Kettlebells, are you serious? They went out of fashion with square wheels! Well, yes, they did, but, unlike square wheels, kettlebells, those odd looking cast iron balls with a handle, had an enduring quality. That quality is now being realised in gyms across the country and, indeed, the world as kettlebell fever boils again.
Why? Simply because kettlebells have proved their worth, time and time again. They’re highly effective for both body strengthening and conditioning when used correctly. And that’s the operative word – correctly. There is a right and wrong way to use these strange beasts and it takes a bit of practice. So be sure to seek guidance from your gym instructor or personal trainer if you’re not sure.
Where did kettlebells come from?
Many people say kettlebells come from 18th century Russia, although Greece and China lay claim to ownership. The original Russian girya was a metal weight used to measure crops. Circus strongmen cottoned onto their crowd-pulling potential about 100 years later and soon after, bodybuilders throughout Europe latched onto them for strength training.
Featured below are four quality kettlebell exercises you can add to your routine for great head-to-toe results.
One: The Swing
It seems easy; you hold the kettlebell in a bent knee position between your legs and swing it to a straight arm, shoulder height position standing upright. But there is a trick to it. So enlist the aid of an expert to perfect your technique early. And make sure you persist as the swing is one of the best full-body toning exercises you can do.
Two: The Single Arm Press
If you’ve ever tried single arm presses with a dumbbell, you’ll know why they’re one of the first exercises you skip past when you’re short of time. They’re awkward, uncomfortable and easy to avoid. It’s the same with barbell presses; they’re nasty things at the best of times.
Not so, using our cast iron wrecking ball. With a kettlebell, the plane of motion somehow feels more natural and maintainable. The shape of the bell and the offset handle seem to allow more fluid, natural motion. Try it for yourself and compare single arm presses with a dumbbell and then with a kettlebell. Which one feels easier and more comfortable to you?
Three: The Squat
The kettlebell squat is pretty much identical to any other workout squat. So it’s one of the easier exercises to learn and perform correctly; by doing your common garden variety squat. Hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of your chest and bend at the knees until your upper legs are parallel to the ground. Then, return to a standing position. While many will still vouch for the barbell squat as the crème de la crème of squats, kettlebell squats are a comfortable and power-packed option well-worth bobbing up and down for.
Four: The Snatch
Okay, don’t even try this one without a full understanding of technique. While the snatch is a mega-strength and conditioning exercise and probably the hottest kettlebell workout yet devised, it’s deceptively technical. And while it may appear to be similar to the barbell snatch on paper, it’s anything but.
Yes, the kettlebell is launched from a low position and hauled to a straight arm overhead in one gigantic motion, but done wrong it can explode more than just your muscle strength.
It’s all about such things as hip hinge pattern and being able to drive your hips in an explosive (and correct) movement. Do try it, but do have an expert on hand first.
If you have a personal trainer, they’ll be able to teach you the correct techniques for all these exercises so you can add their high performance to your repertoire. If you don’t, be sure to tap the gym instructor on the shoulder before you throw a single kettlebell around in anger.
This article was proudly provided by the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, who support Genesis Fitness and help our members achieve their fitness goals. If you are interested in starting a career in Personal Training, click here for more information.