6 Kettlebell Exercises to Maximize Your At-Home Workout Routine
Experts agree, changing up your at-home exercise routine will keep you from reaching a plateau with your workouts. Incorporating kettlebell exercises into your workout regimen is an excellent way to train your muscles while also getting in some cardio exercise.
Using momentum with any type of weight was generally unheard of years ago, but kettlebell training uses dynamic and often ballistic movements that increase the heart rate while challenging the whole body. Instead of concentrating on working one muscle group at a time, kettlebell exercises involve using all the major muscle groups in multi-step movements.
What Exactly Is a Kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a ball of iron with a handle that comes in several sizes ranging from 8 pounds to 100 pounds. It can be used for several standard weight training exercises with including the bench press, bicep curls, squats, and rows.
What makes kettlebell workouts stand out from the rest is that most of the exercises use faster movements. This will increase muscular endurance when the exercises are performed repetition. The following exercises should be done with a 10-15 pound kettlebell to start. Since form is very important with this type of workout, it is best to start with a lower weight.
Why Train with Kettlebells?
Kettlebell training is a great workout that improves coordination, agility, and posture. It combines strength and stability exercises with endurance moves to reap the most benefits in a short amount of time.
The exercises are relatively simple to execute, and the workout only requires one piece of equipment, making it a great option for an at-home workout.
Single Arm Overhead Swing
This challenging exercise targets the hips, glutes, thighs, shoulders, and arms.
1. Holding the kettlebell in your right hand, stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart.
2. Lower into a squat and swing the kettlebell back between your knees.
3. Lift the weight back up as you thrust your hips forward, squeezing through the glutes, and swing the kettlebell up overhead. Keep your arm straight.
4. Swing the weight back down and repeat for 8 repetitions, then switch sides.
Around the Body Pass
Working you abdominal muscles, obliques, arms, and shoulders, the Around the Body Pass will also raise your heart rate to add some cardio strength training into your workout. To reap the most benefits from this exercise, keep your abdominal muscles tight and avoid moving your hips.
1. Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your torso and stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
2. Release the kettlebell into your right hand and move both arms behind your back.
3. Using your left hand, grab the bell and bring it back to the front, completing a full circle around your body.
4. Continue this exercise to complete 10 full circles around your body, then immediately switch directions beginning with your left hand, and grabbing the kettlebell behind you with the right hand for an additional 10 circles.
Try and complete the 20 total circles without stopping in between to rest. This will elevate your heart rate and increase the intensity of the workout.
Power Plank with a Row
This variation of the traditional plank engages the shoulder and back muscles for an intense upper body workout.
1. Place your left hand on the floor and your right hand on the kettlebell. Your hands should be placed directly under your shoulders. Extend your legs out with your toes on the floor into a plank position.
2. Hold your abdominal muscles tight and maintain a straight back as you slowly lift the right hand with the kettlebell, pulling the elbow back with a rowing motion. Squeeze through the shoulder blade as you draw the elbow back.
3. Then, lower the weight, lightly touching the floor, and repeat for a total of 10 rows with the right arm.
4. Switch sides and perform 10 rows with the left arm.
Using a slow, controlled movement, this exercise works the entire core while challenging your body to stabilize itself.
1. Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart, and keep your knees bent.
2. Keeping your back straight and chest lifted, slowly lower into a slight squat, approximately a quarter to half way down.
3. Hold the kettlebell with your left hand and place your arms on each side of your leg.
4. Swing the kettlebell it in front of your left leg, between your legs, and then out and behind your right leg.
5. Then grab the kettlebell with your right hand and swing it in front of your right leg, between your legs, then behind your left leg. This completes the Figure 8 motion.
6. Repeat this exercise for 8-10 repetitions.
This exercise builds strength and increases cardiovascular fitness. You will want to keep in constant motion without slowly down to reap the most benefits from the Swing.
1. Grab the kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
2. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and your chest lifted, squat down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor.
3. Immediately stand and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height, pushing your hips forward as you come up.
4. Lower the kettlebell back down, returning to your squat position and swing it between your legs. Immediately repeat the movement for 15-20 repetitions.
* Beginners should master this move without using the kettlebell to get your form down before attempting to do it using a the weight.
This kettlebell variation of the traditional dead lift targets the hamstrings and glutes.
1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet.
2. Squat down and grab the handle with both hands, while your abdominal muscles tight, your back flat, and your knees slightly bent.
3. Maintaining a tight core, squeeze through the glutes, and slowly push down through your heels as you return to a standing position and extend both arms out to shoulder height.
4. Returning your arms back down, slowly lower your body back down and continue this exercise for 10-15 repetitions.