going to work to about 45 degrees.
You are then going to hinge over, driving the butt cheek of the arm that is up out to the side as much as you can. Then you are going to stand back up, keeping the arm straight toward the ceiling the entire time.
Keep your chest up and don’t let your back round forward. Sink your butt down as low as you can, keeping your heels on the ground.
Come all the way up and squeeze your glutes at the top then sink back down. You may also do a double racked kettle bell front squat to make the weight heavier if you don’t have a single bell heavy enough.
Hinge over at your hips, sweeping the other leg back toward the wall behind you. Pretend you are driving the heel of that foot straight into the wall behind you.
Make sure that as you hinge, you are sitting into the heel of your standing leg. To make the move harder, do a 3-5 count lower down toward the ground.
Keep your core tight and your arm up straight toward the ceiling. Walk 20-50ft holding the kettle bell still overhead and then switch the bell to the other hand.
If you don’t have much space, hold it overhead and walk around for at least 15-20 seconds. Make sure you keep the arm straight overhead and don’t feel it in your low back.
The more you “swing” through and the less you walk back and forth through the kettle bells, the more challenging the move will become. Bend your knees and walk your feet back toward your butt to make the move easier.
Then squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward as you stand up nice and tall. Pop your hips forward and propel the kettle bell up.
You want to maintain the connection between your hips and forearms to protect your low back. It improves your coordination and works to strengthen all the stabilizing muscles of your core.
Start by lying on your back on the ground with your legs out straight. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the ground.
Straighten your left arm out to the side (not straight out at shoulder height, but not right by your body). Keeping your right arm straight up and pointed toward the ceiling at all times (it can even help to balance something on your knuckles to remind you of this while you are learning), roll up on to your left forearm.
Prop yourself up nice and tall on your left forearm. Do not let your right knee cave in and keep your left leg out straight on the ground.
Keep your right foot flat on the ground and your left leg out straight. Make sure you swing your leg back enough so you are in a strong supported kneeling position that will allow you to lift your left hand off the ground.
Staying nice and tall, lift your left hand and come to a kneeling position. You will then bridge up and swing your left leg through so it is out straight in front of you.
As you bridge, keep your right heel firmly planted on the ground. From there, you will return to a seated position supported by your left hand.
Keep a nice tall posture throughout the entire move. You can also do this move with either a sandbag over your shoulder or a kettle or dumbbell in the raised hand.
Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight as you begin to circle the bell around your head. Point the bottom of the kettle bell backward as you circle it around the side of your head.
As you drop it down behind your head, reach the bottom of the kettle bell down between your shoulder blades. Continue the circle and bring it around the other side and back in front of your face.
Your back should stay nice and flat as you lean forward. Then row the kettle bell up toward your chest, keeping your arm in tight to your body.
Drive the elbow up to the ceiling, rowing the bell in right below your PEC. Do not let your back round or reach to try to get the bell closer to the ground as you lower.
Do not let your elbow flare up too much toward your shoulder, but just enough to prevent the kettle bell from rolling forward off your arm. Keep your chest up nice and tall as you lunge back.
To advance the move, rack the kettle bell on the same side as the leg that lunges backward. Beginners may not want to lunge as low to begin and will use a lighter weight if they even use any.
Keep your core tight and glutes engaged as you walk with your shoulders down and back and your head up. This is a great move to really work the core and your obliques as it forces you to stabilize while imbalanced.
While I love those lifts like the Long Cycle, Jerk and Snatch those moves are more complicated and need to be learned under supervision. NOTE: For the moves above, I like to use competition kettle bells, especially for the push-ups to dips because they are the same size no matter what weight, and they are super stable.
Due to their unique design and leverage factors, kettle bells place a large amount of tension on the biceps, and allow the emphasis of an elongated eccentric contraction. They’re blessed with an abundance of high-threshold motor units, with approximately 67% being made up of fast twitch (type 2) muscle fibers.
Performing high rep push downs might give you a great pump, and have their place, but you need to ramp up the intensity to get the best out of them. Kettle bells also work great as an assistance to your larger compound exercises, that provide the heavy loading your triceps need.
A) Weighted Dips, 4 x 5-7, 41×0 tempo) Incline Narrow Grip Bench Press, 4 x 8-10, 2210 tempo) Kettle bell Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x 10-12, 2010 tempo For the right person, this would work well as a hypertrophy routine as it exposes the triceps to heavy loading via the larger compound movements first, followed by a little lighter isolation at the end.
Several mechanisms that contribute to hypertrophy are hit (high tension, tissue breakdown, metabolic stress). If you’ve got slightly dodgy shoulders then don’t worry, here’s an example that would work equally well.
A) Narrow Grip Floor Press, 4 x 5-7, 42×0 tempo) Decline Dumbbell Squeeze Press, 4 x 8-10, 2010 tempo) Kettle bell Chest Supported Triceps Kickback 3 x 10-12, 2010 tempo Now you know what a good routine might look like, here are a few triceps exercises using kettle bells you might want to sprinkle in to your workout. As you might notice holding the kettle bells in this way dramatically increase the load when the elbow is fully extended.
Studies show some of the highest peak triceps muscle activation in kickback movements. Having your chest supported on a bench increases stability and helps focus on the area being targeted.
An Overhead Triceps Extension is a good example of this, while the kettle bell allows some tension to be maintained through the movement. A little known fact is that the long-head of the triceps can be effectively targeted in a stretched position when the shoulder is abducted too (arm moved sideways away from the body).
By assuming the arm bar position your shoulder is abducted towards the side placing some passive tension on the triceps long head (taking away some slack). Here you can load it in a greater stretched position achieving a good amount of mechanical tension and micro-trauma.
If you feel the benefits from these triceps exercises, be sure to let me know in the comments section or give it a share using the buttons below. The Fitness Maverick Online Coaching Program gives you the EXACT system you need to finally gain traction and make breakthrough progress.
Also known as “The Fitness Maverick”, Gareth specializes in smarter training techniques to get you strong and looking great naked year round! 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Adidiii, Try the Top (Rite of Passage) program by Pavel from Enter the Kettle bell. It's heavy on “clean & presses” and pull ups ladder style.
I'm not SFG certified, but I think dips would not be good to substitute for pull ups. There would seem to me to be a LOT of interference in the program if you are adding weighted dips to it, (other than a few non-fatiguing practice type reps during warm up, which still would seem not very valuable when you are already using pressing muscles so much).
Though I have found that using one's variety days during the Top to GTG on movements such as dips, Oahu, & pistols is encouraged while keeping the intensity low. Hey, I think that to build a strong arm, for example, it is necessary to work antagonist moves.
You can reach stagnation with presses or whatever (in terms of mass, number of sets / reps) and suddenly progress, only by changing your diet. These are my goals: 1. Increase muscle mass of my chest (in my opinion, dips are the best pecs builder) 2. Improve my kettle bell military press 3. Increase my max rep in pull ups 4. More weight in squat.
These are my goals: 1. Increase muscle mass of my chest (in my opinion, dips are the best pecs builder) 2. Improve my kettle bell military press 3. Increase my max rep in pull ups 4. More weight in squat. I could do 17 strict pull ups, but it was a few months ago, today I can do probably 18 maybe 19.