Kettlebells are cannon ball-like weights with thick handles. They became popular with Russian weightlifters just over a century ago, but now their use has spread. They are ideal for explosive exercises. Kettlebells utilise multiple joints, which works larger muscle groups in the body. The result is a workout that burns fat and calories faster than isolated moves that tend to work one muscle at a time. From your grip to your core, your body works harder than it would if you were using a dumbbell. This is mainly because the weight of the kettlebell hangs below the handle and therefore makes it harder to control.
Kettlebells are versatile and can be used to add a new dimension to classic moves like squats and planks. They are also pretty cost effective and a good alternative to expensive gym equipment. One pair will suffice for the routine you are about to learn.
Circuit Training with Kettlebells
Starting with “kettlebells swings” will activate your hips, glutes, shoulders and back. This is a good warm up and gets your muscles working without tiring you out for the rest of the circuit. You can do a few more reps of the front squats, as that is where your legs will burn more than your upper body, giving your upper body some time to recover before the next four exercises. Make sure you give yourself enough time after this circuit to recover and allow your muscles to rest. It might not feel like it at the time, but you are working big groups of muscles all together and you’ll probably feel it the next day.
EXPERIENCED Repeat the circuit continuously for 15 mins
BEGINNER Rest for 30 secs after each circuit
Swing – 12 Reps
Hold a kettlebell in both hands at thigh height. Try to make sure the weight of the kettlebell is evenly distributed in both hands. Bend forwards and swing the kettlebell in through your legs. Straighten up and thrust your hips forward to drive the kettlebell up until it reaches head height, then bring the kettlebell back down between your legs to complete the movement. Make sure you don’t lock your knees when you are upright.
Front Squat – 20 Reps
With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a kettlebell in each of your hands and rest them on your forearms. Squat as low as you can and then drive back up to an upright position. Try keeping your weight in your heels and once again, do not lock your knees when upright.
Chest Press – 10 Reps
Lie on the floor and hold a kettlebell in each of your hands in the rack position. They should be hanging either side of your chest. Drive your feet into the floor and press the weights straight up. Lower them back down in a controlled manner and work against the resistance until they are back into the start position.
Plank – 30 Seconds
Hold a pair of kettlebells and get into a press up (plank) position with your hands under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your neck down to your ankles. Make sure you keep breathing and hold this for the time prescribed.
Shoulder Press – 10 Reps Each Side
With your feet shoulder width apart, hold the kettlebells in the rack position at shoulder height. Keep your core tight as you press the weights up upwards. Lift until the kettlebells hang above your shoulders (not above your head); the kettlebells should hang behind your forearms. Slowly lower them back down to rack position, once again working against the resistance.
Towel Curl – 8 Reps
Put a towel through the handle of the kettlebell and hold either end of the towel so the kettlebell hangs from the middle of the towel. Lift your arms up until your hands reach just in front of your pecks (mid-chest) and then bring them back down to the starting position. That counts as one rep.