You’ve likely seen kettlebells hanging around. They are ball shaped weights featuring a U-shaped handle on the top. Used for a number of strength, flexibility, and cardio exercises — kettlebells are a great way to mix up your workout!
Unlike dumbbells, kettlebells are unbalanced with the handle weighing less than the ball below. Since the weight is off-center, your body must work harder to keep it stabilized as it moves and changes direction. This added difficulty makes kettlebells a great way to increase intensity and work a variety of muscles.
When determining which kettlebells you should use remember that different workouts will likely require different weights. Try to have 2-3 weight options available ranging from easy to lift, to moderate, to heavy. Start each move with light to moderate weights and work up to heavier weights as comfortable. The starting weights will vary depending on each person’s build and strength. Not sure where to start? Try grabbing a 15 pound kettlebell and see if you can lift it with one arm easily. You should be able to lift your light weight option over your head at least 10 times comfortably with one arm. Too heavy? Don’t force it! Grab a lighter weight until you can lift it over your head easily with one arm. Add 5-10 pounds for your moderate weight and again for your heavier weight options.
Once you have your weights picked out, you are ready to get moving! Try the exercises below for a full body workout:
Sumo deadlifts are a simple exercise to start with. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes outwards at a slight angle. Place a moderate weight kettlebell on the ground between your feet. Bend at the waist and knees to take hold of the kettlebell handle with both hands. Keeping your arms and back straight, lift the kettlebell as you stand up tall. Squat to return the kettlebell to the ground to complete 1 repetition, remembering to keep your arms straight all the while. Keep your hands on the weight as you continue for 10-15 reps to complete one set. If you don’t feel challenged, try upping the weight on your next set!
Complete 3 sets of sumo deadlifts, taking a brief break between each set or alternating between workouts.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold a moderate weight kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Bend your knees slightly as you push your hips back and lower your body — but don’t go too low! Start the swing by driving your hips forward and squeezing your glutes to a standing position as you bring the kettlebell in front of you to shoulder height, keeping your arms straight and core engaged. Lower the kettlebell back between your legs swinging back slightly before beginning the forward motion once more. Your legs and core should be doing most of the work, not your arms. This completes one repetition. Continue swinging for 10-15 reps to complete one set.
Complete 3 sets of kettlebell swings, taking a brief break between each set or alternating between workouts.
Goblet Squat to Press
Start by standing up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the sides of a moderate weight kettlebell handle with both hands at your chest, elbows pointing down and close to the body. Drive your heels into the ground as you squat with the kettlebell at your chest. Dip down until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower — as you feel comfortable. Return to standing position and thrust the kettlebell overhead with both hands as you do so. This completes one repetition. Squat and press 10-15 reps to complete one set. Focus on form and don’t rush!
Complete 3 sets of the goblet squat to press move, taking a brief break between each set or alternating between workouts.
One-Arm Bent Over Row
This exercise works out one arm at a time, so you will want to start with your light weight kettlebell and adjust as comfortable. Place the kettlebell alongside your left foot, staggering your right foot behind it one to two feet. Bending both knees, bend over to pick up the kettlebell in your right hand, keeping your back straight somewhere between parallel and 45-degree angle from the floor. Your left foot should be stacked with your left knee holding the majority of your weight. You can rest your left forearm on your left thigh for support. Keep your shoulders square as you lift the weight to your chest, keeping your right arm close to the body throughout the motion. Return the kettlebell to the ground to finish one repetition. Continue for 10-15 reps and then switch sides. Finish the reps on both sides to complete one set.
Complete 3 sets of the bent over row, taking a brief break between each set or alternating between workouts.
This move only uses one arm at a time, so again you will want to start with your light weight kettlebell. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place the kettlebell between your legs. Bend your knees and squat your butt back, keeping your back straight. Grab the kettlebell handle with your right hand, palm facing outwards. In one motion, stand up straight while you pull the kettlebell to your chest, rotating the weight with your wrist as you go so your palm ends up facing inwards towards your body. Using proper form, return the weight back to the ground. This completes one repetition. Continue for 10-15 reps and then switch sides. Finish the reps on both sides to complete one set.
Complete 3 sets of kettlebell cleans, taking a brief break between each set or alternating between workouts.
Sit flat on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your knees slightly to place your heels on the ground about hip-width apart. Hold a light to moderate weight kettlebell at your chest with both hands, keeping your elbows tucked at your sides. Lean back to a 45-degree angle and begin rotating the torso from right to left. Start the motion at the waist and dip the kettlebell down across the body on each side until it nears the floor. Return the kettlebell to the chest as you rotate back to center. For added difficulty you can lift your feet off the floor up to six inches while you rotate! Twist to the right and left one time to complete one repetition. Continue for 10-15 reps.
Complete 3 sets of Russian twists, taking a brief break between each set or alternating between workouts.
Using kettlebells can be a great way to combine cardio with weight training for HIIT exercises. Look for the weights at the gym and incorporate them into your next workout. Don’t forget to fuel up for tough sweat sessions! Svelte® organic protein shakes are easy to throw in your bag and will provide you with the protein and nutrients needed.