Kettlebells aren’t just for those hardcore fitness junkies anymore! In fact, I bet once you start using them you’ll want to keep them in your gym bag for good. Many beginners, and even some pros, are still unaware of what the ancient art of kettlebells really is all about. The kettlebell is actually a simple cast iron or steel ball with a handle on top that’s been wrapped around various other weights and bones over the years. It’s use to do numerous kinds of exercises, such as ballistic movements that combine strength, cardiovascular and flexibility conditioning.
Kettlebells first came about during the ancient Chinese and Russian civilizations, and they were first used by the military. They’re great for conditioning, because it’s harder to cheat when you’re doing lifts with it than most weight lifting bars. However, their true beauty is in their design – they allow for the user to get into a “one arm snatch” type of muscular contraction where your whole body gets involved. The basic kettlebells technique involves holding a weighted rod in each hand, with the palms of your hands facing away from you. Your arms must be stiff, because otherwise you won’t be able to perform this one arm snatch exercise properly.
To perform the overhead kettlebell snatch, begin in the standing position with both hands stretched out behind your head. Place your feet flat on the floor or mat, and grip the barbell overhead with your palms facing behind you. Let your arms hang naturally as you move your shoulders in a smooth, flowing motion. Remember that your shoulders cannot go farther than your wrists can stretch out, and that the only way to increase your range of motion is to relax your body. By taking the time to do these few easy movements correctly, you’ll quickly see why kettlebells are so popular for bodybuilders.
The single kettlebell swing is another favorite single exercise of many dedicated practitioners of Russian martial arts. In the simplest form, begin in a standing position, arms at your sides. As you raise each arm, swing them toward your body, forcing your hips to stay still. Remember that you will be using only your hips to power this movement, so don’t try to jerk your arms. Instead, use your entire body to swing the kettlebell back and forth, which will force your hips to remain still.
A similar exercise is the hip hinge. Again, begin in a standing position, arms at your side. Now, lower the kettlebell to a ready position, lowering your hips until they are just below your knees. Squeeze the kettlebell between your legs and return it to the starting position, repeating as many times as you feel comfortable.
A great exercise to add to your workout routine is the two-pulley kettlebell swing. Begin by holding one of the two kettlebells at your sides, with your palms facing each other. Keep your arms straight, and rotate your trunk as you swing the bell back and forth. Try to make these movements feel more like the side motions of a pushup. Perform ten to twelve reps of this movement, and focus on maintaining good form rather than trying to pull the bell away from your body.
Of course, the best workouts to build core strength and hip mobility come when you incorporate them into your normal workout routine. You can do squats, lunges, and reverse crunches, all of which focus on your core muscles. However, if you want to maximize your workout, try working out with the Turkish get-up and the single-leg Turkish kick. These are perfect for increasing your core strength while simultaneously building up your hip mobility.
In order to work out with the Turkish get-up and the single-leg Turkish kick, however, you will need to purchase two kettlebells. If you do not have these items at home, it may be best to invest in a couple of quality kettlebells that you can use for these workouts. For example, you can invest in a black handled double barbell that will allow you to carry around two kettlebells at once. This will enable you to do numerous single-leg and double-arm overhead lifts with ease.
If you liked this content, check out Rogue Kettlebell