The majority of the power and strength comes from your lower body (specifically, your hamstrings and glutes). 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. While core strength and stability is essential for nailing your workouts with proper form, it's also something we need to move through everyday life comfortably and confidently.
“In life, your core, or your trunk, is designed to stabilize you while your limbs are moving,” Tobacco says, “so doing these kinds of kettle bell exercises will not only get you stronger overall, but they will also help with real-life functional strength.” 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. Keeping your core tight, push through your left heel to stand up straight and pull the weight back up to the starting position, squeezing your butt at the top.
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. 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. 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.
The core is extremely important to athletic performance, as it acts to stabilize the body and transfer energy through the limbs. Once enough force is involved, the link won't be up to the task of handling and transferring that energy, rendering movement inefficient and unimpressive.
By simply pulling a kettle bell from one side of your torso to the other while holding a Plank, your core must work to prevent your body from rotating. Begin in a natural High Plank position with a kettle bell by your left side.
While working to keep your chest parallel to the floor and resisting movement throughout the rest of your body, slide your right arm underneath yourself to grab the kettle bell handle. Remaining in a good Plank position with your butt down and core engaged, pull the kettle bell underneath yourself to the other side.
This variation, from renowned strength expert Dan John, looks different from a standard Dead Bug, but the pattern is the same. Hold a kettle bell or med ball with your arms extended in front of your chest.
Raise your legs up until they are perpendicular to the ground and then drive your hips into the air to pulse your feet. Some experts have even proposed they may deserve the title of world's greatest exercise, and it's hard to fault them.
If you've never performed Turkish Get-Ups before, you may want to first start without any weight to see if you have the mobility and full-body strength required to execute the move appropriately. This kettlebellcore exercise may seem like a walk in the park at first glance, but you'll quickly realize the benefits once you give it a go.
The key is preventing your torso from leaning to the weighted side as you stroll, which requires you to activate a plethora of core muscles, particularly in and around the obliques and lower back. Renowned strength and conditioning specialist Mike Boyle compares it to a moving Side Plank.
Standing straight up with your core activated and shoulders rolled down and back, begin walking. The Kettle bell Swing is a powerhouse of an exercise that trains and corrects many weaknesses commonly found in the modern athlete.
This exercise primarily targets the glutes and lower back, two areas that are not always considered part of the core, but perhaps should be. Kettle bell Swings train the all-important hip hinge pattern, which is what allows athletes to utilize the full power of their glutes during explosive movements like jumping.
Dr. Joel Seed man, strength coach and owner of Advanced Human Performance, is a huge fan of this move for several reasons, one being how it aggressively activates the core. Quadruped Bird Dog Kettle bell Rows force the core to resist both extension and rotation while maintaining a neutral spine, aiding in posture problems and reducing the energy leaks that sap athletes of their explosiveness.
While maintaining a neutral spine, kneel on a bench in a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Perform a slow row with the kettle bell, mimicking the tempo shown in this video.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, and hold the kettle bell in your left hand. The core is extremely important to athletic performance, as it acts to stabilize the body and transfer energy through the limbs.
You can also take on her new 30-day challenge in our streaming All Out Studio app, check out her Le Sweat workout app, and follow her on Instagram to find out when she's hosting live workouts from her living room. Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running.
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