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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