Typically kept tucked away under a rack of dumbbells or bumper plates, the kettlebell is one of your gym’s most underrated pieces of equipment. This no-frills hunk of cast iron is simplistic in design — it looks like a bowling ball with a handle — but it offers myriad benefits. When used properly, it can add more variety and intensity to your workout than typical weights, improve the range of motion of your shoulders and hips, boost your grip strength, and immediately improve your strength, stamina, and balance.
“The kettlebell is an exceptional tool,” says Jason Khalipa, 2008 CrossFit Games champion and owner of 20 CrossFit boxes. “It has a ton of value for developing the midline, or core. If you don’t stabilize it as you swing it, it can take you across the room. That stabilizing helps develop overall strength and control.”
Proper form is essential. Kettlebell workouts “can mess you up,” says Khalipa. He suggests athletes follow the “Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity” progression. First, learn the mechanics of the move and make sure you can do it correctly. Next, perform the move multiple times with proper form. Then, only when you’ve established perfect technique and consistency, work on increasing weight and speed.
Khalipa, who typically incorporates bells into his workouts at least once or twice a week, shared his top ten kettlebell moves to build strength and speed. Look for a quick, high-intensity, fat-burning workout at the end, too.
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