You’ve seen them in the hands of everyone from fit moms to buff jocks at your gym - kettlebells have become a go-to piece of workout equipment for many. Since the spherical weights have rolled into the fitness world, it's become well-known that compound, whole body movements typical of kettlebell exercises are superior to machines that isolate muscles for improving muscle tone, body composition, and strength.
But a recent study also showed how kettlebells can give you one hell of a cardiovascular workout. Researchers compared kettlebell and treadmill workouts where participants were training for the same amount of time. The results revealed that they had burned similar amount of calories, but the heart rate was higher during the kettlebell workout. This means it develops the cardiovascular system more, in addition to strengthening and toning muscles better.
Follow Cheryl Foo as she shows you how to get your heart rate up whiles building lean muscle with these 5 kettlebell exercises.
Here are some tips for the moves. For beginners, you are recommended to start at 10 Reps x 5 Sets per exercise, at 60% of your 1 rep max. As you progress, you can adjust to lift heavier (85% of your 1 rep max). Work to keep the intensity high and do not rest more than 30 seconds between sets. Most importantly be safe and feel free to adjust the weight and amount of sets based on your personal capacity.
1. Kettlebell Swings (10 reps x 5 sets)
Tip: With each swing, bend your knees and put you butt back to initiate a different set of muscle groups before swinging through and straightening your knees.
Benefits: Though your arms are swinging the kettlebell, the bulk of the work comes through your hamstrings and your core. Be sure to complete each movement in a controlled fashion with a smooth rhythm.
2. Kettlebell Clean (10 reps x 5 sets)
Tip: Keep the kettlebell close to your body and don't swing it to far away. Feel free to swing your free hand for stability.
Benefits: Your glutes, legs and lower back are the main muscle groups working in this movement.
3. Overhead Jerk (10 reps x 5 sets)
Tip: Ensure your arm goes straight upwards, and bend your knees to absorb any shock as you lower the kettlebell.
Benefit: Shoulders are the big group being worked here but don't forget the leg drive which also benefits your lower body.
4. Kettlebell Snatch (10 reps x 5 sets)
Tip: Let your hips really drive the movement and punch upwards to make the movement explosive.
Benefit: This is great for your shoulders, arms and hips.
5. Turkish Get Up (10 reps x 5 sets)
Tip: The key to this exercise is stability and keeping your focus. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell throughout and move at a comfortable pace.
Benefit: This forces your whole body to work but the toughest work is done by your core. Keeping your posture as you move from horizontal to vertical requires focus especially as you tire.
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