Kettlebell Workout Routines
If you’re interested in finding a workout routine that will provide cardiovascular benefits as well as strength training then kettlebell is something you should take a look at. Kettlebell workout routines are extremely effective at toning muscle while also increasing cardiovascular endurance. On top of all the health benefits, kettlebells training is just plain fun when compared to traditional weight training exercises.
What is a Kettlebell?
Kettlebells are Russian in origin and were popular in the US a few decades ago. They are essentially spherical cast iron weights of differing sizes with a handle attached to the top. Unlike a dumbbell, the center of gravity in a kettlebell isn’t in the palm of your hand but rather outside it. The center of gravity will change depending on how you hold or swing the kettlebell. In most strength training routines, combining weight lifting and momentum is unadvised. This isn’t the case with kettlebell which effectively combines momentum into most routines. The workout movements create a centrifugal force which helps to increase stabilization muscles.
One of the best things about kettlebell exercise is that it’s a total body workout. Depending on the types of Russian kettlebells exercises that you do, you will engage your core as well as work shoulder, abdominal, arm and leg muscles. Since an effective kettlebell workout combines strength training with momentum, you will find yourself mimicking real world activities like hoisting an active child into the air or lifting a heavy box onto the top shelf in the garage. Here are just a few of the benefits you’re likely to notice given enough time with a kettlebell workout routine:
- Strength training in general and kettlebell in particular will increase bone density and muscle strength
- Improved posture and balance
- Increased strength and cardiovascular endurance
- Improved stability
- More muscle mass which will assist in weight loss
- Increased self confidence
As you become more familiar with kettlebell workouts, you’ll want to learn as many different movements as you can for variety and to improve your results. If you can find a kettlebell video that suits your fitness goals and has a wide variety of movements that are demonstrated, it will be well worth the investment.
- One Arm Press – Hold a squat position with your opposite arm out. Take the arm with the kettebell and push the weight up as you rotate your palm out. Bring the weight back down, rotating so the palm faces in. Hold the squat position for the entire duration of the set.
- Kettlebell Swings – Begin in a semi-squat with your feet shoulder width apart. Place the kettlebell slightly behind you like you were hiking a football. Grip it with both hands, and with an explosive movement swing it out to about chest height. At the top, exhale and contract your legs and glutes. Then let the kettlebell freefall back between your legs.
- Kettlebell Windmill – Great for arms, shoulders and abs. Hold the kettlebell in one hand and take a surfboard stance. Hold your arms out and rotate so the kettlebell rotates toward the floor. Look up at the hand not holding the kettlebell.
- Kettlebell Clean and Press – Here is a video on how to perform this move:
- Kettlebell Snatch – The snatch is a hybrid of the clean, press and swing. The movement starts the same as a clean/swing. You want to initiate the movement with your hips. Then keep it close to your body but keep it moving upward. As the kettlebell rotates over your hand, punch it up to extend and finish the move.
Getting Started with Kettlebell Workouts
When you’re ready to get started you’ll need to gather some equipment. First, you’ll need a quality kettlebell. Second, you’ll want to find a kettlebell routine that works for you.
What to Look for in a Kettlebell
- Finish – The finish is very important. You want to make sure the finish is uniform and even with no ridges or bumps that can tear up your hand. Be wary of epoxy finishes which can chip easily.
- Handle – You want to be sure to get a kettlebell that is cast as a unit. You don’t want a kettlebell where the handle has been welded on. A wider handle will allow you to have more room for two handed drills.
- Base – You want to find a kettlebell that has a slightly wider base. Wider bases make it easier to perform floor exercises like a Row and kettlebell pushup.
Finding Kettlebell Routines
Most local gyms are not well equipped to assist with a kettlebell routines so most people find it easier to work out with the assistance of kettlebell videos. Thankfully there is a good selection of kettlebell videos available for most fitness levels. You can also find specific kettlebell workouts for women, videos with a focus on particular muscle groups and videos with a cardio focus.
As you look for a kettlebell fitness routine, consider what your fitness goals are. Are you looking to improve your general tone or do you want to build muscle? Do you want a routine that incorporates a good deal of cardio work or do you want to focus on endurance and strength? When you match your routine to your goals you’ll be more likely to achieve the results you want. Here is a sample kettlebell workout:
Customizing Kettlebell Training Workouts
Depending on your fitness goals, you may find it helpful to customize your kettlebells workout. For example, if you have mobility issues with one arm or shoulder then you should gradually work up to a more intense workout on that side (if you have any physical limitations you should seek the advice of a physician before attempting a new exercise routine, particularly a kettlebell routine).
Kettlebell exercises for women may be slightly different than those for men – at least starting out. Women will typically start with a lighter weight. Women and men also typically have different fitness goals so finding the right kind of training workout will be important.
Success with Kettlebell
The key to success with any kind of workout program is consistency. When you begin your workout program you’ll be excited to see what you can accomplish. As the days turn into weeks and months, some of that excitement may wear off. In order to keep going strong, it can be helpful to make a note of what your goals are and why those goals are important. If you can, write them down in a place you can refer to on a regular basis. Maintaining consistency with your kettlebell routine will provide better results than going whole-hog for just a short period.
Kettlebell workouts are a great way to improve your strength and overall health. By carefully selecting your equipment and sticking with your workouts you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your strength, balance and endurance in a short period of time.