Looking for a great workout option that will help you target a number of areas? The kettlebell might be just what you need.
Ask any trainer and they’ll tell you that kettlebells are here to stay—and they work. Here’s why: kettlebell exercises demand the use of multiple joints, which engages all the larger muscles of the body. Compound kettlebell moves burn calories faster than isolation moves, which only work one muscle.
“Kettlebells are also effective because they target all aspects of fitness, including strength, endurance and power,” says Mike Bell, a personal trainer at willSpace, a New York-based gym. So if you haven’t picked up a kettlebell yet, it’s time you do.
Here are Bell’s five beginner-friendly exercises that are simple enough to master and will no doubt juice up your gym routine:
1. Kettlebell Deadlift
Start with the kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly turned out. Squat down and pick up the kettlebell, then stand up and drive through your heels, keeping your chest up and back straight. Squeeze your butt at the top and return all the way back to the ground until the kettlebell lands at your feet.
10 reps, 3 sets
What it works: Hamstrings, Glutes, Back
2. Kettlebell Swing
Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out. Grab the kettlebell on the floor in front of you and keep your arms loose as you send your hips back and drive to a standing position. From here, slightly bend your knees and using your lower back and hips, swing the kettlebell two inches forward, then push it backward through your legs. Swing forward again until you push the kettlebell out until your arms are parallel with the floor. Repeat.
10 reps, 3 sets
What it works: Lower back and hips
3. Kettlebell Squat Thruster
Start with two kettlebells, one in each hand, in the rack position: that is, grip both firmly by the handles and pull fists to chin keeping elbows pointed straight down. The kettlebells will rest along on your outside forearm. Keeping your arms tucked in close to your body, squat down and explosively drive the kettlebells overhead as you stand. Bring back to the rack position and repeat.
10 reps, 3 sets
What it works: Shoulders, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes
4. Kettlebell One-Arm High Pull
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the kettlebell in front of you with your right hand and let it hang in front of your body, arm straight. Slightly bend your knees and use power from your legs and biceps to jerk the kettlebell rapidly up the middle of your body, leading with your elbow, until your hand is about eye level. Repeat.
10 reps; 3 sets for each hand
What it works: Lats, Biceps, Glutes
5. Kettlebell One-Arm Clean
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the kettlebell handle loosely with your right hand. The handles should run parallel to your feet, not across your body, and your thumb should point forward. Drive up with your legs and hips as you pull the bell up the midline of your body into a standing position, keeping it close for better control. Keeping a loose grip on the handle throughout the movement, bring the kettlebell up to your shoulder and rotate your arm so the kettlebell turns from the inside to the outside of your body. Return to starting position.
10 reps, 3 sets on each side
What it Works: Arms, Shoulders, Lower Body
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