New To Kettlebells: A Beginners Guide

New To Kettlebells: A Beginners Guide

The kettlebell originally hails from Russia — it was known as a girya and was used by Russian farmers in the 1700s to weigh crops — but can now be found in gyms across the globe. Don't let the unusual shape scare you off. In fact, it's the kettlebell's shape and off-balanced center of mass that makes it such a powerful tool.

If you want to torch more calories, build your endurance and your strength, and improve your mobility, it's time to grab a kettlebell and get your swing on.

5 Kettlebell Benefits For Your Strength & Cardiovascular Workouts

1. It Combines Cardio, Endurance, and Strength

Short on time? Focused on functional fitness? Wanting to build muscle size, strength, and improve your conditioning? Instead of lifting weights and then going for a run, try kettlebells instead. Because all kettlebell exercises incorporate explosive, ballistic movements, they combine:

  • Muscular Strength
  • Mobility/Flexibility
  • Cardiovascular Endurance

Are kettlebells the best workout? Well, the science says that few other full-body workouts are as effective as kettlebells.

2. Improve Mobility and Reduces Your Risk of Injury

The motion of the kettlebell, combined with the load-carrying element of the weight itself, targets your stabilizer muscles and improves your balance. Not only does this improve your performance in sports and other athletic endeavors, but it also:

  • Reduces your risk of injury
  • Forces your core to be engaged during the movements
  • Directly carries over to your overall athleticism 

3. It Enhances Proprioception

We're going to channel our inner fitness nerd for a second. Proprioception is a scientific exercise term that refers to how mindful and aware you are of your body position in space. It helps with everything from improved reaction time to performing full body exercises. In short, it makes you more effective in the gym and levels up your physical performance. 
Because kettlebells involve a lot of dynamic movements, your mind-body connection and muscular coordination get a massive stimulus. 

4. It Builds Your Hip Functionality

Your hip mobility and glute strength are among the most overlooked aspects of performance. Yet they are fundamental for injury prevention, pain reduction, and proper form when doing exercises like deadlifts. Since some of the most common kettlebell workouts involve a lot of triple extension (full extension of ankles, knees, and hips), they're one of the best ways to open up your hips and augment your glute strength.

5. It's Fun and Compact

Finally, kettlebells introduce a lot of playfulness and diversity into your workout. If you're feeling unmotivated or bored with your workout, they're a great way to switch things up, hit your muscles in new ways, and keep you pushing hard in the gym. 

5 Effective Kettlebell Exercise Every Beginner Needs to Try

Kettlebell movements can seem foreign if you've never tried them before. Unlike barbells or dumbbells, kettlebell exercises are more dynamic requiring more coordination and body awareness. Start with these timeless movement to boost your athleticism and physique...

1. Kettlebell Swings

Start with this classic:

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a kettlebell and let it hang in front of you with your palms facing towards you.
  • Slight Bend in your knees and chest up
  • Push your hips back and lower the kettlebell towards the ground between your legs.
  • In an explosive manner, accelerate your hips forward while tightening your glutes and core.
  • Simultaneously swing your arms up till they are parallel to the floor (don't let go of the kettlebell!).
  • Dynamically, let the KB fall back to the starting position & repeat. There is an athletic rhythm to this exercise so you never want to be tense.

2. Goblet Squats

Hold the kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands, then:

  • Brace your core, drawing your abs towards your spine.
  • Squat down while keeping the kettlebell in front of your chest.
    • Keep your chest up throughout the movement
  • Pause, then stand back up.

3. Single Arm Press

Stand while holding a kettlebell in one hand with your palm facing towards your chest, then:

  • Your core is braced & knees slightly flexed
  • Press the kettlebell above your head
    • Imagine bringing your armpits forward to create a stable shoulder position.
    • Don't let your low back arch significantly

4. Snatch

  • Hold the KB with one hand in front of you
  • Knees slightly bent, core is braced, & chest is up
  • Push your hips back to slightly lower the KB
  • Explode upwards while tightening your glutes and straightening your legs.
  • Simultaneously pull with your arm and let the KB travel vertically
  • Stabilize the KB overhead

5. Squat Thrusters

In a squat position, hold one kettlebell in each hand so that they're against your deltoids with your elbows pointing out and away from you. Then:

  • Core is braced, knees slightly bent, and chest is up
  • Squat while maintaining proper posture
  • Explode into a standing position while simultaneously straightening your arms and pressing the kettlebells overhead.

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