KETTLEBELL EXERCISES (Part 1 of 3)

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Kettlebells are all bells, no whistles. Resembling a mini bowling ball with a handle, kettlebells are great for cardio, strength, and flexibility training [1] [2] [3]. Start by picking up the weight of your choice — women usually grab between eight and 16 kg weights, while men go for 16 to 32 kg, though these weights vary depending on the exercises of choice. (No harm in starting low and working your way up!) Reps and sets will depend on intensity and fitness levels, for most of these moves, we recommend aiming for 3-5 sets of 10-30 reps with good form. (We suggest starting with a trainer or kettlebell aficionado to make sure everything’s kosher). Ready to rock? Let’s give these kettlebells a swing, snatch, or clean!

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1. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs
Level: Beginner
How to: This exercise is all the kettlebell rage! Stand up straight, with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Grab hold of the handle with both hands, keeping the palms face down and arms in front of the body. Maintain a slight bend to the knee and drive the hips back, lowering the body — but not too low, this isn’t a squat! Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, keeping the glutes and core engaged. Remember: The motion should come from the hips (not the arms!) as the body returns to standing. Lower the weight back down between the legs while lowering again, and keep this swinging motion going for 12-15 reps (or more — depending on those kettlebell capabilities!).

2. One-Handed Kettlebell Swing Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
How to: This movement is the same as the two-handed swing, except using only one hand at a time! Swing the kettlebell up with one arm, but still swing the other arm to help drive momentum. Alternate hands when the kettlebell is behind the legs; aim for 10-12 reps with each arm.

3. Two-Arm Kettlebell Row Targets: Back, arms, shoulders
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
How to: Grab two kettlebells for this one. (Double the pleasure, double the fun, right?) Place them in front of the feet and bend the knees slightly. Next, bend over to grab both kettlebells and pull them towards the stomach, keeping the elbows close to the body and the back straight. Lower the weights, repeat for 12-15 reps max, feel like a champ.

4. Kettlebell Figure-8 Targets: Arms, back, abs
Level: Intermediate
How to: Looking to impress a certain someone at the gym? Then try this: Start with legs a bit wider than hip-width distance apart, and lower yourself into a quarter-squat position. (Keep that back straight and chest up!) Grab the kettlebell with the left hand and swing it around the outside of the left leg and then back between the legs. Next, pass the kettlebell to the right hand and swing it around the outside of the right leg. Keep this motion going, similar to the classic basketball drill! Can you do a minute straight? (Be sure to switch directions half-way through!)

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5. Kettlebell High Pull Targets: Shoulders, arms, glutes, legs
Level: Intermediate
How to: Turn those toes out 45 degrees with feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Place the kettlebell on the ground between both legs and begin to squat while keeping the core engaged, and grip the kettlebell handle with one hand. Then, using force from the hips, push through the heels to rise to standing, pulling the kettlebell upwards while the elbow drives up. Lower back down and switch arms. Shoot for 10-12 for each arm.

6. Kettlebell Front Squat Targets: Legs, glutes, back
Level: Intermediate
How to: What’s a squat without a kettlebell in hand? Stand up straight, holding the kettlebell in front of the chest with both hands, keeping the elbows close to the body. Start squatting by driving the heels into the ground and pushing the hips back until the thighs are parallel to the ground or just below. Return to standing, and repeat for 15-20 reps (or more!) Just remember: quality over quantity!

7. Kettlebell Lunge Press Targets: Shoulders, back, arms, abs, glutes, legs
Level: Intermediate
How to: Here’s a new way to spice up those lunges. Stand up straight while holding the kettlebell in front of the chest with two hands, arms bent and palms facing each other. Lunge forward with one leg while raising the kettlebell overhead (raise the roof!). Return to standing while returning the kettlebell to the chest. Try for 10-15 reps on each leg.

Got something to say? Let us know in the comments below!

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