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March 26, 2021 10 min read
Kettlebells are taking the world by storm. They’re incredibly versatile, you’re able to hold them comfortably in nearly any position you can imagine without compromising your form or unevenly distributing your weights once they’re in your hand. You can use them to weigh down a simple movement like walking or to increase the challenge of an exercise like your squats.
Kettlebells work their way into the gyms and hearts of athletes because of all of these benefits. They’ll slot into your life well no matter what part of your full-body workout you’re trying to supplement.
If you feel like your arms are lagging behind kettlebells can increase your grip strength and challenge your biceps and triceps, if your leg days are lacking, you can use a kettlebell to push your quads to their limit, and if you’re looking to tighten up your core, then holding a kettlebell up above your head while you do something as simple as getting up from the floor will work wonders for your strength training.
If you’re serious about building muscle, then kettlebells are a staple that will push your workout further than most other equipment can in more ways for less money. You’ll enjoy the benefits of isolating your muscles with these concentrated payloads, and you’ll be able to adapt them to nearly every single exercise you’re already doing right now.
Single-arm kettlebell row: Single-arm kettlebell rows are great for your back, your core, and your biceps. You’re going to be keeping your upper body straight out in front of your center of gravity while you work on your arms. Keeping your upper body straight is going to engage your upper and lower traps as well as focusing on the muscles in your lower back almost like a deadlift. The simple row motion we’ll be making with our arms is great for isolating your biceps.
This is an exercise that flaunts the versatility of kettlebells. You can handle much more weight with the bells than you might be able to with a set of dumbbells because you’ll be able to alter your grip more naturally than a dumbbell may allow, and utilizing that increased range of weight will allow you to get more out an exercise like the floor press than you might initially expect.
Kettlebell windmill: Kettlebell windmills are a full-body workout, but the muscles seeing the most work here are going to be in your upper back and shoulders. Kettlebell windmills are going to be excellent for rounding out your upper body. If you spend all of your time working on your chest and arms, your back is going to suffer and your posture will take a nosedive.
Kettlebell Russian Twist: The Russian Twist was long touted as an exercise that targeted the fat around your waist. We know now that the claim to quick fat burn is no good. You’ll have to adjust your diet along with adding exercises like this into your routine if you’re looking to burn fat.
What Russian Twists are really good for is focusing on your abs, your lower back, and your obliques. Your pecs also make a guest appearance here as you hold the bell throughout the duration of the exercise.
They may not sound like much on their face, but if you’ve ever had a particularly large grocery run and just a little bit too much pride, you’ll know that carrying a load like this over a decent distance will get your heart rate up and wear down your muscles pretty quickly.
Kettlebell Toe Touch with Pick Up: The kettlebell toe touch with pick up is a lot like your kettlebell windmills. It’s going to test your flexibility as well as your upper body. The twist here is that you’re going to be lifting a second kettlebell from the ground. You’ll need a lot of stability from your core to keep your weight up above your head as well as managing the load you’ll be bringing up from the floor.
If you’re working on your kettlebell swings and you don’t feel like you’re getting anything out of it, you should focus on a few things:
Kettlebell Pistol Squat: Pistol squats are already pretty tough for folks getting their start in the gym. They require an incredible amount of core strength to maintain your balance, and your quads and hamstrings need to be up for the challenge since you’re only using one leg at a time to manage your body weight. Adding a kettlebell to the equation is going to drive the difficulty of this exercise up even further and bring your shoulder stabilizers and deltoids into the picture. If you think you’re ready for the next step in lower body blasting, then bring on the pistol squat.
Kettlebell Reverse Lunge: Kettlebell Reverse Lunges are a great way to get your heart rate up. You should work in at least a little bit of cardio to your routine. There’s really no downside to doing it. Getting your cardio up will make the most important system in your body more efficient. When your cardio is looking right you’ll be transferring nutrients around your body much easier including that all-important oxygen. Your muscles need oxygen as well as glucose to keep themselves running, and working on your heart health and the general ability of your body to store glucose locally rather than in fat cells will keep your overall fitness head and shoulders above the rest.
Kettlebell Reverse Lunges are also going to be a great exercise for your glutes and thighs. If you want a little extra challenge you can keep yourself on your toes, literally, and add some tension to your calves as well as working your glutes and upper legs.
Turkish Get-up: Finally, we have the Turkish Get-up. This is the ultimate in kettlebell exercises. You’re going to be employing nearly all of your essential muscle groups to get your body up from the ground and into a fully extended standing position. If you’re looking for compound exercises that will work out as many muscles at once as possible, then look no further.
You’re going to be engaging your core throughout the entire movement, and generating the stability you need to keep the kettlebell above you and in your grip is going to engage nearly all of the muscles in your arms. Standing in a controlled fashion during this exercise is going to call on your lower body, and erecting yourself into a full stand is going to ask your back and abs to do a little over time.
Broken down like this the Turkish Get-up sounds like an arduous one-million-step process, but in reality, it’s a pretty straightforward exercise. You’re just going to have to follow these steps to make sure you’re not compromising your balance and toppling on your way up. Once you have the steps committed to memory you’ll be getting up and lowering yourself without issue.
Kettlebells are an excellent tool to add to your gym whether it’s at home or you’ve got a membership. They’re extremely versatile because of the unique shape of the handles. You can replace many of your dumbbell exercises with kettlebells, and since you can alter many barbell exercises with dumbbells, you can modify almost anything to accommodate a kettlebell.
Beyond being versatile, kettlebells are going to allow you to do your exercises with a large degree of comfort. Dumbbells come into a close second in this department, but you’re often contending with your wrists and the balance of your dumbbell. Kettlebells are designed to keep your weight below your grip without hanging off to one side or the other, leaving you to work on your intended muscle group without having to fuss with the balance of your wrists or worrying about unevenly targeting your arms.