Build strength with kettlebells
Kettlebell exercises are becoming more and more popular these days as people see the benefit of training with the weights in their own home or the gym. Shaped like a ‘cannonball’ with a handle on top, they are heavier than traditional dumbbells, and get both your muscles and heart working.
Strength training with kettlebells can slow down certain health conditions, lift your mood, help you sleep better, improve your heart health, decrease pain from arthritis, help manage diabetes and even strengthen your bone density.
It’s a good idea to make an appointment at a local gym before you start working out with dumbbells, and ask to see a personal trainer who can take you through the weights. They can help you to choose the right weight for your body, and make sure your form is correct to reduce the risk of injury.
There are some standard exercises you can do with a kettlebell, each of which are effective at helping you tone up, get stronger, and have a good workout.
Standing Pull Up
A relatively straightforward kettlebell exercise is the standing pull up, which will help tighten your abs and engage your quads.
Stand straight upright with legs hip distance apart, and hold the kettlebell extended downwards with straight arms, so it sits between your legs. Pull your elbows up and outwards, keeping tension in your arms and cheese, and then hold the kettlebell in position under your chin for a second. Lower it back to the start position, then repeat 10 times.
Start with your feet hip distance apart, and both hands grasping the kettlebell handle between your legs. Bend your knees and swing the kettlebell back a little, then straighten up and, using your hips, swing it out to belly button or chest height. Repeat 10 times.
Avoid using your shoulders and arms to swing the kettlebell – all the momentum should come from driving your hips forward.
With your feet hip width apart, hold the kettlebell in both hands, letting it sit in front of your chest. Keep your elbows bent and close to your body, back straight, and chest up. Push your hips back and bend your knees so you go down into a squat position, the kettlebell still held under your chin. Stand up again slowly, then repeat 10 times.
Kettlebell workouts on DVD
If you like the idea of working out with kettlebells and want more intensive exercises to try at home, then it’s worth investing in a DVD.
The ever popular Jillian Michaels has a kettlebell workout called ‘Shred It With Weights’ , which takes viewers through two levels of kettlebell workouts and has modifiers for beginners.
The ‘Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners’ DVD is another good starting point, and has three different levels of kettlebell workout, with the introductory workout being great for people new to the exercise.
Another popular kettlebell regime that will give you a great workout is the ‘Bob Harper Kettlebell: Cardio Shred’ DVD. This also provides a longer workout and more of a challenge, so may be best suited to intermediate kettlebell users.
Have you ever tried working out with kettlebells?
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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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