The kettlebell isn’t new to the gym but, for many people, it can be quite an intimidating piece of kit. However, these weights of Russian origin are a versatile alternative to dumbbells and offer a better all-round workout than dedicated machines or other free-weights.
The key to the effectiveness of the kettlebell is that, due to the fact that their weight is unevenly distributed, your core muscles are activated, irrespective of the exercise you are performing; same effort but better results.
Often referred to as cannonballs with a handle, kettlebells can sculpt and tone in three-dimensions giving you an amazing shape. So, with that in mind, here are the top three exercise you can perform to give your whole body an incredible workout.
Best for: Glutes, thighs and core – The Sumo Get Up
Lying on your back hold a suitably sized weight in each hand at your chest level, palms up with the weight resting on the back of your wrist. Your right foot should be flat on the floor with your leg bent, your left leg tucked under your right. In a controlled movement, sit up with the bells tucked into your chest. In a dynamic but fluid movement, stand up on your right foot keeping your left leg behind you. You will need to lean forward slightly to maintain your balance. As you stand, bring your left knee up in front of your body and press the bells upwards in one direct motion. Slowly return to the start position before repeating 10-15 times and then switch sides.
You might also like: lunges or figure 8’s
Best for: Abs and glutes - The Kettlebell Swing
Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart and bent slightly at the knee lean forwards and pick up a kettlebell using both hands, knuckles forward (keep your arms and back straight). Using your hips, swing the kettlebell between your legs and then, as it comes back on the downwards momentum, straighten your legs and thrust your pelvis forwards so that the kettlebell reaches chest height. In a fluid motion but under control, repeat this action for twenty reps. Though gravity will help you in this swing, use the explosive power of your glutes tightening in the upward swing to really maximise the results of this move.
You might also like: torso twists or half get-ups
Best for: Shoulders, arms and abs - Around the Body Pass
Keeping a bend in your knees and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart hold the kettle bell by its handle with both hands, knuckles forwards, in front of your body. Keeping your torso facing forwards, and your shoulders level, slowly pass the kettlebell round to the left hand side of your body with your left hand and take it behind you. With your right hand collect the kettlebell and bring it back to the front of your body. Continue with this movement until you can confidently perform it at greater speed. Repeat a full body pass 10-15 times before switching direction, being careful as you do so not to drop the kettlebell. Always perform this exercise at a speed which ensures you are comfortable with your grip.
You might also like: Dead Lifts or Windmills
Make sure you choose a weight that is comfortable for you to be able to perform these exercises with good form, that you maintain a good grip and that that area in which you are exercising is free of obstacles.