Have you ever thought of having a kettlebell in your gym but never knew what else you could do with it except using it as a doorstop? If this is you, then consider reading on. Research has shown that people who do 20-minute kettlebell workouts burn as much 300 calories per session, and that is just for starters. When you consider the impact kettlebells have when sculpting your muscles – that is a number of calories burned as your body repairs muscle fibers after you’ve exercised – the overall expenditure may increase by up to 50%.At the same, kettlebells make standard dumbbell moves even more challenging. Since the bell’s weight is not evenly distributed, your stabilizer muscles are pushed to work even harder. Define your back and shoulders; tone your core, arms, and butt; and lose a couple of pounds with this circuit by Chicago-based Sean Armstead, CEO of Phenomenal Fitness.Learn how to get that big work out in a short time!
From the first move, it is imperative that you complete all exercises without resting. Once you are done with a circuit, take a minute or two rest before repeating the set two or three times. Do this routine 2 or 3 days every week using 10 to 15-pound kettlebells. To learn more about these exercises, please check out WEBMD on “what are kettlebell workouts?”
Exercise #1: Around the Body Pass
Hold the bell with both of your hands right in front of your upper body and stand with both your feet set at hips-width apart. Release the weight into the right hand and move both your arms behind your back. Take hold of the bell with the left hand before bringing it to the front again – making a complete circle around your body. That is one rep. Do ten cycles, before switching direction. Repeat this process without taking a break.
Quick tip: Avoid moving your hips and do your best to keep your core fully engaged through the entire move.
Exercise #2: Bent Row
With the kettlebell in the right hand, squat slightly, and bend your torso slightly forward until your upper body is almost parallel with the ground. Let the bell hang at arm’s length. Keep your upper body still as you pull the bell to the side of your chest with your elbows close to the body. Lower back starts. That is one rep. Do 10 to 12 cycles, then switch sides.
Exercise #3: Dead Lift
With your feet set at hip-width apart, have the kettlebell directly between your feet on the floor. Squat and grab the bell’s handles with both your hands – make sure that you back’s flat. Squeeze your glutes, brace your abs, and slowly push into your heels as you rise keeping your arms fully extended. That is one rep. Do 10 to 12 reps.
Exercise #4: Figure 8
With your feet set at wider than hip-width apart, bend your knees into a quarter-squat position, straighten your back, and raise your chest. Hold the bell behind the left leg with an arm on each side of the leg. With the left hand, swing the bell to the front of your left leg between the legs before swinging it behind to the right leg. Using the right hand, grab the bell and swing it between your legs to the front of the right leg, then behind the left leg. That is one rep. Do 10 reps.
Quick tip: Movement needs to be slow and controlled but seamless.
Exercise #5: Half Get-Up
Lying down face-up, and with your legs straight, hold the bell in your right hand directly above your shoulder. Bending the left knee, place your foot flat on the floor, and prop yourself up using the left arm. Make sure that the weight is perfectly lined with your shoulder before sitting up slowly until your back is straight. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. That is one rep. Do 5 and repeat the cycle on the other side.
Exercise #6: Swing
Grab your kettlebell with both your hands and stand with your feet at more than hip-width apart. Squat until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor and stand immediately while swinging the kettlebell up to shoulder height. As the bell starts to go back down, bend the knees and enter into a squatting position while swinging the weight in between your legs. That is one rep. Do 15 to 20 reps.
Quick Tip: If you have back problems, you are advised to perform this move without using weights.
Exercise #7: Front Squat
Standing with both your feet hip-width apart, hold the kettlebell with both your hands right in front of your chest with your elbows bent and close to the body. Keeping your chest up and back straight, push your hips backward and bend your knees until they are at a 90-degree angle. Press into your heels and return to a standing position. That is one rep. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Quick Tip: Make sure that your knees are over your toes and not in front of them when you come into the bottom position of your squat.
Exercise #8: Windmill
With your feet set at wider than hip-width apart, hold the weight using your left hand. Raise it until it is next to your shoulder before pressing it overhead. Rotate your chest left, look up at the kettlebell and try to touch your right foot with your right hand. Pause before returning to the starting position with your left arm extended. Do 5 to 10 reps before you lower the weight. Do the same on the other side.
Quick Tip: This move is quite tricky. You are, therefore, advised to practice without a weight until you get the form.