Russian bodybuilders used kettlebells centuries ago to gain strength, flexibility and a competitive advantage, and they’re making a big comeback now. People have discovered how effective they are for shaping up and losing weight in less time. Swing your workout routine and learn how to use these weights safely to achieve new levels of fitness.
Fun Facts About Kettlebells
1. Go back in history. Russian strongmen first used kettlebells in the 1700s. You may have seen photos of these objects that look like cannonballs with handles – often in old bodybuilding photos or in hardcore strength training gyms. Now they’re becoming popular again.
2. Feel like a celebrity. Some famous movie stars and athletes train with kettlebells for physically demanding roles. You’ll have something in common with Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz and many football players when you pick up these tools for fitness and strength.
3. Burn up more calories. Kettlebell workouts are very intense and target your whole body. Some experts estimate that it’s possible for an individual to burn about 20 calories per minute during a kettlebell routine. That’s more than three times the average for a regular aerobics class, with an added benefit of gaining muscle.
Working Out With Kettlebells
1. Purchase your equipment. You can buy weights online (watch out for shipping charges) or in sporting goods stores. The exact prices will depend on the poundage of each kettlebell. It may be economical to buy them in sets to keep up with the progress you’ll make.
2. Enjoy a full body workout. What makes kettlebell workouts so special is the way they work multiple body parts and muscle groups at once. You get cardiovascular and strength training, combined with flexibility and an increase in aerobic capacity if you work at a quick pace. You can also increase the stability of your core muscles as your body works to balance itself during the movements.
3. Learn the whole circuit. The best way to train is to complete a full circuit of different exercises, balanced to work both sides of your body. You’ll learn to swing the weights as well as to pass them from one hand to the other.
4. Adapt your old dumbbell exercises. Even though you’ll be learning a new approach with different equipment, you can make use of what you already know. Some moves like shoulder presses and flys will be familiar if you ever trained with dumbbells.
5. Supplement with other activities. Schedule a variety of exercise types to liven up your workouts and maintain interest. Alternate kettlebell days with other activities like hiking or yoga classes to keep you motivated and interested.
Additional Tips for Your Best Results
1. Talk with your doctor. Kettlebell workouts are safe for most people, but you may want to talk with your doctor first. This is especially true if you’ve been sedentary for a long time or if you’re over 50.
2. Seek out qualified instruction. Proper technique is crucial to avoiding injuries and reaching your fitness goals. You can work with an individual trainer or call gyms in your community to see if they have group classes. You can also work one-on-one with a trainer for a few sessions and then continue workouts at home once you’ve learned the movements.
3. Use the correct weight for YOUR strength level. Give your muscles time to build up their capacity. Using lighter weights will let you concentrate on learning (and keeping) the correct form. From there, you can work your way up to heavier weights and reduce the chance of overuse injuries.
4. Remain mindful and focused. Once you get into the routine of completing your group of exercises, it may be tempting to let your thoughts drift, but continue to pay attention. In addition to protecting you from accidents, concentrating your mind plays a big role in sculpting your body.
5. Protect your hands. You’ll love how kettlebells are tough on fat, but you may be concerned about what they can do to your hands. Give your hands some extra care and protection. Use pumice stones and moisturizing lotion to treat callouses. Treat any cuts with an antibiotic ointment promptly to reduce the risk of infection. You can also wear training gloves for a more comfortable grip.
Kettlebells are a fun and effective way to get fit even if your time is limited. Swing your way to better health and a leaner figure.