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.
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.
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. 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.
The workout gets your heart pumping and uses up to 20 calories per minute: about as much as running a 6-minute mile. Kettle bell workouts offer a lot of flexibility.
Sign up for a kettle bell class at the gym or online 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. 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 sign up for classes in person or online 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. 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 through 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.
Continued 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. 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.
Sources American Council on Exercise : “Exclusive ACE research examines the benefits of kettle bells.” Overview & Facts Tips for Success Get Lean Get Strong Fuel Your Body All Guide Topics
Build a Better Butt: Workouts for Slim and Shapely Glutes 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. 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. 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.
If you want to build muscle fast and naturally, you want to mix up your workout routine and include some more out-of-the-box kettle bell exercises now and then to get you out of that rut you're stuck in. We collected the best kettle bell exercises you aren't doing and should do to improve mobility, increase strength and — of course — build muscle.
Doing resistance training regularly can also help you lose belly fat and boost metabolism naturally too, among other things. Unlike more traditional bodybuilding methods, kettle bell workout classifies as 'functional' training and is considered to build functional muscle mass as opposed to mainly the aesthetically pleasing variety the former does.
Since you are moving your arm around your head, kettle bell halo also improves shoulder mobility, something not many people pay attention to. When performing kettle bell halos, make sure you keep your core tight and focus on rotating the shoulders as opposed to your hips and upper body.
By keeping your core tight, you can reduce swaying and isolate the upper back and shoulder more efficiently. Sometimes also called the kettle bell high pull, this exercise works the same muscles as the standard kettle bell swing but by adding the horizontal pull movement, it also adds a bit more resistance to the movement and works the core, the shoulders and the upper back a bit more.
Probably the second best kettlebellexercise after the kettle bell swing, the Turkish get up requires muscle coordination and improves overall strength significantly. Turkish get ups are great full body exercises that work the core, the glutes, hips and shoulders the most.
It's a real mystery why thrusters are not super popular: they combine two awesome exercises, the squat and the overhead press, into one perfectly smooth flow and work both the lower and the upper part of the body, not to mention the core which works twice as hard to stabilize the body.