Kettlebell exercises hit the fitness world like wildfire around 2010. It was just part of the normal fitness ebb and flow
where a new trend pops up every six months or so that is, “The best thing ever!” But unlike some fads, using kettlebells can provide some pretty great results; if you do it right.
That is one of the problem with kettlebell workouts; improper form. People might think they are doing exercises correctly (even trainers) but might be making a minor mistake that can lead to injury or just not getting the maximum benefit. Learning the basics of kettlebell use is a nice bonus for most people because it can easily net you a very solid full body workout in anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
Generally speaking the workout will feel more like circuit training or similar muscle endurance training that has become much more popular over recent years. It works on promoting lean muscle, burning fat, and creating an athletic body that is more multifunctional compared to just standard heavy weightlifting. You ready to swing?
The Kettlebell Swing
If you are only go to do a single kettlebell exercise it should be the swing. This is a great exercise for building and strengthening key muscles in your core and hips. It also works on your coordination, flexibility, and agility.
Now when you use an exercise like this for higher reps and repeated sets in a short period it works on your muscle endurance as well as increases anaerobic capacity. Doing sets for a minute to a minute and a half, then resting 30 seconds, and repeating 4 to 6 times will really get the heart and breathing rates up. Gaining endurance and explosive power in key muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, quads, core, shoulders, and arms is great for anyone, especially people who engage in athletic pursuits that use any of those muscles.
Performing the Swing
To start we are going to learn the correct body posture you start in for the swing. Many people set-up incorrectly which leads to problems in the entire movement.
Take the kettlebell and place it behind your back and hold it with both hands. Place your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend at the knee. Keep your head up and eyes straight. Then push your hips back and bend at the waist until you are almost parallel to the ground. Keep your back flat and core tight while you try and stick your chin out. This is the basic movement your body performs and you need to focus on this movement. Squeeze the glutes as you stand up and the legs lock. Practice this repeatedly to get used to the motion before we work on the actual swing.
Next shift the weight to the front and hold the handle with both hands. Lean forward and place the bell on the ground in a forward position in-line with the top of your head. Your knees are bent, back is flat, core is tight and your arms are stretched out on the bell. This initial swing will bring the lats into the equation. Start by pulling the weight in between your thighs like you are hiking a football. As the swing starts back the other direction going forward you squeeze the glutes and stand straight up.
Now you are in swing mode just like we did without the weight. The weight will travel up to shoulder height as your body gets completely straight then on the down swing you unlock the legs and push the hips back letting the weight swing between your thighs like you are hiking that football. You don’t want to go lower than mid-thigh with the weight or you can hurt your lower back.
- Dig your heels into the ground
- Drive the kettlebell down between the thighs
- Tighten the glutes on the upswing
- Keep the shoulders in a tight position and don’t let them stretch forward
- Take your time to learn the movement right with light weight