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Kettlebell Instagram

author
David Lawrence
• Wednesday, 09 December, 2020
• 7 min read

“Kettle bells have emerged as the lockdown hero of 2020,” says Luke Barnsley, a trainer on the fitness app Fit. He says they might look “tough” but “underneath that exterior lurks a lifelong tool that can help you with virtually every component of your physical fitness”.

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Contents

Over the summer they were totally sold out, and even now they are in demand: John Lewis reported sales increasing by 292 per cent during the first week of November. The primary reason kettle bells are good for us is because they add in weight training into our home workouts.

“Not only for the obvious improvement in your muscle strength, calorie burning and metabolic rate, but weight training is also essential for maintaining good bone density. As we age our bone density reduces, so building a regular weight training session is essential to counteract this part of the aging process.” Multiple studies have shown that mid lifers and older adults who lift weights also have better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic health.

Many personal trainers recommend their clients buy a kettle bell as an essential bit of kit. A study by Wisconsin University found that twice-weekly, hour-long kettle bell classes produced a 70 per cent boost in abdominal core strength, and also a marked increase in the aerobic capacity of participants.

PricePriceNot sold onlineAvailable online of stock online You've probably used it to do exercises like squats, lunges, dead lifts, cleans, snatches, and swings, with the goal of training your lower body, back, and shoulders.

“Many kettle bell skills are compound exercises, which require your whole body to accomplish them in the most effective and optimal way,” says certified personal trainer Sarah Tobacco, fitness director of Achieve Fitness in Boston and Strongest Team Leader. The majority of the power and strength comes from your lower body (specifically, your hamstrings and glutes).

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But your core has to engage the entire time to keep your trunk stable and sturdy as you thrust your hips forward and stand upright. The kettle bell exercises below are great choices for building core strength and stability.

To create a full workout out of these moves, choose three or four that target a variety of muscle groups and do them as a circuit. Demoing the moves below is Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies.

Hold a kettle bell in each hand and rest them at your shoulders with your palms in and the weight hanging against the back of your forearms. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms relaxed by the front of your quads with a kettle bell in each hand.

Hinge forward at your hips and bend your knees slightly as you push your butt way back. Keep your back flat and shoulders engaged as you slowly lower the weight along your shins toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand up straight and return to the starting position. Keeping your back flat and a slight bend in your left knee, hinge forward at the hips, push your butt back, and raise your right leg straight behind your body as you lower the weight toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your left hamstring.

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Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower and grab the kettle bell with your right hand, palm toward your body. Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core.

With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handle with both hands. Hike the bell high up in your groin area (your wrists should touch high in your inner thigh) and thrust your hips forward aggressively so that at the top of the swing, you are essentially in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, squeezing your core, glutes, and quads.

When you're done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back on the floor. Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core.

With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handle with one hand. Hike the bell high up in your groin area (your wrists should touch high in your inner thigh) and thrust your hips forward aggressively so that at the top of the swing, you are essentially in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, squeezing your core, glutes, and quads.

Hinge forward at your hips and push your butt back again, letting the bell drop on its own as you do. When you're done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back on the floor.

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Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core. Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower and grab the kettle bell with your right hand, palm facing your body.

Then hike the bell up to your groin area and thrust your hips forward as you straighten your legs and simultaneously pull the weight up, first to your right shoulder and then continuing until your arm is fully extended toward the ceiling. At the top, your right arm should be locked out, your palm should face forward, and the kettle bell should rest against the back of your forearm.

Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, shoulders, back, and core. Stand tall with a kettle bell on the floor next to each of your feet, the handles running horizontally.

Keeping your chest up and core braced, stand up while pulling through your arms to raise the weights to your shoulders. Walk forward, keeping an upright torso and engaging your abs so that the weight doesn’t dump into your low back.

Lift the weight to eye level and slowly circle it around your head counterclockwise, making a halo shape. As you circle the weight around your head, maintain a tight core, and keep your elbows close to your body to engage your triceps.

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Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat, holding a kettle bell with both hands at your chest. At the same time, press the weight overhead, extending both arms until your elbows are straight.

Grip the weight in your right hand and raise your right arm straight overhead (don't bend your elbow) so that it’s “almost touching the ear,” says Saladin. Pull your right shoulder away from your right ear and engage your lats to keep the weight hoisted.

Hinge forward at your hips as you lower the left hand to the floor between your thighs, rotating your upper body slightly inward so that your right arm stays pointing toward the ceiling. Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core.

Model Amanda Wheeler is wearing Nike Bliss Lux Mid-Rise Training Pants, $90, nike.com ; a Nancy Rose Performance tank; and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 sneakers, $120, nike.com.

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