There are many different kettlebell exercises that one could incorporate into a routine, and you'll probably run into most of these along the way, however for someone who is new to kettlebell training it's wise to focus on a few basic exercises to make up a basic routine. This will give you the advantage of a good general start without overtraining or injuring yourself, which could set you back months and probably sour you on kettlebell training altogether. So in this article we'll look at some of the more basic ways to get you started in kettlebells.
These exercises ought to be taken up 3 times a week, with the sets and rest times indicated. As usual, whenever taking up any new exercise program make sure you are fit enough to do so. If you have any health concerns check with your doctor before proceeding with a kettlebell training regimen. Kettlebells are an extreme form of fitness conditioning, and not for the faint of heart, literally!
Also, make sure you stretch your major muscle groups well before beginning, as well as getting your heart pumping a little. If you do kettlebells correctly it is a major cardio event, so be prepared.
(For the following exercise descriptions, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words, so if there is any confusion get your hands on a video, so you can see the fluidity of the movements firsthand.)
This exercise is performed by keeping your torso straight, and bending forward from the hips slightly. Then in an explosive move you lift the kettlebells by extending the hips, knees and ankles, getting the kettlebells to your shoulder level. Keep your elbows out and the kettlebells close to your body at all times. When you have them shoulder level rotate your elbows around and under the kettlebells, ending with your wrists against your shoulders and hips and knees flexed to help absorb the weight. Do this exercise in three sets of 15-20 reps, with 15-30 seconds rest between.
<strong>SINGLE ARM KETTLEBELL ROWS</strong>
Standing with your feet hip width apart, slightly bent knees, bent at hips with a straight back. Hold onto something immovable around waist height to help support you during the exercise. Then grab the kettlebell in the free hand and let it hang toward the floor. Keep your elbow tucked in and raise the kettlebell up to your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top, then lower the kettlebell and repeat. Do this one as well in three sets of 15-20 reps with the same rest periods.
<strong>ALTERNATING FLOOR PRESS</strong>
Lying on your back with a kettlebell in each hand, perform a press to the sky with each one, alternating and twisting your body slightly to involve muscles of the upper back and shoulders as well as the chest and arms. Again, three sets of 15-20 reps and the proscribed rest periods.
<strong>KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUATS</strong>
Holding the kettlebells at chest level in front of you, and with your feet a little bit wider than hip width apart and knees slightly bent, perform a squat to the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure that your knees are over your feet and that your torso is a bit forward to maintain balance. Don't go beyond parallel. Once down there, return to the starting position and guess what? Repeat for three sets of 15-20 reps each, making sure to get your short rest in between.
<strong>SINGLE ARM KETTLEBELL JERKS</strong>
With your feet shoulder width apart and knees lightly bent, (see a recurring theme here?) hold your kettlebell near your ear with your palms facing forward. This exercise is an explosive one, and the next step would be to perform a quick quarter squat, and then immediately extend your legs while at the same time pressing your kettlebell up above your head, making sure to keep your kettlebell and wrists over your elbow. Make sure to employ your legs to give you the ability to lift heavier weights in this exercise. Once again, three sets of 15-20 reps.
One of the more popular and signature kettlebell exercises, this one is performed by grasping your kettlebell and holding it between your legs, with your body bent over and back as flat as you can make it.. The move consists of swinging your kettlebell backwards and then making a forceful move forward bringing the kettlebell up to your chest level, while keeping your arms straight and extending your legs. Repeat this move for three sets of 15-20 reps. This one is a definite cardio blast, so be prepared! You can alternate arms to get a balanced workout.
Windmills are performed by extending one arm straight overhead with a kettlebell. Then bend over at the hips while making sure to keep your back flat and grasp the other kettlebell and essentially dead lift it while raising your body back to an upright position, all the while maintaining the other kettlebell above you. Do your reps and then switch up arms for a balanced workout.
While there are many more exercise that can be added to make for a fuller, more complete workout, these basics will give you a good start toward success with your kettlebell training. If you are in training for a specific sport, you'll come across exercises that will be very sport-specific, and greatly aid you in your training.
One of the hallmarks of success with kettlebells or any other training method for that matter is consistency. Make sure that however you construct your routine, that it is one that is neither too hard nor too wimpy. Being able to consistently train at this extreme level will bring results you've never had before, but only if you build a smart routine and then stick like glue to it! get involved with a good instructor if you can, or find like-minded people to work out with and you'll find your success!