Kettlebells for Full-Body Conditioning
FOCUS ON: Whole-Body Conditioning
AVOID: Lifting Too Heavy
BEGINNERS: Consult a Personal Trainer
Kettlebells have recently received a boost in popularity because they combine basic training with functional, whole body fitness. Lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces the entire body, and specifically the core, to contract as a group, building both strength and stability at the same time. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscle groups at once, making them a great option for getting a whole body workout in a short time.
It’s important to start slow when using kettlebells. We recommend you consult with a personal trainer on the proper use of kettlebells, as they require strength, coordination, and lots of practice. It takes most people time to adjust to the new movement patterns that are often different from traditional weight-lifting moves. Kettlebells require guidance, instruction, and patience. The biggest mistake beginners make is lifting a kettlebell that’s too heavy before they can control it. This can result in serious injuries to the joints, and especially to the neck, back and spine.
Perform two to three sets of each exercise, for eight to twelve reps. As the exercises become easier and your form has improved, steadily increase the amount of weight. You can also occasionally change up your routine and perform the exercises as a circuit – performing one set of each exercise with little to no rest between each exercise. Kettlebell workouts should be performed twice per week.
- Double Kettlebell Swings (full body exercise)
- Single Kettlebell Snatch (full body exercise)
- Two-Arm Kettlebell Clean (full body exercise)
- One-Arm Kettlebell Split Jerk (full body exercise) (Advanced exercise – only perform after you have already completed at least three kettlebell workouts. Start with light weight.)
- Kettlebell Renegade Row (back and arms) (Advanced exercise – only perform after you have already completed at least three kettlebell workouts. Start with light weight.) Perform the following exercises the same way you would with free weights:
- Chest Press
- Bicep Curls
- Overhead Triceps Press
Remember – kettlebell exercises are only limited by your imagination. You can generally perform all the same exercises that you would with free weights.
Kettlebell Exercise Technique
Double Kettlebell Swings
- Stand with your legs a little more than shoulder-width apart while holding a kettlebell in each hand between your legs, raised slightly above the floor.
- Knees should be bent, and your upper body should be bent forward at the waist with your back straight, not rounded over.
- Start by swinging the kettlebells behind your legs, and then quickly reverse directions.
- Move the kettlebells straight out in front of you up to chest level at a rapid yet controlled pace, while simultaneously standing up straight from the squat position.
- At the end of the movement, you should be standing up straight, and your arms should be straight out in front of you, perpendicular to your body.
- Return to the starting position by squatting back down and letting the kettlebells swing between your legs – then repeat.
Single Kettlebell Snatch
- The single kettebell snatch is performed in almost the same manner as the double kettlebell swings, but with two differences.
- The first difference is that you only use one kettlebell instead of two, and you hold it with both hands.
- The second difference is in the finishing position. Instead of stopping when your arms are at chest level and perpendicular to your body, you continue through the motion until your arms are straight above your body.
Two-Arm Kettlebell Clean
- Start by holding two kettlebells on the floor in between your legs. Your legs should be spread apart wider than shoulder-width.
- Knees should be bent, and your upper body should be bent forward at the waist with your back straight – not rounded over.
- Move the kettlebells up to shoulder level while simultaneously standing up straight from the squat position.
- While moving the kettlebells up, bend your elbows as if you were performing a reverse bicep curl.
- At the end of the movement, you should be standing up straight with your elbows fully flexed as if you had just finished the contraction phase of a reverse bicep curl.
- Lower the weight back to the floor and then repeat.
One-Arm Kettlebell Split Jerk
- In the starting position, hold one kettlebell directly above your shoulder with your elbow bent. Your other arm will be against your side or raised out horizontally for balance (this arm is not holding a kettlebell). Feet should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Press the kettlebell directly above your head until your arm is straight over your head.
- As you are pressing the kettlebell overhead, drop into a lunge position.
- If you are lifting the kettlebell with your right arm, your right leg should be the one that pushes forward during the lunge.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Repeat on the other side with the opposite arm.
Kettlebell Renegade Row
- Place two kettlebells on the floor and hold on to the handles of each in a pushup position.
- Push up so you are in the top position with your arms straight and elbows locked.
- While keeping your arm straight, push down with one arm on the kettlebell to support your body weight. Simultaneously lift the other kettlebell up to your body as if performing a one-armed row.
- Lower the kettlebell under control to the floor, and then repeat on the other side.
*Always consult your doctor before beginning this or any training or diet/supplement program. We do not assume any liability for injuries that may occur while using any information contained in this newsletter, regardless of whether a doctor was consulted.