While not nearly as well known as other weight lifting equipment, kettlebell weights can be one of the best and (dare we say it) fun pieces of exercise equipment you will come across. Kettlebells are among the oldest and most traditional strength and conditioning tools around. While not nearly as well known as other weight lifting equipment, kettlebells are one of the best and (dare we say it) “fun” pieces of exercise equipment you will find. Kettlebells are basically just a ball of cast iron with a handle. These balls have been used for hundreds, even thousands of years to create strength training equipment. From the early Chinese, Russian, and Greek cultures, the use of kettlebell weights has been prevalent for centuries.
What makes kettlebells so great? Well for one thing, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Kettlebell weights can vary in size from those that are literally too small to handle to those that are just downright massive. Kettlebells can be purchased by going to your local gym (as I always recommend), or by purchasing them online. The downside to purchasing online is that since you don’t actually touch the kettlebells when you buy them, it’s easy to overestimate your strength. While not terribly common, the rare occurrence of a kettlebell being dropped is a reality.
Another wonderful thing about kettlebell weights is that they can be used for a variety of workouts. Kettlebell workouts are generally considered to be more advanced than dumbbell workouts. The problem with that perception is that it’s exactly the opposite. Dumbbell workouts typically consist of the person slowly swinging the dumbbell back and forth in an effort to gain strength in that arm. Kettlebell workouts put the focus on power instead of strength, which is exactly how to build muscle. As you continue to progress through your workouts, you’ll find that your endurance will increase as well!
So what types of workouts can you perform with kettlebell weights? The first type of workout I want to discuss involves conducting two different sets of double kettlebell exercises. In order to perform these types of workouts properly, you must first set both kettlebells up to approximately the same height. Then get down on your knees and thrust both out in front of you. From here, take both of your hands and make a pushing motion toward the middle of your chest. As your arms become high, turn to one side and repeat.
Next, do the same thing but this time, have each of your hands at approximately shoulder width apart. You want to use heavier weights than when you’re working with just one kettlebell. Perform the same push up motions but this time, have one of your forearms on the outside of your body. When you’re performing the overhead movements like swings, pull ups, punches, and tees, make sure your elbows are pointed towards the sky. If you don’t have a high tolerance for heavy weights, then you may want to start off with lighter weights until you build your endurance.
When you start using kettlebells for the first time, there will be some sort of learning curve. After all, this is a different form of strength training than traditional weights. Some people have very strong forearms, while others may struggle with this. This is where patience and perseverance come in. As you become accustomed to the weights, you will find that each new workout will allow you to move up a little more in weight range.
There is no right or wrong way to do kettlebell workouts. You simply need to start off with weights that are comfortable for you and work your way up until you have reached the point where you can handle overhead movements like swings, jerks, cleans, and get ups with good form. Once you have reached this point, you can progress to other exercises such as snatch movements, single arm snatches, double arm snatches, and high speed snatches. Whatever your level of experience is, there will always be something for you in the market. Start adding weights and challenging yourself to perform new overhead movements like clean and jerks that you never thought you could do!
Kettlebells are an awesome tool to add to your workout arsenal. When you use 2 kettlebells instead of one, you’re more able to target the muscles in your entire body. They can be used for a variety of movements, so start out by using just one kettlebell, and once you have mastered it, you can move on to using 2.
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