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Kettlebell For Seniors

If you are in a position where you feel that kettle bell training could be right for you then this guide will act as a great starting point for seniors and older adults.

author
Christina Perez
• Tuesday, 01 December, 2020
• 8 min read
kettlebell seniors exercises older adults workout senior training circuit
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Your focus as a senior should not be to break any lifting records or to push yourself to complete exhaustion. One of the most important aspects of your health that you should work on as you age is your joint mobility.

As you get older and move less you ability to take your joints through their full range diminishes. A lack of joint mobility will not only affect your posture but also your ability to move correctly.

For many people this mobility routine can have more of an impact on their lives than the workout so please don’t skip this section. The great thing about neck mobility is that you can practice anytime of the day even while seated watching TV.

Watch a video of the shoulder mobility warm up exercises below: The upper back or thoracic spine is one of the areas that is getting more and more restricted with modern lifestyles.

Watch a video of the upper back mobility warm up exercises below: Regular wrist mobility will help keep the joints healthy and improve circulation.

kettlebell exercises warm workout seniors older senior adults ankle kettlebellsworkouts
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If you don’t walk over varied ground or take part in sports then your hip mobility will probably be limited. Poor hip mobility will affect your walking gait as well as force your lower back to move more than it should do.

Watch a video of the hip mobility warm up exercises below: Simple body weight squats are one of the best exercises you can perform and will strengthen your full body.

Watch a video of the knee mobility warm up exercises below: Good ankle mobility will improve your balance as well as prevent further leg injury while walking or tripping on uneven ground.

Often one of the most overlooked areas of the body a simple ankle mobility routine will also improve circulation. Try to keep the kettle bell close to the neck line and don’t bend the head forwards.

Work hard to keep your back flat and use your buttocks and legs to perform the heavy lifting. You will also find this is a great exercise for seniors with limited mobility as it lengthens the hamstrings and mobilizes the hips.

seniors older exercises kettlebell adults exercise movement becomes important even age
(Source: kettlebellsworkouts.com)

I recommend practicing the exercise without a kettle bell first in order to master the movement. Not only is the kettle bell step up highly effective at raising the heart rate and strengthening the legs and buttocks but also has a great cross over into your daily life.

You will find walking up hills and stairs much easier if you work on this exercise. Watch a video of the kettle bell or dumbbell step up exercise below:

You will also quickly raise your heart rate, pump vital nutrients around your body and improve your movement strength and skills for daily life. Failure to get a full 90 degree bends in the knees will limit the amount of buttock activation achieved.

Watch a video on how to improve your kettle bell goblet squat exercise below: The ability to get up and down from the floor is an important activity as we get older and very challenging for many people.

Everyone should practice the get up without a kettle bell first, if need be you can hold a tennis ball or glass of water in the hand. Practice : when you can perform 10 alternating repetitions without a kettle bell then slowly start to add some load.

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(Source: kettlebellsworkouts.com)

Start off steady and use a light kettle bell for the first 2 weeks before slowly increasing the load. You should feel out of breath at the end of each circuit if not add more load or pick up the pace.

Using kettle bell exercises for seniors and older adults can be highly effective at improving health, fitness and well-being. Regular kettle bell training can improve balance, strength, your metabolism, help with fat loss and confidence.

Older adults can move and be just as strong, if not stronger, than those half their age so there are no hard and fast rules for what weight to start with. I’ve included a kettle bell circuit that you can follow 3-4 times per week just add load steadily as you get stronger.

Always seek professional medical advice and take your time and listen to your body as you exercise. Kettle bells are free weights that typically consist of a ball of metal with a handle.

High-quality kettle bells are made out of metal, so they are virtually indestructible but there are also plastic ones that are filled with sand. They have a thick handle you can hold on to securely with two hands and the actual weight is very compact and there are not pointy parts.

kettlebell seniors workout advanced senior meredith fitness
(Source: www.seniorfitnesswithmeredith.com)

This makes kettle bells perfect for dynamic movements where you swing and push the weight around. The danger of losing your grip or bumping your leg painfully is much lower than with a dumbbell.

This can be compensated with two different size kettle bells or by getting some other form of weight for the upper body work. Kettle bells can be used to perform many kinds of frees weight exercises like variations of squats, dead lifts, overhead presses, swings, cleans, and snatches for example.

I’d go as far as to argue that just by performing kettle bell swings and body weight squats you can achieve a bare minimum amount of strength training to keep your body healthy and functional. The movement is initiated with the legs and the hips and the power is transferred through the back and the arms to the kettle bell.

Because you are moving around with a free weight, the movement also challenges your balance, a key element of your health that you should train when aging. Kettle bells are also perfect for functional movements like the dead lift which essentially helps you pick heavy objects from the floor.

Kettle bells are typically used one at a time and the shape is much more comfortable for swinging the weight around and between your legs when compared to dumbbells. On the other hand, overhead presses can feel awkward on your wrist when using a kettle bell and dumbbells are generally more suitable for that purpose.

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There are kettle bells that are made out of plastic and filled with sand, there are metal ones and I think I’ve even seen concrete ones. A straight steel kettle bell can scratch a wooden floor when moved on it and shatter ceramic tiles even when handled carefully because the surface is so hard.

The correct kettle bell weight is highly individual as your physical fitness, age, gender, and size all play a significant role. It’s important to recognize that you should always consult a professional when picking up a kettle bell if you are unsure of your personal fitness level and physical capability.

I’ll leave an affiliate link to Amazon below, if you decide to buy through it, I will earn a small commission that helps me keep this site up and running. They are made out of cast iron, they are coated with a soft vinyl to protect your flooring, and they are available in weights ranging from 5lbs to 45lbs.

Any other similar kettle bell is perfect as well and there are a ton of options with different colors and finishes on Amazon alone. They have become a popular exercise tool in the United States largely because of the enthusiasm and effective marketing by strength and flexibility coaches.

Though kettle bell lifting competitions are relatively new in the United States, they have historical significance in other parts of the world. Kettle bell training was “discovered” by U.S. athletes and particularly mixed martial arts fighters.

kettlebell seniors exercises
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Kettle bell workouts are designed to increase strength, endurance, agility, and balance. However, since practically any KB exercise can also be executed with a dumbbell, it is reasonable to ask why you should use a kettle bell instead?

The kettle bell shape (remember the “cannonball with a handle” description) makes the weight displacement different from a dumbbell's. The off-center weight of a kettle bell makes it more unwieldy, requiring the use of more stabilizing muscles to control it.

By the nature of their design, nearly all kettle bell lifts are compound movements that work the body as a whole, rather than isolating muscles. Common kettle bell lifts also tend to work muscles through a longer range of motion, which improves flexibility.

So while barbells and dumbbells are certainly good free-weights, keep in mind that the unique unwieldiness of kettle bell training is precisely the reason many athletes use them today. Many of the most common kettle bell exercises, such as swings, cleans, windmills, and snatches, really work the hips, hamstrings, glutes, and waistline.

Combined with proper nutrition, KB workouts will burn off fat better than almost anything you can think of. I am not aware of any reported serious injuries, but you sure wouldn’t want to bonk yourself on the head or drop one on your foot.

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(Source: www.walmart.com)

Ideally, some sessions with a competent instructor is a good way to go, although I've seen some excellent video instruction, too. Either way, once you know and practice proper form, kettle bells are certainly no riskier than lifting other free weights such as barbells and dumbbells.

Good judgment is the key to safe, successful kettle bell training, just as it is with barbells and dumbbells. Then begin with modest efforts, perfect your form, and gradually work up.

Next, you must consider your present strength and fitness level when deciding what weight to start with. A rule of thumb is that handling a kettle bell will be more challenging than a dumbbell of the same weight.

Most of the companies selling KB's offer beginner guidelines for what weight(s) to buy. As your strength grows you can buy a heavier bell and sell the lighter one or keep it for higher repetition work.

Best of all, if you can attend a KB training workshop before you buy, or find a trainer nearby, you can try out different weights at the same time you are receiving some coaching. There shouldn’t be ridges in the handle and the finish should be fairly smooth but not slick.

Sources
1 kettlebellsworkouts.com - https://kettlebellsworkouts.com/kettlebell-exercises-for-seniors-and-older-adults/
2 elderstrength.com - https://elderstrength.com/kettlebell-for-seniors/
3 www.senior-exercise-central.com - http://www.senior-exercise-central.com/kettlebells-for-seniors.html