Kettlebells, often overlooked at the gym, are brilliant and versatile equipment. It is incredible how a single Kettlebell is sufficient to perform exercises targeted at different muscle groups to get a full-body workout. The kettlebell allows for single or dual-arm lifts and is much gentler on the wrists and elbows than standard dumbbells and barbells. Whether you are an athlete or a beginner, next time you work out, try these four kettlebell exercises for the ultimate workout:
A great way to elevate your heart rate, kettlebell swings help tone hamstrings and glutes and improve coordination. If you are new to this exercise, start with a lighter weight and focus on getting your posture right.
To properly execute a kettlebell swing:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell on the floor just behind you.
- With your chest up and back straight, bend your knees to grab the kettlebell, pushing your butt backwards.
- Now move your hips forward in a thrusting motion, and as your knees straighten, swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
- Allow the kettlebell to slowly swing back down, and repeat this in a continuous loop for 20 times for a set.
The kettlebell clean is a full-body workout in itself. A multi-joint movement that recruits muscles from the legs, hips, back, and shoulders, the clean is an excellent exercise for developing strength and body balance.
To perform this exercise:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell placed in between your feet.
- Squat and grab the handle of the kettlebell firmly.
- Straighten your arm, look forward and open up your chest in a 'proud' stance.
- Swiftly extend your knees and move your hips forward as you pull the kettlebell off the ground.
- Drive your elbow straight back and pull your hand close to your body.
- Catch the kettlebell in a front rack position, your hand at collarbone level, cradling the kettlebell.
- Unwind the front rack by sending the kettlebell over the forearm.
- Move from the hips and bend your knees as you lower the kettlebell in the start position.
- Initiate the next repetition, and repeat 12 times for a set.
The kettlebell press improves overhead strength to perform daily tasks and helps develop better alignment throughout the body. It conditions the shoulders and upper body, giving it great shape if performed regularly. It improves endurance, builds muscle mass and is a great way to work the heart.
The press can be done with one hand or both, either sitting or standing.
Here's how you can begin:
- Hold a kettlebell with both hands and raise it over your head on one side. Transfer the weight to one hand and hold.
- Stand tall, brace your core, and squeeze your glutes.
- Keep your feet steady as your glutes tighten, creating tension in the lower body.
- Get your body into a rack position. Every rep begins from here. You may extend the opposite arm out to your side for better balance.
- Press the kettlebell over your head, maintaining the position of your shoulder.
- As you press, allow your elbow to move away from your body.
- Your palm should face forward when the weight goes up.
- Actively pull it back down by keeping your core engaged.
- Repeat 12 times for a set.
If you’re looking to work on your back muscles, the row should be your go-to movement. It is great for identifying any strength imbalances and then correcting them.
To do this exercise:
- Stand with the kettlebell by your feet.
- Take a big step back with your right leg and bend down to grab the weight with the right hand.
- Lean forward, keeping your back straight and rest your left elbow on your knee.
- Using your back and shoulder muscles, lift the kettlebell to your chest.
- At the top, squeeze your shoulder and back muscles, then lower the weight slowly.
- Complete these steps for 12 reps on one arm, then switch sides.
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