We all know my love for kettlebell training, as I have talked about it time and time again in various posts over the years.
Incorporating kettlebells are my favorite when it comes to fat blasting, full body circuits. They challenge me to stay focused the entire time and also force me to utilize every muscle in my body. I know I am getting the most bang for my buck. I wanted to focus todays post on the benefits of KB training and some of my favorite exercises. You will also find two workouts on the bottom of this post!
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ONE OF THESE WORKOUTS IS A KETTLEBELL CRUSHER WORKOUT!!!
Kettlebells develop REAL strength
Kettlebells develop strong, defined, dense muscles that deliver when you need them. KB training is so much more functional than the typical ‘body builder’ style workouts. By forcing the muscles to support the KB you end up activating the deeper, harder-to-work, stabilizing and supporting muscles. This is the type of strength that is REAL and is there all of the time. It helps you with your day to day activities and you will be amazed at the results. Too many times I see people bench way more than they even should be loading, yet they cannot even do a proper push up! Something is not right with that picture. After a mere few weeks of KB training, you may notice that you are able to develop a whole new level of strength and conditioning!
Kettlebell Training is way more “functional”
I really don’t like to toss around this word too much because I believe that there is a purpose and reason for every exercise so when I see someone using a machine I would never use (*but blaster* ahem) I won’t judge them just because they are choosing to use it, nor will I go over and say “Hey, thats not functional! Try a bodyweight glute bridge. Well- maybe I would offer advice but what I am saying is that lots of exercises have lots of benefits and ya never know why someone is doing something. With that said– I LOVE kettle bells because one of the best ways to train and get stronger is to mimic the bodies natural movement pattern. Why put our bodies in a compromising position that in no way carries over to real life? KB training require you to learn how to move your body. Sitting in a machine or lying on a bench is not going to give you the athletic ability nor make your body feel the way it should be meant to move and work. Move better, feel stronger, pick up a Kettlebell.
Complete an Effective, Fat Burning Workout with Minimal Equipment in Minimal Space
This one is pretty self explanatory but kettlebell training doesn’t require any other equipment besides your body and a set or two of bells! You don’t have to wander the gym and wait for a bench or a machine to open and because of the nature that you can complete a workout in such small quarters, it forces you to continuously work, which can create a metabolically taxing workout as well!
I like having a plan when I am short on time. I throw on my headphones and lay out my workout. Turn off the distractions and within 30-40 minutes–I have completed what I intended to get done!
Kettlebell Training Is FUN!
I know, I know you are probably shaking your head saying “Naomi…you think EVERY exercise or workout is fun, but this is soooo not the case and the older I get, the more I realize that i want to always do things that make me happy, especially when it come to exercise. Kettlebell training forces you to have laser focus the whole time due to the nature of some of the exercises and these workouts FLY by! The off centered weight of a KB recruits more stabilizer muscles and works the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion. There are so many ways to utilize kettlebell training and I will share a couple workouts at the end of this post as examples! All of your muscles have to work together in order to perform some of the more advanced KB movements and this can create challenge, strength, ease of movement and FUN
SERIOUS Core Strength
almost all Kettlebell exercises require you to engage the core in almost every lift. KB’s have a reputation for strengthening upper backs and abs like nothing else before! Many people believe that core strength is built through repetitions upon repetitions of sit ups, side bends and crunches of all varieties. That is pure myth. The real way to help get the core strong and defined is through more compound movements and building long lasting strength throughout your entire trunk by hitting it in every plane of motion such as kettlebell training!
MY FAVORITE KETTLEBELL EXERCISES!
Kettlebell Goblet Squat:
The goblet squat is a phenomenal powerhouse of an exercise because it trains the body in a way it is supposed to move. There are some exercises in a traditional gym that yes, have their time and place, however for the most part, they put our bodies in positions and movements they are not meant to do in day to day life. How often do you bend to pick something up? Every single day. Why not train movements, not specific muscles. in order for our bodies to feel better, move better and stay pain free. We need to train our bodies to move the natural way they are supposed to.
The reason I love a goblet squat is because this is the most basic human movement and performed in a way that is natural for the body.Tight hips, poor mobility and flexibility will only worsen with exercises such as the barbell squat. The goblet squat helps alleviate all of these issues in addition to increasing core strength tremendously.
HOW TO: Grab the bell with a TIGHT grip, keeping your elbows tucked and glued to your sides. Make sure you are not leaning the bell against your chest. Hold it in place as you perform a goblet squat, keeping your chest up and shoulders back. You MUST maintain a tall posture and tight belly or else you will fall forward on your toes.
Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlifts:
Any variation of deadlift has my heart right away due to the fact that when performed correctly, the glutes are on fire! I love training with kettlebells and using an offset grip to really challenge core stability and posture as well. The Kettlebell Deadlift activates most muscles in the body and relies on the posterior chain (glutes, hamstring, upper back)
HOW TO: Starting standing upright with both feet planted on the ground. Now, lift one leg behind you and keep that toe facing the ground so the hips stay square toward the ground.
Slowly hinge your hips back while also hinging your knee until you have a very flat back, engaging between your shoulder blades.
As you hinge back and sit deep in to the single deadlift position, feel for the bell that is placed right outside your stabilizing foot. Return to the start of the exercise and repeat for desired reps (8-12)
Ah the kettle bell swing! One of the most butchered exercises that I usually see, but when performed correctly, one of the most brutal, effective and strength/cardio building exercises there is out there!
HOW TO: To BEGIN the movement of the kettlebell, you should squat down (pushing your hips back) until the kettlebell is well clear of your groin,and flick the kettle bell back between your legs,this is the only time you use your arms to push the weight across,to begin the momentum,the arms should not move the weight during the swing.
At this point in the swing, you should have your forearms push up against your groin and the kettle bell extending out behind you. When coming back up, you will simultaneously squat up and thrust your pelvis forward. When I say thrust, I mean really SQUEEZE those glute and keep your core engaged. You almost want to feel like you are doing a crunch with your abs at the top of the movement.
Kettlebell Overhead Presses:
The variations of overhead presses when it comes to kettlebell training are enormous! You can do these half kneeling, tall kneeling (one of my favorites because it also works the core and glutes like WHOA!) Standing, staggered, seated on a bench, seated on the ground. You get the idea. The options are endless! For the purpose of this post, I am going to talk about half kneeling position kettlebell 1 arm presses, another FAV! Any exercise performed in the half kneeling position is going to really work the lower half as well as the upper and core. When we stand and perform heavy presses, its often that we compensate and rely more on our lumbar spine and pelvis, rather than stabilizing through those areas, we can create issues. The half kneeling position will force you to gain serious trunk stability which again, will carry over into your everyday life (carrying groceries, your bag to work, picking things up, getting out of bed etc)
HOW TO: Begin in the half kneeling position, making sure that your front foot and back foot are about hips distance apart and not wider. You want to create a nice, stable base and having your legs too far apart won’t achieve this. Make sure the weight is shifted toward your front heel and your front knee is lined up with your front toe. Whatever leg is behind you, curl your back toes under and think about engaging your glute and squeezing it as much as possible! Now, the glute is super braced and turned on or ‘activated’ Sit up tall so the crown of your head is reaching toward the ceiling. Whatever knee is in front, you will be pressing with the opposite hand. Grab the bell and place it in the racked position. Take an inhale to prepare and on your exhale press the kettlebell overhead staying tall through your spine. Note that you want to avoid flaring your ribs by engaging your core. In addition, you want to avoid an extension through your spine by squeezing your butt. Perform 8-12 on the left and then switch and perform 8-12 on the right.
Kettlebell Pull Over:
Serious core strength. Serious back and lat work. give this exercise a go! It is by far one of my favorites and a staple in my workouts! It is awesome for building shoulder mobility as well. It is definately a bit more advanced so you can always begin with your feet on the ground.
HOW TO: Begin lying on your back and bring the kettle bell so it is directly in front of your chest. Get a nice tight grip on the handles before you begin. Now, you can either bring your knees so they are directly OVER your hips (advanced) OR you can bend your knees and flatten your feet. Either way you want to ensure that as you move the KB, you want to prevent your back from arching as the weight moves behind you. Next, pull your shoulders down and back, thinking about squeezing between your shoulder blades. Inhale, brace with your abs and slowly control the weight behind you to just above the ground OR to a place where you feel like your back will begin to pull away from the ground. Exhale and bring the weight back up to the starting position and continue for desired reps (6-10 recommended)
Kettlebell Farmers Carries
Some variation of carries are in almost every one of my clients programs (and mine!) They are such an amazing FULL body exercise that again, forces the entire body to work as one unit to execute with impeccable form! I love that there are SO many variations so you are sure to find one that is challenging, effective and perfect to add into your routine. With most of the population sitting at a desk all day, the muscles that take a toll are some of the most crucial ones in the body; the trunk, upper back muscles and neck. Most of the complaints of ‘tightness’ I get are from the neck/upper back and low back region. Well farmers carries are here to help strengthen those posterior chain muscles, core musculature and also jack the heart rate so you can see you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck! Not only are they an amazing core building exercise, but again, carrying over into daily life; groceries, suitcase, bags of any kind, kids. Today, I am going to go over double arm, suitcase carries.
HOW TO: Grab two kettlebells and hold them by your sides, (one in each hand) like a suitcase, keeping your shoulders square and upright. You want to imagine that you have a string on the top of your head pulling you up up up nice and tall! Knuckles will be toward the ground. ensure that there is at least a fists distance between your hips and the kettlebell. Maintain that posture as you walk with the KB by your side for an alotted distance or amount of time (30s-1min) Repeat for 2-3 rounds!
I have below two workouts that you can give a try on your own! Feel free to adjust the time or rounds as you see fit! If you truly stick to the time for the second workout–it is a KILLER! I love these high intense, fast and effective workouts! In and out and on with the day hitting every muscle group!!