Because they are simple yet versatile, they are great for both beginners and workout veterans. And as a bonus, they’re relatively cheap and you only need one to get a great full-body workout.
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Kettlebells come in different weights and designs and can be used for many different training movements. “The kettlebell is probably the most underrated piece of equipment in the gym. The shape of the bell allows you to train strength, endurance and strength in a small piece of iron,” says Lauren Kanski, certified personal trainer and founder of the K-Method.
Getting into a kettlebell workout seems as easy as picking one up and swinging it around – but that can lead to injury. There are some basics you need to know before you begin to stay confident and get the best results. Read on for Kanski’s advice on how to get started with a kettlebell workout.
Which kettlebell to buy
If you’ve never trained with kettlebells, it’s important to start with a lightweight model so you don’t injure yourself while learning the basics. In addition to lifting, kettlebells offer much more freedom of movement. Just because you can lift 15 to 20 pounds easily doesn’t mean you can swing this easily over your head.
Although the weight you use will depend on your personal fitness level and background, Kanski generally recommends starting with an 8-10 kg kettlebell for overhead workouts and 10-14 kg. 30 lbs) for beginners who want to learn how to do kettlebell turns (instructions below).
If you have experience lifting weights or are currently doing strength training, you can try starting with a heavier weight. Kanski says these folks can start at 12-24 kg (26-52 lbs) for any workout that involves lifting it overhead and 24-32 kg (52-70 lbs) for kettlebell turns.
Kettlebell basics and mistakes to avoid
If you are hesitant about exercising with kettlebells, don’t be intimidated. While you can do a ton of advanced moves and workouts with them, they’re completely beginner-friendly.
“Anyone can use kettlebells, regardless of their training history. I train a broad segment of the population from athletes to the elderly to those recovering from injuries. It’s a very functional tool for targeting multiple levels of movement,” says Kanski. “The most important thing for beginners is to learn how to hold the bell and work on that grip strength.”
The two grip positions improve the strength
Standard handle: The standard handle is when you hold the horn or handle as if you were lifting food by the handle.
Front rack position: “In the front rack position, the wrist is nested by the horn to position the bell between your chest, collarbone, and biceps. This position is great for loading squats and serves as a starting position for any overhead press,” says Kanski.
As with any new exercise routine, it’s important to take things slowly. Before each move, take the time to understand and make sure the correct shapebefore you exercise.
According to Kanski, one of the biggest mistakes people make is jumping right into more advanced moves like rocking and snapping before they’re ready. “Make sure you master the movement patterns before doing anything explosive or with heavy loads,” she says.
Beginner kettlebell workout routine
If you can master these three moves from within Kanski, you will have a solid start to your kettlebell fitness routine.
“This is really good for your core because you’re loaded on one side, not the other. Your core stabilizers crouch hard to keep you balanced,” says Kanski.
- Start with the kettlebell in the front rack position – sitting at your chest, rocking in your biceps, with the horn (handle) under your collarbone.
- Then move on to a regular one .
“This step is exactly what it sounds like carrying groceries home,” says Kanski. “This is ideal for your core, your grip strength and your overall physical strength. Depending on the load, do 30 seconds to 1 minute for each set.”
- Hold a kettlebell by your sides in each hand and keep it away from your thighs.
- Pull your shoulders back and walk in a straight line as slowly as possible.
“Remember, this is a hip-dominant movement, not a squat. Your hips move the bell, your arms guide it into place. It takes a lot of practice, so play with it,” says Kanski.
- Start with the kettlebell, resting on the floor about an arm’s length from your body. Your feet should form a tripod with the bell.
- Squat down to grab the handle of the kettlebell.
- Tense your core, hold the bell in place, and toss it between your legs like walking a soccer ball.
- Then quickly straighten your hips forward to toss the bell in front of you while keeping your shins vertical. Hold on to the kettlebell throughout the pull.
- The final position should be as if you are on a standing tall plank.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions about a disease or health goals.