A guide to kettlebells

Kettlebells aren’t just for Hollywood actresses and their trainers. Using kettlebells is a legitimate workout that helps you push your body to the next level.

Originating in Russia, they have actually been around since the 1700s. They haven’t changed much since then, but you’ll be glad to know they aren’t measured in a unit called pood anymore.

The kettlebell is effective because it has a centre of mass that extends beyond the hand. As you will know from your delt raises, the centre of gravity can drastically change the difficulty and the power of an exercise. Together with Maxinutrition, retailers of premium protein powder, we aim to demonstrate just how effective a kettlebell can be within your workouts.

Swing during the change

During the course of the exercise, the kettlebell’s centre of gravity shifts, which helps you burn a high number of calories, building lean muscle in the process along the posterior chain of your body. Another benefit is that kettlebells utilise what is called your functional strength; examples of this would be if you pick up stuffed cases, bags of cement, and even wriggling children. Kettlebells can also help you become more supple and help to boost your flexibility.

How to use them

Feet shoulders-width apart, stand with your knees slightly bent. With both hands, hold the kettlebell between your feet and don’t change the bend in your knees; then, swing the bell up from between your legs and out up to just higher than your chest, but make sure your arms are kept straight.

Take large gulps of air as the bell swings back to the floor – and make sure to exhale at the top of the swing; it’s a low-impact movement that will certainly get your blood pumping, which can also fire your metabolism for a few hours after your workout.

Performing advanced variations

Try to turn your swing into a crush; by doing so, you’ll be releasing the kettlebell and catching it mid-air as it is raised to your chest. With this move, it’ll help boost core strength in your chest, grip and coordination. Start off with smaller weights that you are accustomed to with this move, as you don’t want to drop it!

By flowing from one exercise to the next, you’ll be able to take advantage of the kettlebell’s unique shape; you can variate between these two exercises after one rep without having to put the kettlebells down.

Give this a try

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grab a kettlebell with one hand. Swing it between your legs like before then flip it behind your forearm and press it overhead in a snatch motion. As the flow continues, with the kettlebell still overhead – alter your stance so that your toes point away from the weight at a 45-degree angle. Then bend at the waist and slide down your opposite arm down to the corresponding leg; pause. This will test your obliques and shoulders – once you’ve done this reverse the move back to the start.

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