Sure, you could just lift any old weight. But research from the American Council on Exercise shows that you’ll burn more calories, in less time if you switch over from your everyday machines and tried your hand at some kettlebell exercises. Flinging around these oddly shaped implements confuse your muscles, forcing them to work overtime and letting you benefit more for every minute with the weight. This is why so many ripped gym rats can be see taking on full body kettlebell workouts. It’s simply effective.
Like any exercise routine, you’ll benefit most from kettlebell exercises if you do these moves one after the other, with little rest between. You’ll also reap rewards from consistency, so aim to do this kettlebell program at least three times a week (it takes between 20 and 30 minutes).
The Kettlebell Exercise: Goblet Squat
What it works: Quads, glutes, back
How to do it: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Hold kettlebell by the handle with both hands. Bend knees until thighs are parallel with the floor, bending elbows to prevent the kettlebell from touching the floor. Straighten.
How many: 10 reps, 3 sets
The Kettlebell Exercise: Thrusts
What it works: Quads, glutes, shoulders, arms
How to do it: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Hold a kettlebell by its handles with both hands. Bend knees until thighs are parallel with the floor, bending your arms and raising kettlebell to chest. Straighten to standing, raising bell above your head, arms straight. Lower kettlebell to start position.
How many: 10 reps, 2 sets
The Kettlebell Exercise: Bell Swing
What it works: Lower back, shoulders, arms, quads
How to do it: Stand with feet wide and slightly turned out. Hold a kettlebell handle with both hands at your centerline. Bend knees into a deep squat, leaning forward slightly and allowing the kettlebell to drift back between your legs. With one powerful movement, straighten legs and swing the kettlebell forward, aiming to reach chest height (allow your torso to hinge from a forward lean to back lean to aid the motion).
How many: 10 swings total
The Kettlebell Exercise: Goblet Lunge
What it works: Quads, hamstrings
How to do it: Stand with feet together, holding a kettlebell in the right hand, arms by sides. Step forward with your left leg, shifting your weight forward and bending your left knee so that your quad is parallel to the floor. Allow the right arm to swing slightly forward for balance. Push through your front (left foot) and return to standing.
How many: 10 reps on each side, 2 sets
The Kettlebell Exercise: Lunge Rows
What it works: Back, shoulders, pectorals, biceps, triceps
How to do it: Stand with feet together, kettlebell in the right hand. Step left foot forward so that you are in a deep lunge. Lower kettlebell to the floor, then bend your right elbow and hike kettlebell toward the outside of your chest, allowing your right shoulder to rotate skyward. Release and repeat rowing motion. After 10 rows, switch sides.
How many: 10 reps per side, 3 sets.
The Kettlebell Exercise: Frogger
What it works: Quads, glutes
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell by the handle with both hands at your centerline. Lower into a squat, letting the bell swing back through your legs, then swing it forward again on a horizontal plane and plant it 2 to 3 feet in front of you. Keeping your hands on the bell, jump feet forward, then straighten legs and raise bell to start position.
How many: 10 reps, 3 sets
The Kettlebell Exercise: Plank Pulls
What it works: Pectorals, biceps, core
How to do it: Using two kettlebells, get into an extended plank position, resting one hand on the handle of each bell. Shift your weight to the left side and hike the right kettlebell toward your chest, then lower. Shift weight to your right side, and repeat the kettlebell pull with your left arm.
How many: 10 reps, 2 sets
The Kettlebell Exercise: Pivots
What it works: Core, back, biceps
How to do it: Stand with feet slightly wider that shoulder-width. Hold a kettlebell by its handle with both hands at your centerline. Bend knees, twisting torso to the right and allowing arms and bell to swing over to your right side. In a single motion, pivot body to the left as you straighten legs and shift your weight onto the left foot, raising arms and bell to chest-height on your left side (imagine swinging a golf club). Bend knees and pivot back to the right. Do 10 times then reverse sides.
How many: 10 reps on both sides, 2 sets
The Kettlebell Exercise: Burpee/High-Pull
What it works: Core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, triceps
How to do it: Place a kettlebell on the floor in front of you. From standing, crouch down, place hands on either side of the bell and jump your feet back so legs are straight and body is in an extended pushup position. Jump feet forward, placing them outside of your hands, knees bent. Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands. Jump vertically in the air to standing, hiking kettlebell to chest height. Release kettlebell back to the floor.
How many: 10 total
The Kettlebell Exercise: Kettlebell V’s
What it works: Core, arms
How to do it: Lie on the floor, legs outstretched, resting the kettlebell on your torso with both hands. Inhale, then as you exhale, raise legs and torso off the floor to create a V-shape, lifting the kettlebell above your head as you do. Relax back into prone position.
How many: 10 reps
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