history-of-kettlebell-exercisesDisclaimer..I am not a trainer…I’m a person that struggles day-to-day with eating and working out just like about all of the people out there.  That being said, I’m going to talk about something that I have been doing and that has been rocking my world…

That’s right.  As we move into 2014 and you are looking to shed some poundage, I want to introduce you to your new best friend.  The Kettlebell.

That’s right ladies and gents.  Drop the dumbbells, turn off the treadmill, cancel that 5k.  These little puppies are your ticket to fitness in 2014.  I can think of no piece of workout equipment that gives a better all around workout then our friend the Kettlebell. Sure, it is just a big ball of iron with a handle on it, a thick handle at that, but it really is so much more.

While popular throughout history (learn here) and even more popular as a fitness tool in Russia, the Kettlebell didn’t make its way to the USofA  until the late 90’s.  It has slowly been growing in popularity amongst the inner circle of trainers and now it should be a part of your workout on a daily basis.  I know you are now so pumped up by this idea of full body exercise, and a simple search of the net can give you some good exercises.  But here is a quick rundown of some of my favorite.

lanceswingingkettlebell_webTwo Handed Kettlebell Swing: Targets Shoulders, Back, Hips, Glutes, and Legs.  This beginning level exercise is all about the full body.  Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart.  Hold the kettlebell with both hands between your legs.  With bent knees, lower the bell by driving your hips back while not squatting.  In one explosive motion, drive your hips forward while allowing the kettlebell to swing up to about chest hight.  Keep your glutes and core tight.  12-15 reps.

Kettle Bell High Pulls: Targets Shoulders, Arms, Glutes, and Legs.  This intermediate exercise requires placing the bell between your feet.  With your legs shoulder width apart, squat down and grab the bell with one hand.  Using your hips, push through your heels to stand straight while pulling the bell up to chest hight.  Rinse and repeat 10-12 times per arm.

Kettlebell Deadlift:  Targets: Legs, glutes, Arms, back, and abs.  The days of deadlifitng with a barbell are over.  Squat and grab the bell between your feet while keeping your back flat.  While engaging your core and tightening your glutes raise the bell up until you are standing tall.  12-15 reps with proper form.  Protect your back by using your abs.

kettlebell-exercises-kb-pressOne Armed Kettlebell Snatch: Targets Shoulders, Chest, and Back.  This advanced move starts with the bell between your feet with knees bent.  By exploding onto your toes you pull the bell up to chest level with the elbow tucked in.  From there, it is a simple press up above your head and then return to the ground.  Try for 8-10 reps on each side.

Mind you this is just a small sampling of the stuff you can do with Kettlebells.  They are that versatile and really do hit multiple areas on your body.  If you are one of those people that don’t think you have time for a long workout, think again. With Kettlebells you don’t need more than a half hour.  Doing even these four basic exercises will get your heart pumping, your muscles growing and your fat dropping.  Just remember to hit the protein powder after you are done.

A few tips for the beginner.  Start with a Kettlebell that you can do the reps with.  Don’t start a weight that is too heavy because you will not be able to keep good form or finish the sets.  The Kettlebell will tire out your hands quicker then other weights because the handle is thicker then the traditional dumbbell (an added benefit) so your will notice over time that your grip is stronger.  Another note on grip, squeeze that handle as hard as you can.  It adds to the form and function of the exercise.

If you are looking to buy some for yourself you can always go function from Amazon or expensive and designer.  If you are looking for a set for home, I recommend probably starting at 20 pounds for guys and going up in ten pound increments from there.  Women probably could start at ten and move up by fives.  It really depends on your fitness base.