Add the kettlebell to your weight training
The kettlebell is a great tool for building total body muscular strength and endurance while challenging your cardiovascular system with interval style training. Kettlebells add a dynamic that you don't get from dumbbells or barbells, because the weight is hanging below the handle rather than being balanced in line with the handle. It's a great free weight option that can add variety and a new challenge to your workouts.
Our kettlebell workout consists of four exercises performed in a row with 30-60 seconds of work followed by 30-60 seconds of rest. Once the first round of all four exercises is completed, repeat the entire circuit two to four more times depending on your fitness level. Take just enough rest time to allow a brief heart rate recovery before moving on to the next exercise.
• Kettlebell swing. Take a shoulder width foot position over the top of a kettlebell. Grip the kettlebell with both hands, tighten your core, and make sure your heels are firmly planted. With a slight knee bend, fold forward and allow the kettlebell to swing backward between your legs. Keep your spine neutral and ensure the movement comes from your hip joint. As you stand back up and extend your torso, squeeze your hips to generate power so the kettlebell naturally swings upward to shoulder height. Keep this rhythmic swing going with quick bursts of power from the hip joint.
• Kettlebell Alternating Rows. Take hold of a kettlebell in your right hand and bend forward at the waist. Keep a slight knee bend while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. At this point your chest should be facing the floor. Pull the kettlebell upward in a rowing motion while squeezing your right shoulder blade. Extend your arm back down toward the floor and grab the kettlebell with your left hand. Repeat the same motion with the left arm and continue alternating back and forth between both arms.
• Kettlebell pushup. Assume a pushup position with one hand on the handle of a kettlebell and the other on the floor. Keep your feet wider than shoulder width and tighten your core. As you exhale, push upward with enough force and stability that your hand comes up off the floor for just a second. At this point you must balance between your feet and the hand that is on the kettlebell. Allow your floating hand to touch the floor as you drop back down into the pushup. Repeat and then switch sides.
• Kettlebell situp/standup. While holding a kettlebell in one hand, lay back on a bench and extend your arm toward the ceiling. Tighten your abdominals and push your low back down onto the bench. As you keep the tension in your core, sit up to a seated position, all while keeping the kettlebell extended toward the ceiling and your arm straight. Once you get to the seated position, continue to a standing position. Reverse your steps and control back to your starting point. Repeat and then switch sides. The key on this exercise is to keep the arm extended and the core engaged the entire time.
So give this workout a try to see and feel the advantages of kettlebell training. For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our blog and social media resources.
• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.